Project: Change - FAQ

Who is eligible to participate?

  • Must be currently enrolled in a U.S. school (or be home-schooled in the U.S.) in grades 8-12. U.S. high school students who are currently studying abroad ARE still eligible!
  • Must be a citizen or permanent resident of the U.S.
  • Must be in possession of a U.S. passport at the time of departure.

How many students will win?

There will be one grand prize winner, whose idea will be the inspiration for the final program. Four additional students will receive full scholarships to participate in the winning program. Once the winning program is finalized, any student in grades 8-12 is eligible to sign up to participate in the program and pay the program fee, amount to be determined after the program is selected.

How and when will the winners be selected?

Immediately following the contest deadline, all entrants will have the opportunity to get their friends and family to vote for their idea to win. The students with the top 200 votes will be announced as finalists. From among those top 200 finalists, a grand prize winner and several additional winners will be selected based on the criteria of creativity, feasibility, and submission quality.

  • Submission deadline: December 18, 2017 at 11:59pm EST
  • Voting period: December 19, 2017 at 12:00am EST to January 10, 2018 at 11:59pm EST

Projects are selected based on creativity, feasibility, and submission quality. What does “feasibility” mean?

While we do not want to limit your imagination, try and keep your project idea as “open” or conceptual as possible to increase feasibility. For example: if you want to work with a specific international NGO, explain the type of organization you’d like to work with, rather than the exact name. And, instead of mentioning a specific city in which you’d want your project to take place, talk about some characteristics of any city or town that could work. 

Why? This will allow AFS to design a program that not only fulfills your vision if you win, but also includes sufficient support from AFS Staff and Volunteers in-country.

What are some examples of “feasible” projects?

Planting trees to help reduce the negative impacts of deforestation, creating dance, music, arts or sports workshops for people of different socioeconomic or cultural backgrounds, or developing fun methods of helping kids in underserved communities understand the importance of education are all examples of projects you could do in various countries. While there is no pre-defined budget, try to make sure that your project will not rely on very expensive materials to implement. Also, be sure to keep in mind that it will take place over two weeks in the summer.

What support will AFS provide in designing the winning project?

AFS is an international, volunteer-based organization. This means we have local staff and volunteers in cities and towns all over the world. Once the winning project is selected, our staff in the US and abroad will work together to create a program that fulfills the vision and goals of that project as closely as possible. AFS will provide any relevant materials, as well as housing, meals, and transportation for the entirety of the program. The program will take place in a region that is both appropriate for the project, and also has a developed, local support network to help keep our participants safe, happy, and fully immersed in the local culture and community.

Note: Domestic and international travel, necessary visa fees, room and board, and activities will all be covered in the full scholarship for winners. Extra spending money, luggage fees, and any costs associated with getting a passport are not.

When will the winning project be put into action?

The winning project will take place in the summer of 2018. The exact dates will depend on which project wins, and which country it takes place in; it will be a joint decision between the winning student and AFS. (Learn about Claire's Grand Prize-Winning project and the two-week volunteer trip she and her fellow winners will embark on in Kenya!)

Can my friend/classmate and I enter one submission together?

Sorry, each person must submit his or her own unique idea. Collaboration between friends or with parents or teachers is fine – and encouraged! – but only the primary contest entrant will get to participate in the program if selected.

Can I submit multiple entries?

Nope. Just one submission per person, and you must choose either a video OR a written essay.

I changed my mind! Can I still edit my submission?

Yes! You can edit your submission up to the submission deadline on December 18, 2017 at 11:59pm. Once voting starts, however, you can no longer edit your submission.

Where can I find the complete Rules, Terms and Conditions?

For a complete list of rules, terms and conditions, click here.

What if I don't win? Are there other ways to go abroad with AFS?

YES! Whether or not your submission is selected for Project: Change, you can go abroad with AFS (the organization behind Project: Change) next year. Once the winning program is selected, any 8th-12th grade student is eligible to sign up to join the group. The program fee will be determined after the program is finalized.

Additionally, AFS offers 120+ programs abroad ranging from 2 weeks to 10 months. Explore the website or view our informational "snapshot" videos that explain who we are and how we're here to help you.

2-3 week "Global Prep" programs  |  4-8 week programs  |  semester and year programs