Competition for the 2020-2021 Global UGRAD Program opens

The U.S. Embassy in Minsk is pleased to announce the open competition for the 2020-2021 Global UGRAD Program. Global UGRAD provides Belarusian outstanding undergraduate students with one-semester scholarships for non-degree, full-time study in the United States. Students should be enrolled in the first two years of four-year Bachelor programs or the first three years of five-year Bachelor or Specialist programs at Belarusian universities.  Participants will be selected for academic excellence, leadership potential, and proficiency in written and spoken English. The program is sponsored by the U.S Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, and aims to recruit participants from underrepresented, non-elite backgrounds, who have not had other opportunities to study in the United States. Successful applicants can expect an in-depth exposure to U.S. society, culture, and academic institutions, as well as opportunities to enhance their professional skills.

Program Design:

All participants will be enrolled in full-time, non-degree, undergraduate course work chosen from their host institution’s existing curriculum. Participants will be required to take one, 3-credit U.S. studies course to enhance their understanding of the United States. Participants will live in campus housing facilities with American peers, and will be required to participate in twenty hours of community service. There will also be a virtual arrival orientation and an in-person end-of-program workshop.

Host institutions will offer instruction on topics including academic research and writing, critical thinking, time management, note-taking, and studying for and taking tests. Participants will live on-campus with U.S. peers or homestays with American families.

Participants cannot choose their host institution and will be placed at the most appropriate college or university based on their academic interests. Students who are not enrolled in preACADEMIC English may indicate a preference for a fall or spring semester, but final placement will be made by the organizers.

All academic fields of study are eligible.

*Per J-1 visa regulations, interested applicants in medicine, nursing, veterinary medicine, pharmacology or other clinical fields of study, should be aware that direct patient care, including animal care, is not permitted, and therefore academic coursework and/or program activities at participating U.S. institutions may be limited.

The program is fully sponsored by the U.S. government, and includes:

  • international travel from home city to U.S. host university,
  • tuition at U.S. universities and living expenses,
  • pre-departure orientation,
  • virtual arrival orientation,
  • in-person end-of-program workshop.

Eligibility criteria:

Candidates should be highly motivated and demonstrate leadership through academic work, community involvement, and extracurricular activities.  They must be currently enrolled in an undergraduate degree program in Belarus and have at least one semester to complete at their home institutions upon completion of the Global UGRAD Program.  The UGRAD program cannot be the final academic term of a student’s undergraduate study.

The Global UGRAD Program is merit-based and is open to anyone who fits the eligibility criteria:

  • a citizen of Belarus, who is currently residing and studying in Belarus ;
  • at least 18 years of age at the start of the UGRAD Program in the United States;
  • enrolled as an undergraduate student in good standing at any university, public or private;
  • not enrolled in his/her final year of studies at the time of the program;
  • has a solid command of written and spoken English;
  • able to begin studies in the United States in the fall of 2020 or in January 2021;
  • eligible to receive and maintain U.S. student exchange visa (J-1) required for the program;
  • cleared by a physician to participate in the program;
  • have little or no prior experience in the U.S. or elsewhere outside of their home countries;
  • be committed to returning to his or her home country after the completion of the program.

The following individuals are not eligible for the Global UGRAD Program:

  • S. citizens and permanent residents of the United States;
  • Individuals currently studying, residing, or working outside of a participating country
  • Masters-level students;
  • Local employees of U.S. Embassies and Consulates; employees are also ineligible for one year following the termination of employment;
  • Immediate family members (i.e. spouses and children) of U.S. Department of State employees; family members are also ineligible for one year following the termination of employment;
  • Current World Learning employees and their immediate family members.

English language testing:

All nominated students must take the TOEFL test. Vouchers will be provided for nominated students to take the official TOEFL exam.

Application process:

The Global UGRAD Program application is available online from the the Global UGRAD website. Please read all instructions carefully before completing the application, and review all fields before making any submission online. The application can be saved and submitted at a later time. All forms in this application are to be completed in English.

Incomplete or incorrect applications will not be considered.

Deadline for Belarusian students to submit Global UGRAD 2019-2020 applications is December 31, 2019  5:00 pm EST.

A complete application package includes:

  • online application,
  • academic transcripts of university study (with English translations),
  • two letters of reference (with English translations),
  • copy of passport biographic information page

More information is available in the application instructions. If you have any questions about Global UGRAD recruitment, please contact Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy in Minsk at

Global UGRAD handout (PDF)