US Ambassador to Liberia, Deborah R. Malac, has challenged the beneficiaries of the Kennedy Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) students to make practical use of the program to pick up ‘life-changing’ experiences that could go a long way in making them better people in the society while studying in the United States of America.
The US diplomat threw out the challenge recently at a pre-departure orientation program for the eight beneficiaries of the YES Program, held at the United States Embassy near Monrovia.
Ambassador Malac warned the traveling students against practicing what she termed as “bad behavior” in the US and called on all of them to be prepared for some level of culture shock they might experience while in the US.
She urged the young students to serve as ambassadors for Liberia, while in the U.S. on their tour of study.
“The YES program is an extraordinary opportunity that will afford you young children the opportunity to use the American experience and learn new things” the Ambassador added.
The Eight young Liberian high school students are from Gbapolu and Lofa counties. They are due to leave the country early next week for the U.S. for a period of one academic year.
They include: Abraham Massalay of the Pamelakay Jr/Sr. High School; Levi Jackson from the Zorzor Central High School; Hawa Domah of the Gbamah Public School in Gbapolu; Korvah Fromayan of the Lutheran Training Institute in Lofa; Musa Kabah of the St.
Joseph Catholic School in Lofa; Kris Garjay from the Bopolu Central High School; Garmai Gayflor of the Zorzor Central High; and Emmanuel Godfrey of the Bopolu Central high School.
The students are to live with host families across the United States as they are moving in separate directions; attend high schools and engage in activities to learn about the American society and values.
The Kennedy-Lugar YES program was established by the United States Congress in October 2002 in response to events of September 11, 2001 bomb attack on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington.
The program is funded through the U.S. Department of State and sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) to provide scholarships for high school students from countries with significant Muslim populations to spend up one academic year in the U.S.
Students live with host families, attend high school, engage in activities to learn about American society and values, acquire leadership skills, and help educate Americans about their respective countries and cultures.
Starting in 2008, the YES Abroad program was established to provide a similar experience for U.S. Students (15-18 years) to spend an academic year in select YES countries, among other things.
The YES program is being implemented in Liberia by a non-governmental organization known as International Education for Resource Network (IEARN Liberia).
IEARN Liberia Executive Director, Leroy Beldeh, said the selection process involved four basic steps, which included pre-application, SLEP test (Secondary Level English Proficiency test) followed by an interview process.
He said since 2010, I-EARN Liberia has recruited students in 9th and 10th grades between the ages of 15-17, and have a minimum of ‘B’ average. Mr. Beldeh also urged the students to respect their host parents and live within the confines of the host country’s laws.