Frequently Asked Questions
How do I apply to FLEX?
Who can participate?
FLEX is open to all students, with or without a disability, who meet established age, grade and citizenship requirements. To find out eligibility requirements for your country, contact the American Councils office nearest you by clicking here.
I have a disability - can I participate in FLEX?
Yes. Students with disabilities are welcome and encouraged to participate in FLEX. There are over 300 FLEX alumni who are blind, deaf, or have a physical disability (for example, cerebral palsy). Staff works to accommodate students with disabilities at testing and on the program. Special testing materials are available to accommodate the needs of students with disabilities. FLEX believes all eligible candidates should have the chance to apply to the program.
How much English do I need to participate?
FLEX is not a language program. Finalists are selected more because they have demonstrated an ability to adapt and thrive in a new environment, rather than for their language skills. Participants are tested in their knowledge of the English language because knowledge of spoken and written English will be necessary if students are to successfully participate in school and home life in the U.S. If an applicant has demonstrated characteristics that make him/her suitable to become a finalist, but that applicant’s level of English is not sufficient, s/he may be eligible to receive supplemental language instruction.
Is there a way I can prepare for FLEX testing? Are there courses to prepare for testing?
Successful FLEX candidates demonstrate the ability to adapt and thrive in a new environment. A candidate may prepare for the initial round by improving their English skills.
If I am is chosen as a finalist, can I choose the U.S. city, state or school where I will live?
No. Neither FLEX finalists nor their parents may choose where students are placed in the U.S. Students are placed in all 50 states, most typically in suburban areas and rural communities.
My family has friends/relatives in the U.S. Can I visit them while on program?
FLEX finalists are chosen because they have demonstrated that they are able to adapt and succeed in a completely new environment. Being in close contact with family and friends connected to home disrupts this process of adaptation. Travel to visit friends or relatives is rarely approved for this reason. Any travel within the U.S. must be approved by the student’s placement organization.
Can I stay in the U.S. after finishing FLEX and enroll in an American university?
No. Participants must return to their home country upon completion of the program in May or June, on their assigned date, as per requirements of the J-1 visa, under which FLEX participants travel on the exchange program. Any subsequent applications the student may make to travel to the U.S. will be decided by the U.S. consulate.
Is there a FLEX program that I can pay to participate in?
No. FLEX is a scholarship exchange opportunity funded by the U.S. Department of State. There is no fee component with FLEX. Other organizations offer study abroad opportunities for a fee.
I am training seriously in a certain sport or music. Is it possible for me to pursue this professionally in the U.S.?
No. While on FLEX, students are expected to get the most out of meeting new friends, being a member of their host family and doing well in their host U.S. school. The program is not constructed to further a talented student’s career. Many American schools offer sports and arts programs, and we encourage students to take part in available extracurricular activities at their school.