Applications have closed for 2020 and will reopen in the Fall

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What is Project: Change?

Project: Change is a study abroad scholarship opportunity that encourages U.S. high school students to imagine and build a more sustainable world. Because that’s what changemakers do – they seek to understand the challenges others face and help create new ways to face those challenges, together. They are not lone heroes. Changemakers are collaborators and allies. They work with communities, not for them. They empower everyone to be a changemaker.

In this changemaking spirit, 15 to 18-year-old U.S. students are invited to propose a project idea for this sustainable development scholarship that works toward one (or a few) of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals in a relevant country in the AFS Global Prep network.


Scholarship Details

Scholarship Type: Merit-based
Scholarship Values: One Student receives a Full Scholarship; Two Students receive $2,000 Partial Scholarships
Applicable Programs: Summer 2020 Global Prep in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Hungary, Ireland, Kenya, and New Zealand
Application Deadline: The Summer 2020 deadline has passed. Applications for 2021 will open in August.
Applicants must meet the following minimum eligibility requirements:

  • Be a 15 to 18-year-old by June 2020 (approximately when the program abroad will begin).
  • Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
  • NOT be an AFS Returnee (i.e. you have not studied abroad with AFS already).

The full scholarship recipient will go on the Global Prep program in the country where they based their project proposal. This program will have added opportunities to explore and learn about international development, changemaking, and the Sustainable Development Goals. The two partial scholarship recipients will have the option to use their scholarship funds to join the full scholarship winner on this modified program or go on a different Global Prep program of their choosing.

How to Apply

Essay Requirements & Judging Criteria

In their own words, applicants must write a project proposal essay that answers both of the following prompts (in min. 500 – max 1500 words):

  • Choose one to three of the Sustainable Development Goals for your project proposal. Why are you passionate about meeting the Goal(s) you chose? If you have chosen more than one Goal, explain how they are related.
  • What project would you propose to help meet your chosen Goal(s) in one of the available AFS Countries? Demonstrate the relevance of your proposed project to the Goals and communities in the country chosen.

Need help with the writing process? Use our guide to writing a great Project: Change essay!

All submissions will be reviewed by the Judges Panel based on the following criteria:

  • A demonstrated understanding of the chosen Sustainable Development Goal(s) and its implications in the applicable AFS Global Prep country chosen (25%);
  • Creativity and originality (25%);
  • Quality of research and writing, including cited sources and formatting (25%); and
  • Feasibility, relevance, and potential impact of the proposed project to the chosen Goal(s) and communities in the chosen country (25%).
Applications are closed for Summer 2020. Check back in August when the scholarship application reopens for Summer 2021.

See other Scholarships

project change india kids

Why apply for Project: Change?

Since 2014, AFS Project: Change has inspired thousands of teens to analyze the issues that affect our world and develop innovative solutions to address them. Scholarship recipients have learned and served communities in Colombia, Ghana, Guatemala, India, Kenya, and Russia. Every student who applies can…

  • Learn about global issues and the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Develop research, critical thinking, problem-solving, interdisciplinary, and communication skills.
  • Cultivate intercultural intelligence and become a changemaker.
  • On college applications, show a passion for addressing international, social problems.
  • Be considered for a scholarship to study abroad on a 1 to 3-week summer program with AFS.

UN Sustainable Development Goals

Choose a goal. Identify a country. Enter a proposal. Be a changemaker.

In 2015, countries of the United Nations set the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (aka. Global Goals or SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all. AFS-USA has aligned the Project: Change scholarship and more short summer programs with the Global Goals to amplify, and encourage action toward, its ambitious vision for a sustainable, peaceful world.

Choose a goal to learn more about the underlying issues, specific objectives, and AFS programs that address them.

Applicable Countries

To develop a Project: Change scholarship proposal, click on a country to learn more and start imagining new ways to reach the Sustainable Development Goals there. Every Sustainable Development Goal applies to every country in the world, but only these specific countries in the AFS Global Prep network are available for Project: Change applications.


For students and educators, find extensive resources below to help craft a proposal for our sustainable development scholarships or to teach sustainable development and changemaking.

Teach Project: Change

With these lesson plans and resources, educators can seamlessly bring Project: Change into their classrooms to teach global issues, cultivate students’ intercultural intelligence across subject areas, and inspire them to produce quality work for an external audience (i.e. us!).

To take a lesson or full unit of study to the next level, we’ve collaborated with iEARN (International Education and Resource Network) to enable teachers to connect with other classrooms virtually to discuss sustainable development, changemaking principles, and project ideas.

Download the Lesson Plan

Sign up for iEARN Virtual Exchange

Sign up to receive more educator resources! 

Apply for the Project: Change Scholarships

Once you’ve done some research, brainstorming, and writing, submit your essay to be considered for the scholarships! Applications are closed for Summer 2020. Check back in August when the Project: Change Scholarship application reopens for Summer 2021.

See other Scholarships

Powered by AFS Global Prep

Global Prep offers one to three-week summer programs that connect impactful cultural experiences with Sustainable Development Goals. Eight Global Prep countries are available for Project: Change proposals. For more destinations and program topics, check out Global Prep.