U.S. Ambassador hosts latest cohort of exchange students headed to America

A dozen young students are about to have their lives changed forever thanks to their participation in exchange programs organized by the U.S. Embassy in Suriname.

On Saturday, August 3, U.S. Ambassador to Suriname Karen Lynn Williams met with students soon to head to the United States as participants in the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Program and the Youth Ambassador Program (YAP).

“Taking part in exchange programs will benefit you personally and directly,” Ambassador Williams said.  “Whether it is strengthening your self-confidence, providing you new insights for your future studies, or opening new opportunities for you to follow your passions, exchanges help you become more well-rounded versions of yourself.”

This marks the 10th year of the YES Program in Suriname, through which six students from 15 to 17 years old live and study in the United States for one year.  The seven participants in the Youth Ambassador Program spend a little over one month in the U.S. in programs focusing on civic education, community service, and youth leadership development.

“The United States believes exchange programs like these are important in connecting cultures and building a global community,” Ambassador Williams said.  “By moving people, we move ideas and encourage discussions, building stronger ties between the people of America and the people of Suriname.”

Joining the soon departing students were six YES participants who recently returned from their year in America.  They were able to share their experiences of the U.S. with their peers and address questions raised by the parents of the students headed abroad.

The YES and YAP exchanges are just two of the many ways the U.S. Embassy in Paramaribo works to send Suriname’s students, university scholars, and professionals to the United States for self-development and networking.  There are also several programs that bring American experts to Suriname to continue building those bridges of understanding.  And participants in the various U.S. Embassy exchange programs often return with an invigorated sense of purpose in advancing Suriname’s development.

“These exchanges do not end after your return to Suriname,” the Ambassador said.  “Since they change people’s lives, we find our alumni often come back with a renewed sense of community service and a passion to improve the lives of others.”

The U.S. Embassy’s partner in implementing the YES program is iEARN.