Global UGRAD

From left to right: Fernanda, Hector Raúl and Jeffrey 2019 Global UGRAD Fellows in Washington D.C, November 2019
From left to right: Fernanda, Hector Raúl and Jeffrey 2019 Global UGRAD Fellows in Washington D.C, November 2019

UGRAD 2021 – Open Call for Applications

The Global Undergraduate Exchange Program (Global UGRAD) provides a diverse group of emerging student leaders with a scholarship for one semester of non-degree academic study at a U.S. college or university.

Please note this is a highly competitive scholarship.  Only candidates who fulfill all the requirements (listed below) will be considered. Please take time to read carefully all the information on this page and prepare a successful application that accurately reflects your leadership and commitment to the development of your community.

The 2021 call of applications will be open from January 5, 2021, to February 28, 2021, 16:00 hours Guatemala time. Prospective participants should request their academic transcripts and letters of recommendation as soon as possible, as additional information cannot be added to any existing application after the February 28 application closing date and time.

 About the program

The Global UGRAD program,sponsored by the U.S Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA), aims to recruit participants from underrepresented, non-elite backgrounds who have not had other opportunities to study in the United States.  Successful applicants should expect an in-depth exposure to U.S. society, culture, and academic institutions, as well as opportunities to enhance their professional skills.

All participants will be enrolled in full-time, non-degree, undergraduate coursework chosen from the existing curriculum of their host institution. Participants will be required to take one three-credit U.S. studies course to enhance their understanding of the United States. Participants will live in assigned campus housing facilities with American peers, and will be required to participate in 20 hours of community service. There will be a virtual arrival orientation as well as an in-person workshop at the closing of the program.

More information available here:

Who is eligible?

 Applicants must fulfill all the following requirements:

  1. Guatemalan citizen currently living in Guatemala, with no dual U.S. citizenship.
  2. Currently studying at a university based in Guatemala.
  3. General point average (GPA) minimum of 85/100 in the Guatemalan system or in the top 15 percent of their class. This must be proven by university-provided documents.
  4. Scholarships will be granted only to students currently enrolled in full-time undergraduate programs who have completed at least one semester of study. Participants must have at least one semester or an equivalent term remaining to complete at their home institutions after returning from the Global UGRAD program.
  5. Applicants must demonstrate leadership potential through academic work, community involvement, and/or extracurricular activities.
  6. Applicants must have advanced English language skills. This will be tested. Preselected candidates must achieve a minimum TOEFL score of 45ibt.

*Comment: You do not need to have taken a TOEFL test to apply. If you have a recent score (within the last two years), please provide it; if not, please provide comparable proof of your English language abilities.

  1. Preference will be given to those with little to no experience in the United States or outside of their home countries.
  2. Be eligible to obtain a J-1 visa.
  3. Be over 18 years of age by January 1, 2021.

How can I apply?

 The application process is conducted entirely online.  Please access this link to create an account:

After you have created an account, please select “Create a Profile to get started.”

NOTE:  The application must be completed in English. Applications submitted in Spanish will not be reviewed. You will be asked to write an essay on a specific topic (maximum length, 600 words). It is very important that you and you alone fill the application and write your essay. Not doing so will be grounds for immediate disqualification on the basis of plagiarism.

You must upload the following documents (only .pdf and Word documents accepted):

  1. Academic Letter of Recommendation: To be completed by a university professor familiar with the student’s work in his/her major field of study.
  2. Personal Letter of Recommendation: To be completed by a professor familiar with the student’s work in his/her major field of study, or from an employer. Recommendations should not come from family members or friends.
  3. Photocopy of the information page of your passport or DPI.
  4. Official Transcripts: Document issued by your university which must include your general point average (GPA) and ranking – for example, that you are the student ranked 10/25 in your class.
  5. Portfolio and samples of your work: Related to your bachelor’s degree.

Relevant dates

  • Applications are open from January 5, 2021, to February 28, 2021, at 16:00 hours Guatemala time.
  • Interviews will be held in mid-March 2021. They are conducted in English and last approximately 20 minutes. If you are selected to participate, you will receive an email with more information. If you do not receive an email inviting you to an interview by April 1, 2021, that means you were not selected to continue on to the next stage of the process.
  • Selected fellows will travel to the United States in either August 2021 or January 2022.
  • After the program has ended, applicants are required to return directly to Guatemala.

Which expenses are covered by the Global UGRAD scholarship?

The Global UGRAD scholarship covers the candidate’s expenses of the visa, travel, lodging, university fees, and medical insurance while in the United States.

More questions?

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Cecilia Sosa

Applicant of the Global UGRAD program

Applicant of the Global UGRAD program