Local Student Awarded Prestigious U.S...

Local Student Awarded Prestigious U.S. Government Grant to Study Abroad In Oman

Sara Staffaroni-AYUSA

San Francisco, CA

#1 May 14, 2009
Farmville, Virginia – May 12, 2009 – Torey Beth Jackson, a 15-year-old high school student, received notice today that she was one of only 14 students to receive a U.S. Department of State-sponsored full scholarship to study abroad in Oman through the YES Abroad (Youth Exchange & Study) Program, implemented in part by AYUSA.

The Youth Exchange & Study Program was originally developed as an inbound program in response to the events of September 11, 2001 to build bridges of understanding between the United States and countries with significant Muslin populations. For the 2008-2009 school year over 850 international YES students are living across the nation, attending local high schools and participating in community service projects.

Due to the great success of the inbound program, this year YES grants will support the reverse program, YES Abroad, sending 49 U.S. high school students abroad to countries with significant Muslim populations.

AYUSA Global Youth Exchange is the leading global non-profit organization providing opportunities for international high school students to live and study in the USA and for American students to study abroad. It was first awarded a YES grant in 2003. AYUSA, and its network of international partners, recruit qualified students, place them with host families and provide on-the-ground local support throughout the experience. Recipients of AYUSA’s YES Abroad grant will be sent on full scholarships to Oman, Mali or Morocco for their Fall Semester 2009. YES students are asked to be an ambassador of their country during their time abroad.

Torey is one of the lucky students selected to represent the U.S. in Oman where she will be challenged to share American values and culture while also dispelling any myths. Torey describes her interest in this program:“I live in a very small Southern community where not much is known or mentioned about the Middle East. I feel that upon my return from being an exchange student, I can introduce the culture I experienced into our community. I can share with other students the wonderful, once-in-a-lifetime opportunities that exist overseas.”

While this is the first year of the YES Abroad grant, alumni from the inbound program are doing extraordinary things in their home countries. El Mehdi El Fitr, YES 2006, was inspired to start a non-profit organization called “Friends Involved in Helping Needy Students” to provide necessary school supplies to low-income children in his hometown of Laayoune, Oman. Turab Hassan, YES 2004, started a medical camp in northern Pakistan to provide medical supplies and health planning services to those affected by the earthquake in that region. Torey and the other 13 American high school students participating in AYUSA’s YES Abroad grant are also sure to make substantial contributions to both their host and home communities honoring AYUSA’s mission to inspire mutual global understanding and cooperation through youth exchange.

AYUSA Global Youth Exchange is a 501(c) 3, and an official U.S. Department of State designated Exchange Visitor Program Sponsor.

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