Nominate your best student to the 2017 Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellows Summer Institute!

The U.S. Embassy in Copenhagen invites high school teachers throughout Denmark to nominate their best students to this very prestigious and highly competitive educational trip to the U.S.

The Embassy can send one (1) student to the U.S. on this program. The competition for the spots is fierce so teachers should only submit nominations for the very best and committed students that fulfill all the requirements stated below. Teachers should also be very thorough when completing the nominations.

The four week 2017 Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellows Summer Institute will address U.S. foreign policy priorities such as youth engagement, democracy and civil society development, and economic prosperity. The program will take place in June and July 2017; exact dates will be communicated at a later time.  The institute will be hosted by Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The deadline for candidate nominations to be received by the Embassy is Friday, March 10, 2017.

Program Description:

The Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellows Summer Institute is an intensive short term exchange program whose purpose is to foster relationships among young Europeans and Americans to build strong linkages and an awareness of shared values. The program will consist of a series of lectures, seminar discussions and presentations, and a broad assortment of practical, faculty- and mentor-led workshops. The coursework and classroom activities will be complemented by community service activities, site visits, social and cultural activities, and homestays with American families to deepen participants’ experience of U.S. society during their exchange.

During the academic residency, participants will also have the opportunity to discuss other topics such as democratic practices, conflict resolution, problem solving, communication skills, critical thinking, tolerance and respect for diversity, youth leadership, team building, and the media. The Institute will also explore how freedom of expression provides rights to and imposes responsibilities on citizens. Upon their return home, participants will implement service projects in their communities and present an alumni project plan to a youth-serving or youth-centered organization in their home country.

Program Requirements and Restrictions

Candidates must exhibit demonstrable interest in pursuing leadership opportunities in their home countries, and convey a genuine desire to learn about the United States and its people, society, and institutions. They are expected to fully participate in the academic program and the follow-on activities afterward in their home countries. They should attend all lectures and organized activities, complete assigned readings, and be ready to share their culture with Americans. They should be made aware that the Institute is very intensive and that there will be little time for personal pursuits unrelated to the program.

Participants will travel to the United States on J-1 visas. There should be no fees incurred for the J-1 visa application. Participants are not allowed to arrive in the U.S. prior to the start date of the Institute or to remain in the U.S. after its end date. Violations of program rules, host institution rules, or local, state or federal laws can be grounds for immediate dismissal from the program. It is important that these requirements and restrictions are made clear to all candidates before their nominations are submitted.

All candidates must be proficient in English so that they can actively participate in the academic program. The host institution will take into account that the level of comprehension and speaking ability of Fellows may vary and will prepare lectures and discussions that meet the highest academic standards while using language appropriate for those for whom English is not the first language.

All candidates are expected to have a strong interest in learning about diplomacy, the transatlantic relationship, the role of a free press in a democratic society, and public or community service.  They should have a strong demonstrated interest in communications, advocacy, debate, and or civic participation.  They should have the academic aptitude for a program of this nature and the personal qualities needed to be successful, including maturity, strong social skills, flexibility, and open-mindedness.

Candidates nominated for this Fellowship must:

  • be born between June 24, 1998, and June 24, 2001 (i.e., be 16, 17, or 18 years of age at the time of the program start);
  • be highly proficient in English, as demonstrated in a personal interview or the results of a standardized test;
  • be committed to enrolling in high school or university in their home countries in fall 2017, following completion of the Institute;
  • demonstrate strong leadership potential and interest in transatlantic relations and diplomacy;
  • indicate a serious interest in learning about the United States;
  • demonstrate a high level of academic achievement, as indicated by academic grades, awards, and teacher recommendations;
  • demonstrate a commitment to community and extracurricular activities;
  • have had little or no prior U.S. study or travel experience in the United States;
  • be mature, responsible, independent, confident, open-minded, tolerant, thoughtful and inquisitive;
  • be willing and able to fully participate in an intensive summer program, community service, and active educational travel program;
  • be comfortable with campus life, shared living accommodations, travel and interaction with a multinational, co-ed group of participants from across Europe and the United States;
  • be comfortable with engaging various Americans in the broader community; and
  • be able to adjust to cultural and social practices different from those of their home countries.

The Embassy will make all travel arrangements and provide international airline tickets for their participants to fly round-trip to Greensboro airport in North Carolina in the United States.

If you want to nominate a student, please send an email to CopenhagenIRC@State.Gov with “BFTF application form” as subject as soon as possible and we will send you an initial application form to fill out on behalf of the student. Please return this form to us no later than Friday, March 10. We will then select the best candidates and contact the students directly for more information.

If you have questions about the Summer Institute, please look at the FAQ below or contact us on CopenhagenIRC@State.Gov if the FAQ does not answer your question.

Please also visit the Summer Institute’s website http://bftf.org/ for more information.


Most-asked questions

All participants must be highly proficient in English; throughout the Institute they will need to fully understand lectures, actively participate in discussions, and read and write assignments in English.

Yes. However, the Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellows Summer Institute is a program designed to further mutual understanding between U.S. citizens and Europeans. If you wish to nominate someone who is not a citizen of the nominating country, please explain clearly on the application the reasons for the nomination.

No. Nominees with very minimal experience in the United States may be considered for the program. However, priority should be given to nominees with no previous experience in the United States. If you find it necessary to nominate a candidate with previous U.S. experience, please be sure to clearly indicate the purpose of the nominee’s visit to the U.S., the year it occurred, and the length of his/her stay, as requested on the nomination form.

Participants who will be fasting during Ramadan are still expected to fully participate in the program. Participants must be aware of the rigorous nature of the program and the expectation of full participation in planned activities. Some activities such as community service and site visits may take place outdoors in high temperatures and humidity. Participants should be aware of the challenging nature of the program, especially in locations that experience long hours of sunlight. For example, in the northern United States, the sun rises around 5:30 am and sets around 9:30 pm.

There will be some limited 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.

Participants will NOT be allowed to leave the Institute to visit relatives or friends. Occasionally it is possible for a relative or friend to visit the participant on a specific day designated by the host institution, if the schedule permits.  These situations will be addressed on a case-by-case basis in consultation with the ECA program officer and the host institution.

Very important! We strive to have the best possible diversity and gender balance in the Institute.

No. Participants who choose to travel to the United States on a Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellows Summer Institute are required to abide by the J-1 visa rules. Participants may NOT arrive in the United States before the program start date or remain in the country after the close of the Institute.

No. All participants are expected to participate in all scheduled lectures, events, site visits, trips, and activities.

ECA will cover all basic costs of an individual’s participation in the U.S. based exchange. Generally, the host institution will provide meals through a combination of a cafeteria meal plan and a pre-loaded debit card for use at local restaurants. Information on housing and meal arrangements will be provided by the host institution prior to the start of the Institute. Participants should not expect to receive any spending money from the Institute. Participants should bring their own spending money if they wish to purchase souvenirs or other items during their time in the United States.

Priority will be given to nominees who are unrelated to past BFTF participants. Posts should make every effort to recruit and nominate candidates from widely diverse areas and backgrounds.

Yes, the Youth Programs Division welcomes nominations for individuals with disabilities. We are committed to working with Wake Forest to arrange reasonable accommodations for all participants. 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 host to ensure appropriate accommodations.