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Study of the U.S. Institutes (SUSI) for Student Leaders – Civic Engagement

The Study of the U.S. Institutes (SUSI) for Student Leaders – Civic Engagement is a program that gives participants with an overview of how citizens, acting as individuals or groups have shaped U.S. history, government, and society.  The academic program will define civic engagement, examine its development in the United States, and explore topics such as active citizenship, community building, public policy, political leadership, and volunteerism.

The five-week program offers a balanced series of seminar discussions, readings, group presentations, and lectures.  The program will be conducted in Spanish and will take place at the Institute of Training and Development (ITD) in Amherst, Massachusetts.  The Institute will encourage participants to develop innovative and practical plans to become engaged citizens in their own communities.

The Institutes will include an academic residency component of approximately four weeks and a domestic study tour of approximately one week.  During the academic residency, participants may engage in educational and cultural activities outside of the classroom. For the closing of the program, fellows will travel to Washington, D.C., for a seminar with other leaders from Latin America.

THE CALL FOR APPLICATIONS FOR THE 2024 CYCLE IS NOW OPEN! Submit your application from October 10, 2023, to November 12, 2023, at 12:00 p.m. (Guatemala time) 


Who can apply?

Interested persons must fulfill all the following requirements: 

  • Be a Guatemalan citizen (without dual U.S. citizenship) 
  • Be proficient in Spanish 
  • Have been born, and be currently living, in one of the following departments: Totonicapán, Huehuetenango, Quiché, San Marcos, Jalapa, Santa Rosa, or Petén.
  • Be between 18 and 24 years old 
  • Be a full-time student at a Guatemalan university, who has completed at least two (2) semesters and has at least one (1) semester remaining before graduation 
  • Have an academic average of 85 or more, verified by a transcript issued by your university   
  • Be eligible for a J-1 visa. 
  • Be a leader committed to your community 

How to apply 

Interested persons must take the following steps:

1. If you meet the eligibility criteria, complete the SUSI Civic Engagement 2024 Online Application at https://forms.gle/BSYa2nJu3Wvt8vyt8If you encounter any difficulties filling out this form, e-mail us at Guatemala.BecasEEUU@state.gov. 

 Upload the following documents in the online form: 

  • Scan of your ID (DPI –both sides- or passport –first page-) in PDF format
  • Certificate issued by your university confirming your grade point average
  • Letter of recommendation from a university professor or mentor, in PDF format 


  • Please use the following format for the filenames of all PDFs submitted: Last name, document type (Example: LASTNAME – Passport.pdf) 
  • You may submit documents in Spanish; sworn translations are not necessary. 


  • Applications for the 2024 cycle are open from October 10, 2023, to November 12, 2023, at 12:00 p.m. (Guatemala time)
  • Interviews will be held in December 2023.  Please note that this is a highly competitive scholarship.  Applicants selected for interview will be contacted via email.  Applicants who have not received such e-mail have not been invited to continue in the selection process.
  • Selected fellows are expected to travel to the United States in 2024. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

I don’t have a visa.  May I apply?
Yes. Having a visa is not required to apply. Candidates should be eligible for a J-1 visa.

Where will fellows live?
During the program, fellows will live in shared university dorms with common bathroom facilities on campus.  Most meals will be provided at campus facilities.

What expenses does the SUSI scholarship cover?
The scholarship covers the costs of visa, travel, accommodation, tuition fees, and medical insurance. 

Can a family member of a U.S. Embassy employee apply to the program?
Family members of U.S. Embassy employees are ineligible for this program.

Can a family member travel or stay with the SUSI program participant?
No.  Relatives cannot travel or stay with participants during the program. 

For more information about this scholarship, send an email with your questions to Guatemala.BecasEEUU@state.gov. 


Aparicio, Catalina, Claudia, José y Yessenia, Guatemalan student leaders, participated in the SUSI Civic Engagement program. Here they are visiting New York in July 2022.