Apply for the 2020-2021 Global UGRAD Program

The Embassy of the United States of America in Kazakhstan is pleased to announce the academic year 2020 – 2021 Global Undergraduate Exchange Program (Global UGRAD) is open. This program provides a scholarship for one semester of non-degree, full-time academic study at a U.S. college or university, combined with community service, professional development workshops, and cultural enrichment activities. 

Apply online for the 2020-2021 Global UGRAD Program from November 4, 2019 through December 31, 2019.

The scholarship covers:

  • Travel (international travel to and from the United States for the program and travel within United States to required program events). World Learning secures travel arrangements
  • Payment of tuition at the assigned host institution
  • Participants are housed in campus facilities with American roommates
  • Limited accident and sickness coverage that meets the requirements of J Exchange Visitor Program regulations. This coverage is not all-purpose health insurance and it is subject to specific limitations including, but not limited to, pre-existing conditions, dental, and vision care. It is not intended to replace the participants’ regular medical insurance plan, which should be maintained or secured during the scholarship period at the participants’ expense
  • Monthly stipend
  • Pre-departure orientation at the U.S. Embassy in Kazakhstan 
  • Virtual arrival presentation
  • In-person end-of-program workshop in Washington, DC


Additional Program Information:

All participants will be enrolled in full-time, non-degree, undergraduate course work chosen from their host institution’s existing curriculum. Participants will be required to take one, 3-credit U.S. studies course to enhance their understanding of the United States. Participants will live in campus housing facilities with American peers, and will be required to participate in twenty hours of community service. There will also be a virtual arrival orientation and an in-person end-of-program workshop.  

Participants are not able to choose their host institution. Instead, participants are placed at the most appropriate host institution based on students’ academic interests. The program includes a diverse roster of over 70 host campuses across 43 states, including colleges and universities in rural and urban areas. Program coordinators and host institutions work together to ensure a good program fit for participants. Host institutions provide a high level of academic, cultural, and personal support to participants through resources such as career centers, tutoring centers, and international student centers. While preferences for a fall or spring semester placement should be indicated and will be considered, final placement will be made by the program.

Global UGRAD is a non-degree program. Successful participants receive a program certificate of completion issued by the U.S. Department of State. The program does not assist with credit transfers between participants’ U.S. host and home institutions. It is the students’ responsibility to verify with their home institutions whether any credits accumulated during the Global UGRAD program will be transferred. Candidates should be prepared that this aspect may delay their graduation from their home university. The program cannot guarantee enrollment in specific courses for the purposes of transfer.

All academic fields of study are eligible. Per J-1 visa regulations, interested applicants in medicine, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine, pharmacology, or other clinical fields of study, should note that direct patient care, including animal care, is not permitted, and therefore academic coursework and/or program activities at participating U.S. institutions may be limited.


  1. Applicants must be a citizen of the country in which they apply for the Global UGRAD Program.
  2. Applicants must be studying in the country in which they apply for the Global UGRAD Program.
  3. Scholarships will be granted to students who currently are enrolled in full-time undergraduate programs only, having completed a minimum of their first semester of study. Participants must have at least one semester or an equivalent term to complete at their home institutions upon completion of the Global UGRAD Program.
  4. Applicants should demonstrate leadership potential through academic work, community involvement, and extracurricular activities.
  5. Applicants must achieve a minimum TOEFL score of 45ibt. 
  6. Preference will be given to those who have had little or NO experience in the U.S. or outside of their home countries.
  7. Applicants are required to return directly to their home country after the completion of the program.
  8. Applicants are over 18 years of age.

Individuals in the following circumstances are not eligible for the Global UGRAD Program:

  1. U.S. citizens and permanent residents of the United States;
  2. Individuals currently studying, residing, or working outside of their home country;
  3. Local employees of the U.S. missions abroad who work for the U.S. Department of State and/or the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID); employees are also ineligible for one year following the termination of employment;
  4. Immediate family members (i.e. spouses and children) of U.S. Department of State and USAID employees; family members are also ineligible for one year following the termination of employment;
  5. Current World Learning employees and their immediate family members.


How to Apply:

Interested applicants must apply using the official Global UGRAD online application form on the World Learning Student PortalBefore you begin, please review the online application resources which include step-by-step application instructions, letters of recommendation format, and essay writing tips. After national selection, nominations are reviewed by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) who makes the final selections. Selected candidates will be notified of their status as finalist or alternate in spring 2020.

Candidates are encouraged to obtain requested application items as soon as possible. No additional information can be added after the application deadline.

The online application package must include:

  • Complete application form
  • Two essays based on indicated themes(400 to 600 words each)
  • Readable academic transcripts for years of university study, as issued by the academic institution. Documents are accepted in local language at the time of the application. If certified English translations are readily available, they should be included. First year university candidates only must include transcripts for years of high school study, if university transcripts are not available. Finalists and alternates must provide official, updated academic transcripts with certified English translations
  • Two letters of recommendation (reference). One recommendation must be academic and written by a professor or assistant professor from the candidate’s major field of study. The second recommendation may come from a non-academic aspect of the candidate’s life and work. The online application form provides the reference format and instructions. If the recommendations are not in English, an accurate translation must be attached
  • Readable copy of Kazakhstan passport biographical page
  • Optional portfolio for fields of study such as art, architecture, or other relevant ones
  • Non-required, supplemental materials that further support the application are accepted.
  • Applicants must register on the World Learning Student Portal in order to access the online application. For registration details and student portal tips, review “Step-by Step Global UGRAD Application Instructions” available on this page under “Important Resources.” These instructions can also be accessed on the Student Portal, once the registration process is complete.


Frequently Asked Questions about the Online Application: 

  • Internet browsers Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox—rather than Internet Explorer—are recommended
  • Applicants who have a log-in from last year, should sign in using existing credentials and then select “Academic Year 2020-2021” to begin a new application
  • The registration process requires account confirmation. World Learning will send at the registered email address an email with instructions and a new link to log in; follow email prompts
  • World Learning can reset passwords for applicants who have problems with the registration process. This is only possible after confirming that applicants are attempting to sign in with a registered email address (i.e., after having already completed the first-time log-in procedures)
  • Given the global application window for around 60 countries, it can take two to three business days for World Learning to complete a password reset. The Embassy cannot assist with password reset requests
  • The user name is always the full email address that the applicant used in order to apply. For example, would be the user name and not Good.Morning
  • Do not use special characters/accents for the registration process or the online application. The system only recognizes the English alphabet
  • Review your work! Only click “Submit” if you are 100% ready to do so. Until then, click “Save.”



  • Contact World Learning with any technical questions regarding the Student Portal, applicant account, and the online application at:
  • For more information regarding the program, visit the Word Learning’s webpage for Global UGRAD.