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BP Scholarship FAQ

  • AFS and BP partnered to create this scholarship program aimed at providing financially-challenged students with the opportunity to study abroad and gain intercultural skills needed to succeed in a global economy. In 2016-17, this scholarship program will sponsor the exchange of 50 high school students between the United States and Brazil, China, India, Malaysia or South Africa.
  • BP is one of the world’s largest energy companies. In the U.S., BP has approximately $52 billion in assets and employs some 23,000 staff. The company’s main businesses are exploration and production of oil and gas; refining, manufacturing and marketing of oil products and petrochemicals; transportation and marketing of natural gas. BP also has a growing renewables business, BP Alternative Energy, focused on proven technologies like wind and emerging forms of renewable energy, like advanced biofuels.
  • AFS Intercultural Programs provides intercultural learning experiences that bring global cultures together by helping people connect, transforming the lives of thousands of students, families, and individuals every year. With AFS organizations in more than 50 countries and a global network of approximately 45,000 volunteers and staff, AFS is committed to helping participants develop the intercultural skills and knowledge needed to succeed in a global marketplace through immersion experiences in foreign cultures.
  • This scholarship is ideal for students who have strong academic records, a desire to study abroad, and a willingness to participate in an academic setting. Strong candidates will be ready to fully immerse themselves in the intercultural learning experience during the duration of the program.

    Students with demonstrated strengths in academics, but particularly an interest in math, science, technology and other fields important to the energy industry will be a focus of the program.

  • Students must meet the following eligibility requirements:
    • Residence: Reside in the greater Chicago, IL, (eligible counties are Boone, Cook, DeKalb, Du Page, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, Will and Winnebago) area, and the states of Washington and Texas.
    • S.T.E.M. Interest: Possess academic and career interest in science, technology, engineering, math or other fields important to the energy industry.
    • Academic Achievement: Determined by a teacher recommendation, academic history and a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale (or equivalent).
    • Financial Need: Qualify for need-based financial aid as determined by submitting a financial aid application.
    • Age Range: Be between 15 -18 years of age (graduates and graduating seniors are not eligible). Students must meet the program age requirements of at least one of the BP participating countries (Brazil, China, India, Malaysia or South Africa) to be eligible.
  • Yes, students living in the greater Chicago and Seattle metro areas (as well as anywhere in the state of Texas) are eligible to apply. If you have questions about your eligibility for this scholarship based on where you live, please email bpscholarship@afsusa.org.
  • The BP Global Citizens of Tomorrow scholarship will support students applying for a year program (approximately 10 months) to one of five countries: Brazil, China, India, Malaysia or South Africa. AFS reserves the right to choose the final country destination and does not guarantee you will be offered a scholarship to one of the country preferences you list on your AFS application.
  • Students will be going to Brazil, China, India, Malaysia or South Africa - countries with rapidly expanding economies and BP operations. While a student’s preference is considered, students must be flexible as AFS works to find the best fit for each student.

    AFS reserves the right to choose the final country destination and does not guarantee you will be offered a scholarship to one of the country preferences you list on your AFS application.

  • Your scholarship covers your full AFS program tuition (valued at approximately $15,000), domestic and international airfares, a monthly allowance, and a stipend to cover a portion of the costs associated wtih expenses directly related to obtaining a visa.
  • Reimbursement for expenses directly involved with obtaining the visa will be provided after you have applied and paid for your visa. Thus, please plan to cover the visa fees upfront. More details about the visa reimbursement process will be provided closer to the time you begin the visa application process.
  • Reimbursement amounts will not exceed the following amounts:
    • Brazil: $500
    • China: $300
    • India: $160
    • Malaysia: $90
    • South Africa: $95
  • Any expenses incurred to travel to a regional consulate are the responsibility of the student/family and are not covered by the BP Global Citizens of Tomorrow Scholarship.
  • Expenses not covered by the scholarship include, but are not limited, to:
    • Vaccinations, immunizations, and other disease-preventing medications (i.e. malaria)
    • Doctor visits and co-pays
    • Travel expenses to regional consulate to obtain visa
    • Passport application fee
    • Passport photos
    • Additional spending money (above and beyond the monthly stipend you receive as part of the BP scholarship)
    • Checked luggage fees
    • AFS-led in-country trips (if applicable)
    • School uniforms (if applicable)
  • Maybe, but we cannot guarantee it. The amount and type of credit you receive is determined by your high school in the U.S. It’s important to talk with your teachers and guidance counselor before you depart to arrange your schedule. In some cases, AFS participants have received language, history, or social studies credits. Be sure to keep a copy of any formal grades or transcripts you receive from your host school. It is your responsibility to obtain any written information about your attendance and grades in your host school before you return home. AFS cannot assist you with course or grade information after you complete the program.
  • Application requirements are outlined on the how to apply page of the website. If you have questions, please email AFS at bpscholarship@afsusa.org.

    Scholarship applicants must:

    Applicants, who meet the scholarship eligibility requirements and satisfactorily submit the above materials will advance in the scholarship application process. Scholarship applicants are encouraged to complete the above requirements in a timely fashion so as to not delay the application process. Applicants will be notified on a rolling-basis of eligibility.

    Once notified of scholarship eligibility, scholarship applicants must:

    • Submit the second portion of the AFS-USA online application.

    The application will be evaluated once all portions are complete. Finalists will be invited to a video interview prior to scholarship results being announced.

  • AFS recommends that you give yourself 2-3 weeks to complete your AFS online application, but it is really up to you how quickly the application can be finished. We have received applications in less than 48 hours from students responding to an application deadline.

    The AFS application is in-depth and requires a visit to a doctor’s office, additional essays from you and your parents, and photos.

  • If you are selected as a finalist and invited to the in-person interview event, more information will be provided to you at that time about scheduling an in-home interview with a local AFS volunteer.
  • There may be an event organized with BP in the U.S. prior to your departure. More information will be provided as details become available.
  • AFS will assign you with a carefully selected host family, who will open their home and share their lives with you. There’s nothing like the experience of living as a member of a family and community in another country.
  • This depends on many different factors and is different for everyone. Some students learn of their placement soon after they are accepted into the program; some learn about their host community right before departure. However, most students learn of their placement about 2-4 weeks prior to departure.

    The AFS staff and volunteers in your host country work to find the best placement for you and the host family. They want this to be a positive experience for everyone and will work hard to make the best placement possible. Keep in mind that even if a great host family is identified for you, the placement won’t be finalized until a host school placement is confirmed in writing as well. This process takes time. But rest assured that AFS will get your host family contact information to you as soon as it is available. Although we do our best to provide you with your host family information at least two weeks before departure, this is not always possible.

    If you have placement restrictions, such as allergies to pets or to the environment, specific requirements for religious services, or any dietary restrictions, the placement process will likely take longer.

  • Many AFS participants begin the program with little or no experience in the language of their host country, but quickly learn to communicate at a basic level. There is no better way to learn a language than by speaking it every day! Do your best to communicate, even if you are using basic words and phrases. You’ll get better each day and by the end of your year abroad, you’ll likely be fluent in the host country’s language.
  • A passport book is an international form of identification showing a person’s nationality. It is required of all individuals traveling internationally. If you still do not have a passport, you should obtain one now. Obtaining a U.S. passport generally takes about 6-10 weeks. The longer you wait to take care of this detail, the more expensive and frustrating the process. Not having a passport can also jeopardize your chances of going abroad since you can’t travel anywhere without one. AFS requires that your passport be valid for at least six months beyond your intended date of return.
  • If you have not already applied for a passport book, apply now! It can take six to eight weeks to receive your passport and you will need it in order to obtain your student visa. Apply for a passport online or at your local post office. If you already have a U.S. passport, make sure it is valid for at least six months after the end of your program. If not, start the renewal process immediately. A passport costs approximately $135.
  • Costs associated with obtaining a passport are not covered by the BP scholarship. A passport costs approximately $135.
  • A visa is a stamp or other notation generally placed in your passport that will allow you to enter and temporarily reside in your host country during your program. A visa is required for all year programs.
  • The answer to this question depends upon your destination country. For some countries, the process is straightforward and relatively quick, but for other countries, obtaining a visa can be very time consuming and quite expensive. You will need to begin preparations for obtaining your visa upon receipt of your country specific visa information. This will be posted online and emailed to you approximately 6-8 weeks prior to departure.

    Please note that some visa applications require you to apply in-person at your host country’s regional consulate. You may be required to travel to the consulate in order to do so. Any expenses incurred to travel to a regional consulate are the responsibility of the student/family and are not covered by the BP Global Citizens of Tomorrow Scholarship.

    Also, if your program requires you to apply for a student visa, you may have to submit your passport to the consulate along with your visa application. For this reason, we ask that you not plan any international trips in the months prior to your departure on an AFS program.

  • You will be reimbursed for the majority of your visa fees. Reimbursement will be provided after you have applied and paid for your visa. Please plan to cover the visa fees upfront. More details will be provided closer to the time you would need to begin the visa application process.
  • The majority of AFS countries do not require special immunizations. AFS recommends immunizations based on the information provided by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. All AFS participants should be immunized against the seven childhood diseases: measles, mumps, rubella (MMR), diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus (DPT), and polio. We recommend that you check with your family physician to determine which immunizations are appropriate based on your medical history.