Study of the US Institutes

Study of the U.S. Institutes (SUSIs) for Student Leaders are intensive short-term academic programs which intend to provide groups of undergraduate student leaders with a deeper understanding of the United States while simultaneously enhancing their leadership skills.

The Institute consist of a four-week academic residency with a balanced series of seminar discussions, readings, group presentations, and lectures. There is also opportunity for site visits, leadership development, cultural activities, and community service to complement the coursework and academic sessions. The Institute has 20 student participants from all over Europe.

The program includes an academic residency at Shippensburg University in Shippensburg Pennsylvania during the summer break (June 25 to July 31, 2024).

The Summer Institute consists of:

  • Interactive classroom activities
  • Discussions
  • Lectures
  • Readings
  • Site visits
  • Workshops
  • Leadership development activities
  • Community service

Should conditions allow, the SUSI for Student Leaders from Europe may begin with an Opening Forum in Washington, D.C., bringing together participants from different Institutes for networking, foundational leadership skills development, and exploring relevant topics from multi-regional perspectives.

Circumstances permitting, the Institute will also include a one-week integrated regional study tour in the United States. Note that if the program must take place virtually, participants will engage in similar activities, but online from their home countries.

The Institute is fully funded, with all participant costs covered, including:

  • Return airfare and some domestic travel allowances
  • Tuition
  • Housing and meals in shared university accommodation
  • Small daily allowance
  • Health and accident insurance (pre-existing conditions not covered)
  • If the program is conducted virtually a technology stipend will be provided to all participants

Housing and Meal Arrangements: Housing will be shared or single university dorms on campus or full-service hotels within walking distance of most classroom activities.  Male and female participants will be housed in separate quarters.  In addition to regular group meals and a university meal plan, participants may have access to a kitchen to cook some meals on their own. 

Special Accommodations:  Care will be taken to ensure that any special requirements regarding diet, daily worship, housing, and medical care are satisfied.  Special accommodations will be made available to the greatest extent possible.  Should a participant need to quarantine due to positive COVID-19 test results, accommodations will follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines. 

Health Benefits: All participants will receive the Department of State’s Accident and Sickness Program for Exchanges (ASPE) health benefit during the U.S.-based in-person component, which provides coverage of up to $100,000 with a $25 co-pay per medical visit and a $75 co-pay per emergency room visit, for the duration of the program.  Pre-existing conditions may not be covered. ASPE also covers up to $500 for routine COVID-19 testing requirements in the United States.  COVID-19 is treated like any other illness under the ASPE health benefits plan.  Information on the health benefit program may be found online . į

To be eligible, students must:

  • Be between the ages of 18 and 25 
  • Be interested in chosen Institute topic 
  • Be a UK resident
  • Attend a recognised UK university 
  • Have at least one year left of their undergraduate studies, and be committed to returning to their home universities following completion of the program
  • Have little or no prior study or travel experience in the United States or outside of Europe 
  • Not hold US citizenship or permanent residency 
  • Be eligible to receive a US J-1 Visa

Please see our

FAQs

here

Candidates should also:

  • Demonstrate strong leadership qualities and potential in their university and community activities 
  • Indicate a serious interest in learning about the United States 
  • Have sustained high level of academic achievement, as indicated by grades, awards, and teacher recommendations
  • Demonstrate commitment to community service and extracurricular university activities
  • Be mature, responsible, independent, confident, open-minded, tolerant, thoughtful, and inquisitive 
  • Be willing and able to fully participate in an intensive academic programme, community service and educational travel 
  • Be willing to respectfully engage with fellow participants representing different backgrounds and different points of view;
  • Be comfortable with campus life, prepared to share living accommodations, and able to adjust to cultural and social practices different from those of their home country

We are looking for applicants from a broad range of backgrounds, who have had little opportunity to immerse themselves in a different culture.

We welcome applications from individuals with disabilities and will provide accommodations to the greatest possible extent throughout the application process.

Participants in the SUSI programme will enter the USA on a J-1 visa. The terms of this visa do not allow you to remain in the USA at the end of the programme for personal travel. You must leave the USA upon completion of the Institute. 

Family members and/ or friends may not accompany or join participants for any part of the program. 

For each institute, two alternate candidates will also be selected in case the finalist is unable to attend.

Study of the US Institutes Available

Environmental Issues

This Study of the US Institutes, hosted by Shippensburg University in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, provides participants with an overview of climate change along with its impact on communities in America, natural resources, and the local economy. This will tentatively take place from June 25 to July 31, 2024

Academic sessions will explore clean energy, sustainable development, the risks of natural disasters, and the intersection of climate justice and community activism.


Specific themes may include, but are not limited to:

  • strategic communication
  • social justice
  • emergency response
  • water rights
  • energy efficiency and sustainability

Academic activities will be supplemented by opportunities to engage with the local community, including a weekend homestay and meeting with local environmental non-profits.  Program components may include hiking a section of the Appalachian trail, a visit to the Chincoteague Bay Field Station, and a kayak tour with the Susquehanna Riverkeepers, an environmental organization.

Application instructions

Applicants should follow the steps outlined below.

  • Read the FAQ's and terms and conditions.
  • Read our Privacy Policy for applicants.
  • Apply online and upload a transcript to the application form as a PDF (official transcripts are preferred).
  • Select two references and enter their email addresses into the application. They should receive a notification message that will lead them to their own online portal to submit a reference letter.

The application form must be completed, with transcript attached, and submitted before the deadline. Your references should also submit your letters before the deadline or your application will be incomplete. An application will not be considered completed if any of these items are missing or submitted late.

Application process

Interviews

Finalists will be invited to interview in January. Interviews are by video conference call and can only be rescheduled under extreme circumstances.


Application notifications

Please see the timeline for an overview of application status notifications. The cannot comment or provide feedback on individual applications.

Study of US Institutes timeline

Applications for summer 2024 are now closed.

19 October 2023

Applications open

19 December 2023

Applications close

End of December 2023

Shortlisted candidates are notified

8-12 January 2024

Interviews take place

Mid January 2024

Finalists announced

scholar

"As I look back on my time spent in the US, I feel so grateful for my new found knowledge, skills and friendships. On an academic level, immersing myself in learning about the local area of Southern Pennsylvania at Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania gave me a new appreciation for the importance of collaboration between different community actors in order to solve environmental problems. And on a personal level, I relished stepping out of my comfort zone and doing things I never could have imagined, like kayaking along the Susquehanna River and hiking at the Petroglyph National Monument in New Mexico."

Holly Brown, 2023 SUSI participant

Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to questions about the Study of the US Summer Institutes

No. US citizens and permanent residents (green card holders) are not eligible to participate in this program.

No. Nominees with very minimal travel experience in the United States may be considered for the program. However, priority will be given to nominees with no previous study or travel experience in the United States.

There will be some free time during the program. However, nominees MUST understand that this is an intensive academic program and they are expected to fully participate in all lectures, activities, site visits, and scheduled events.

At least one of your references should be from a recent professor or teacher. References will not be accepted from family members or friends. You should ask people who know you very well: teachers, professors, careers counsellors, coaches, youth group leaders, employers etc. Once you have selected your two referees, you should inform them of the deadlines for submission. It is your responsibility as the applicant to check in with your referees regularly about their progress and the timely and accurate submission of their letter.

Shortlisted candidates will be invited to interview by the US Embassy London and the US-UK .

Interviews will take place via video call and last approximately 20 minutes. We have a list of questions we ask all final candidates and generally do not discuss the application itself, except to seek clarification if something is not clear or perhaps has not been considered. It is also an opportunity to review the articulation of the candidates. As summer programme participants are cultural ambassadors and future leaders in their fields, they must have strong communication skills.

You are applying for an intensive and rigorous academic institute and are expected to fully participate in all aspects of the program. Participants must attend all lectures, participate in all required organized activities, and complete all assignments. Due to the intensive nature of the program, participants should not expect to fulfil professional or academic obligations, including remote work for jobs or internships, classwork, or examinations for their home university, while in the United States. Doing so will count as an unexcused absence from program activities.

No. Participants will not be allowed to leave the Institute to visit relatives or friends.

Family members and/ or friends may not accompany or join participants for any part of the program.

No. Participants who choose to travel to the United States on a Study of the US Institute are required to abide by the terms and conditions of the program. These terms state clearly that student leaders may NOT arrive in the United States before the program start date or remain in the country after the close of the Institute.

No. Study of the US Institutes for Student Leaders are designed exclusively for undergraduate students with at least one remaining year of study.

The Study of the US Institutes cover all basic costs of an individual’s participation including transportation, lodging, and meals. Generally, host institutions provide for meals through a combination of a cafeteria meal plan, a pre-loaded debit card for use at local restaurants, and/or a cash allowance to permit participants to purchase food for cooking.

Housing will be shared or single university dorms on campus or full-service hotels within walking distance of most classroom activities. Male and female participants will be housed in separate quarters. In addition to regular group meals and a university meal plan, participants may have access to a kitchen to cook some meals on their own.
Care will be taken to ensure that any special requirements regarding diet, daily worship, housing, and medical care are satisfied. Special accommodations will be made available to the greatest extent possible. Should a participant need to quarantine due to positive COVID-19 test results, accommodations will follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.

You will receive the Department of State’s Accident and Sickness Program for Exchanges (ASPE) health benefit during the U.S.-based in-person component, which provides coverage of up to $100,000 with a $25 co-pay per medical visit and a $75 co-pay per emergency room visit, for the duration of the program. Pre-existing conditions may not be covered. ASPE also covers up to $500 for routine COVID-19 testing requirements in the United States. COVID-19 is treated like any other illness under the ASPE health benefits plan. Information on the health benefit program may be found online at http://www.sevencorners.com/gov/usdos.

Yes, the Study of the US Branch welcomes nominations for individuals with disabilities. We are committed to working with our Institute hosts to arrange reasonable accommodations for all participants. While notification of a disability will not negatively impact selection, we ask that you identify disabilities during the nomination process so that we can begin working with our Institute hosts to ensure appropriate accommodations.

Should health, safety, and travel conditions continue to pose significant challenges, the SUSI will pivot to a virtual format. The virtual program would consist of a minimum of 36 hours of required programming with a combination of synchronous and asynchronous learning. To the extent possible, the virtual programming will include lectures, small group discussions, videos, readings, panels, site visits, leadership development, assignments, and individual and group activities. Participants will be required to fully participate in the entire virtual program from their locations.
Should the program need to pivot to a virtual format, participants would need access to a computer and stable internet connection. If a participant does not have access to these two items, the programme conductors will work with the participant and post to facilitate access. Participants would be expected to actively engage in all program activities, and therefore, they should immediately notify the host institution and post of any issues with their online access during the duration of the program as well as any difficulties affecting their participation.

Study of the U.S. Institutes (SUSIs) for Student Leaders are five-to-six-week academic programs designed for foreign undergraduate students between the ages of 18 and 25 to improve their understanding of the United States and to develop their leadership skills. The programme is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. Participants are selected in different European countries, usually nominated by US Embassy and/ or the . The 2024 SUSI programme will be organised by the (a nonprofit, nonpartisan diplomacy centre in Washington DC) and