International High School Students via The Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) Program
Wakulla 4-H welcomed two international high school students via the Future Leaders Exchange Program at the beginning of September. The students will be 4-H members living with volunteer host families in Wakulla County for the school year. Both students will attend 11th grade at Wakulla High School. Sali Polotov from Tajikistan hopes to play soccer during his stay in Wakulla and is interested in studying geological science. Gregor Johanson is from Estonia and is interested in the performing arts. He hopes to be involved in the theater program while he is at Wakulla High.
Provided Scholarships for High School Students
The Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) Program has provided scholarships for high school students from Europe and Eurasia to spend an academic year in the United States, to live with a family and attend an American high school since 1993. Florida 4-H is a partner with the FLEX program through the States’ 4-H International Exchange Programs. Through 4-H, students have opportunities to engage in both short-term summer programs and academic year exchange experiences. Since 1971, nearly 60,000 youth and families have been positively impacted by international exchange through States’ 4-H programs. Wakulla is hosting two of four FLEX students living in Florida for the 2018-19 school year.
Merit-Based Scholarship Program Funded by the U.S. Department of State
The Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) program is a competitive, merit-based scholarship program funded by the U.S. Department of State. FLEX students gain leadership skills, learn about American society and values, and teach Americans about FLEX countries and cultures. The primary goal of the FLEX program is to improve mutual understanding and develop and strengthen long-term relationships between citizens of the United States and other peoples and countries.
17 Countries Participate
There are currently 17 countries that participate in the FLEX program. These countries include Armenia, Azerbaijan, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia,
Lithuania, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Ukraine.
Gregor and Sali will have the opportunity to participate in 4-H activities at the local, regional, and state level during their time in the United States while also having a complete American high school year experience. The FLEX program students are also encouraged to present to community groups about their home counties and are expected to engage in volunteer service activities.
For more information about Wakulla 4-H or the FLEX program, please contact the UF/IFAS Extension office in Crawfordville at 850-926-3931 or visit our website at http://sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/wakulla/4-h/.