The Study of the U.S. Institutes for Student Leaders

The Study of the U.S. Institutes for Student Leaders from Europe are intensive short-term academic programs whose purpose is to provide groups of undergraduate student leaders with a deeper understanding of the United States while simultaneously enhancing their leadership skills.  The program takes place in summer, and usually starts in late June.

The five-week Institutes consist of a balanced series of seminar discussions, readings, group presentations and lectures.  The coursework and classroom activities will be complemented by educational travel, site visits, leadership activities, and volunteer opportunities within the local community.  Each Institute includes a four-week academic residency component and a one-week integrated study tour to another region of the United States.  During the academic residency, participants will also have the opportunity to engage in educational and cultural activities outside of the classroom.

Candidates for this program must:

  • have citizenship and live in the Republic of Moldova at the time of application (permanent residents of the Transnistrian region may be considered regardless of citizenship)
  • be eligible for a U.S. J-1 visa. Program participants must return to and reside in Moldova for two years after completion of their program;
  • be between 18 and 25 years of age;
  • demonstrate commitment to community and extracurricular university activities;
  • have at least one semester left of their undergraduate studies after the program, and therefore be committed to return to their home universities following completion of the program;
  • demonstrate strong leadership qualities and potential in their university and community activities;
  • have a sustained high level of academic achievement, as indicated by grades, awards, and teacher recommendations;
  • have little or no prior study or travel experience in the United States or elsewhere outside of Moldova;
  • be proficient in English.

Institute Description

The Study of the U.S. Institute on Civic Engagement, hosted by Michigan State University, will provide participants with an overview of how citizens have shaped U.S. history, government, and society both as individuals and groups.  The academic program will define civic engagement; examine its development in the United States; and explore topics such as citizenship, community building, economic development, grassroots activism, political leadership, and volunteerism.  In order to enhance the academic experience, the Institute will focus on specific themes such as civil rights and protections, diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility (DEIA), citizen journalism, social movements, education, governance, minority communities, leadership, and media. Academic sessions will be complemented with hands-on sessions or workshops designed to build skills in the topics mentioned above.  The Institute will encourage participants to develop innovative and practical plans to become engaged citizens in their own communities.

How to apply

To apply please complete the online application here (

Application deadline is November 15th.

For more information, please visit:

If you have questions, please write to:


Will I need to pay for the program? The scholarship is fully funded by U.S. people and the U.S. government.

What does scholarship cover and how much money will I need to bring? The scholarship covers: housing, health benefits (medical insurance), meals, small stipend, international air travel to and from the U.S., and local travel to required program events.

I have been to the U.S. before. Am I still eligible? Yes. Participants with very minimal experience in the United States may be considered for the program.  However, priority will be given to nominees with no previous experience in the United States.

How will I book my ticket? The program will arrange economy class round trip international travel for each selected participant. The host institution will cover all travel within the United States during the Institute.

Can a graduate student participate in this Institute? No. Study of the U.S. Institutes for Student Leaders are designed exclusively for undergraduate students with at least one remaining semester of study.

What degree of English proficiency does the program require? All participants must be fully proficient in English. You will need to fully understand lectures, actively participate in discussions, and read and write assignments in English throughout the Institute.

How intense is the program? This is an intensive program, the participants must attend all lectures and organized activities and complete assigned readings.

How much free time will I have during the program?  There will be some free time during the program.  However, you must understand that this is an intensive academic program and you are expected to fully participate in all lectures, activities, site visits, and scheduled events.

Can I miss one part or component of the Institute?  All participants are expected to participate in all scheduled lectures, events, site visits, trips, and activities.

I am over 30 years old, am I eligible for the program? No, the applicants must be between 18 and 25 years of age.

Where will I live? The housing will be offered at the university campus that might include shared room and bathroom with another participant of the same gender.

Are meals provided? Most meals will be provided at campus facilities, though participants may have access to a kitchen to cook some meals on their own.

Can family members accompany me? Family members and/or friends may not accompany participants on any part of the program.

Will I have time to visit relatives or friends that may live in the United States during the program?  No, you 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 during the Institute, if the schedule permits. These situations will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Can I arrive early or stay in the U.S. after the Institute?  No, participants may NOT arrive in the United States before the program start date or remain in the country after the close of the Institute.

What about my health insurance? All participants will receive medical coverage in case of emergency for the duration of the program. Pre-existing conditions are not covered.

What happens if I test positive for COVID-19? Should a participant need to quarantine due to positive COVID-19 test results, accommodations will follow Center for Disease Control (CDC) and host institution guidelines.

I have a disability. Can I still apply?  Yes, the SUSI welcomes nominations for individuals with disabilities.

I’m a Moldovan citizen and for the last year (or more) I’ve been living abroad.  But my permanent residence is in Moldova.  Am I eligible for the program? One of the qualification requirements is to have citizenship of the Republic of Moldova and permanent residence in the country. Permanent residence in program terms means that candidate is living and working in Moldova at the moment of application and during the whole process of selection.

What does it mean to be eligible for J1 visa? To qualify for a J visa, an applicant must show that they meet the qualifications for the exchange program, have no visa ineligibilities, and overcome the presumption of being an intending immigrant by sufficiently demonstrating strong ties to their home country that will compel them to leave the United States at the end of their temporary stay.