Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Program was established in October 2002 and sponsored by Bureau of Educational & Cultural Affairs (ECA) to provide scholarships for high school students (15-17 years) from countries with significant Muslim populations to spend up to six months 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 countries and cultures. In 2007, YES Abroad was established to provide a similar experience for U.S. students (15-17 years) in selected YES countries.

In Malaysia, the first batch of 20 YES students left in January 2004 and Malaysia is the only country to send on semester (6 months) due to our school system where one can only depart after their SPM exams.  The number of scholars has since swelled to 45 in 2015.  Application criteria include commendable school grades and personal achievements, outstanding confidence, leadership qualities, possessing an active role in school and in the local community among others is a definite advantage.

YES   program supports students with disabilities and encourages their participation. The U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs (ECA) works with a separate organization to provide students with disabilities with leadership-building workshops and appropriate information and support as needed to enhance their experience in the United States.

Selection Criteria
Student’s Requirements
• Be a citizen of Malaysia
• Be enrolled in Form 5 at the time of application
• Have the equivalent of a B average or better without  failing  grades
• Be active in extra-curricular activities
• The program highly encourages participation from students with disabilities between
the age of 15 and 17  (form 3 to 5 at the time of application)

Priority will be given to underprivileged applicants with little or no previous experience in the United States. 


For more information, please download the YES Program E-Brochure here

YES Alumni In Action

Keshin and her groupmates discussing about what makes a good story.

Changemakers Social Entrepreneurship Workshop

“I came up with a project to raise awareness by using creative technologies among young Malaysians about the importance of 3R to reduce pollution and the cost of waste management in Malaysia. “

Read more!

Returnee Spotlight On: Jim Chua

“I see myself in many of the students I meet, I see the importance of the program; not just for the students but to volunteers and staff of AFS as a whole.”

Read More

My Global Youth Service Day By Hikmat Zakaria

“This is only the beginning and I hope to make a change and give more impact towards the community.”

Read More