Training the next generation of global leaders.
WorldChicago is a local coordinator for U.S. Department of State Youth Leadership Programs for international high school students and adult mentors. These short, yet dynamic programs inspire cross-cultural dialogue, build respect and mutual understanding, and boost civic engagement among young Americans and their international peers.
Youth participants — selected through a competitive, merit-based application process — reside with Chicago-area host families for 1–2 weeks during their exchange to get a full immersion into everyday life in America. During the day, groups participate in hands-on workshops, skills training sessions, volunteer activities, and cultural events. Evenings and weekends are open to spend time with host families.
In 2014, WorldChicago hosted almost 150 international youth ages 11–19 from more than 20 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, North America, and South America. This year, we’re gearing up to welcome students from Japan, South Korea, the UK, and several countries across Africa, including Angola, Botswana, Ghana, Malawi, Mauritius, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Zambia.
“This was a life changing experience, a risk definitely worth taking.” — Youth leader from Iraq
To learn more about hosting a youth in your home or your classroom, please email Maria Krasinski or call 312.254.1800 x102.
Creating international experiences for Chicago youth.
Youth Leadership Programs also create opportunities for Chicago students to connect with world affairs on a local level and build global competency. They might participate in joint workshops with international youth; have youth and professional visitors visit their classroom; or host an international “sibling” with their families. Read one CPS student’s experience as a host and program volunteer.
Our youth partners and hosts also receive first notice when opportunities arise for Chicago youth to travel abroad on similar exchanges.
Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program – Application Deadline Extended January 31, 2017
The U.S.-Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program (IYLEP) is a four-week program that runs from July through August that offers an opportunity to youth in the United States to develop leadership skills, build new understandings of civic engagement and diversity, and cultivate new friendships across the world. This fully-funded, U.S.-based program offers a unique cultural exchange opportunity for U.S. students to participate in a leadership program alongside youth and adults from Iraq.
Applications are now open for Chicago-area students! Visit the IYLEP site to learn more and apply by January 15, 2017.
WiSci Girls STEAM Camp – Application Deadline February 13, 2017
Join girls from around the world for a unique educational opportunity and rich cross-cultural experience at the 2017 WiSci Girls STEAM Camp held in Malawi from July 30 – August 15, 2017. STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Design, and Mathematics. The camp will include a STEAM curriculum led by experts in their fields, as well as leadership development activities and learning excursions within Malawi.
Digital Young Leaders Exchange Program – Application Deadline March 15, 2017
World Learning’s Digital Young Leaders Exchange Program (DYLEP) is an online exchange program for high school students in Iraq and the United States. Through DYLEP, students develop their leadership skills, learn how to work together with people of diverse backgrounds, and design concrete projects to address issues in their communities. Selected students will participate in DYLEP completely free of charge, and learn using videos, discussion forums, online chats, webinars, and games. Students will also meet online in small groups to exchange opinions and perceptions towards global issues with other participants in Iraq and the U.S. Since DYLEP is an online program, it does not involve any travel. Students can participate from anywhere and structure the work around their own schedules.
Visit https://dylep.org/apply/ to apply!
Youth For Understanding
Are you a U.S. high school student or recent graduate and want to experience another part of the world? Check out our friends at Youth For Understanding USA’s amazing study abroad opportunities! As a YFU Youth Program participant, you’ll become a part of a host family, appreciate the nuances of a foreign language, and test your confidence in new situations. Youth for Understanding offers High School, Gap Year and Adult Study Tours in over 60 countries around the world. To learn more, visit www.yfuusa.org or contact local field director Zach Knoch at 630.297.5948 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Before WorldChicago I wanted to be a lawyer. And after WorldChicago, I want to be an ambassador.”
— Cortez Alexander, Chicago youth leader
WorldChicago is proud to work with local K-12 schools to bring global perspectives into Chicago classrooms. 2014 school partners included:
● George Westinghouse College Prep
● Kelly High School
● Lindblom Math & Science Academy
● Morgan Park Academy
● Rudy Lozano Leadership Academy
● Walter Payton College Prep
● Westmont Junior High School