The Global Undergraduate Exchange Program (Global UGRAD) 2016-2017

To apply, visit the Global UGRAD Online Student Application.

The U.S. Embassy in Kazakhstan is pleased to announce an open competition for the 2016-2017 Global Undergraduate Exchange Program in Eurasia and Central Asia (UGRAD).

Deadline is January 1st at 5:00pm EST.

The Global Undergraduate Exchange Program (Global UGRAD), sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, is supported by the people of the United States. This international educational and cultural exchange program brings future leaders to the United States to experience the U.S. educational system, enhance their knowledge and skills, and explore U.S. culture and values. It also affords students the opportunity to educate Americans about other cultures and traditions. The Global Undergraduate Exchange Program is administered through the joint efforts of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, U.S. Embassies abroad, and World Learning.

The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs strives to ensure that its efforts reflect the diversity of U.S. society and societies abroad. The Bureau seeks and encourages the involvement of people from traditionally underrepresented audiences in all its grants, programs, and other activities and in its workforce and workplace. Opportunities are open to people regardless of their race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion, geographic location, socioeconomic status, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity. The Bureau is committed to fairness, equity and inclusion. 

I. Program Description

Global UGRAD will provide one-semester scholarships to selected outstanding undergraduate students for non-degree, full-time study in the United States. Students will study at accredited four-year U.S. institutions of higher education, receive intensive English language instruction if needed, and engage in community service, professional development workshops, and cultural enrichment activities.

All academic fields of study are eligible.  Per J-1 visa regulations, interested applicants in medicine, nursing, veterinary medicine, pharmacology or other clinical fields of study, should be made aware 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.

Participants will live on-campus with U.S. peers or in homestays with American families. The program will include a pre-departure orientation at Post, a virtual arrival orientation, and an in-person end-of-program workshop.

Students cannot choose their host institution and will be placed at the most appropriate host institution based on students’ academic interests.  Students who are not enrolled in pre-academic English may indicate a preference for a fall or spring semester placement, but final placement will be made by the cooperating organization in conjunction with ECA.

II. Eligibility Requirements

Students must be currently enrolled in an undergraduate degree program in their home country, and must have completed their first year of undergraduate study prior to starting their Global UGRAD Program. Participants must be at least 18 years of age when they begin their Global UGRAD Program in the United States. They must also have at least one semester or an equivalent term to complete at their home institutions upon completion of the Global UGRAD Program.  The Global UGRAD program cannot be the final academic term of a student’s undergraduate study.

Candidates should be highly motivated and demonstrate leadership through academic work, community involvement, and extracurricular activities.


All nominated students (principals and alternates) must take an official TOEFL exam. World Learning will provide TOEFL vouchers for selected finalists and alternates to take the official TOEFL exam in-country. U.S. host institutions may not consider student placements without an official TOEFL score;

IV. Pre-Academic English

Global UGRAD provides one semester of pre-academic English language training to students, if needed.  (Funding will allow for English pre-ac for approximately 25 percent of all participants worldwide.) Pre-ac English will take place in the fall semester of 2016-2017, and students participating in pre-academic English will commence with the academic portion of the program in the spring semester. English Language Students will also complete 20 hours of community service and participate in professional development workshops during their time on the Global UGRAD Program.

V. Student Responsibility

This is a non-degree program, so it is the students’ responsibility to check with their home institutions whether any credits accumulated during the Global UGRAD program will be transferred.

Students will be required to participate in a minimum of twenty hours of community service activities during the program.  Students will also be required to enroll in at least one course in a U.S. Studies field, such as U.S. history, literature, art, or government.

Failure to meet the academic requirements of the university and Global UGRAD program (poor grades, failure to submit assignments or attend class) may result in dismissal from Global UGRAD. Participants must remain in good academic standing with a minimum 2.0 GPA.

VI. Application Package:

A complete application package includes: the application, copy of passport bio page, academic transcripts for years of university study (with English translations), two letters of reference (with English translations), and grade equivalence between local grading system and U.S. grading system.

To be considered for evaluation, applicants must:

  • answer every question completely and carefully
  • respond to essay questions as instructed, adhering to indicated word limits;
  • upload two letters of recommendation with certified translations, if necessary.
  • One recommendation must be completed by an instructor or advisor from the student’s university
  • The second recommendation can be from another instructor, an employer, coach, former exchange program coordinator or host family. Family members and personal friends may not provide letters of recommendation;
  • upload official undergraduate transcripts with certified English translations. Grades must be printed on official university stationery, signed by a dean or equivalent official, and certified with official university seal if possible;
  • upload official confirmation of the current academic year enrollment (if not included in transcript). This document does not need official translation to English;
  • Once your application is complete and supporting documents are uploaded, hit “Submit” to officially apply. Once submitted, you will not be able to change the information on the forms.

The contents of transcripts and recommendations will be verified with the appropriate institutions and instructors.

Applications are expected to represent the original thought and individual work of the applicant.  Plagiarism, representing another author’s language thoughts ideas or expressions as your original work without proper acknowledgment, is unacceptable. Any instance of plagiarism in a student application or essay is grounds for immediate disqualification from consideration for the program.  

VII. Application Deadline 

Late or incomplete applications will not be considered.  Be sure to request all transcripts and academic recommendations in sufficient time to receive them before the application deadline.

Applications must be submitted online by January 1st at 5:00pm EST.

Successful candidates will be notified of their awards by May 2016

VIII. Selection Process

Participants will be selected for academic excellence, leadership potential, proficiency in written and spoken English, and flexibility to be an exchange student.

Competition for the Global UGRAD Program is open and merit-based. Selection committees will review all eligible applications and invite semi-finalists for interviews.

Upon receipt of applications, test scores, and interview reports, final selection will be made by the US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs in Washington, D.C.

All finalists must also complete a medical exam and receive required immunizations prior to beginning the program. Participation in this program is contingent upon the availability of funding.