YES Alumni lead the 10th anniversary with worldwide events throughout the year. read more >
YES Alumni lead the 10th anniversary with worldwide events throughout the year. read more >
If you are a secondary school student in Mali interested in applying for the YES Program, please click here for more information.
Age Range: 15-18 years of age at program commencement.
Grade Level: Gap year is not an option; cannot be a high shcool graduate at program commencement.
Host Communities: Students are typically hosted in greater Bamako.
Language: The language of instruction is French. Host families speak French and Bambara.
Study in BAMAKO, MALI with YES Abroad
Landlocked in West Africa, Mali offers a beautiful landscape ranging from plains, plateaus and cliffs in the south and desert in the north. The climate supports a rich biodiversity of fauna and flora, including lions, gazelles antelopes, migratory birds, baobabs, palm trees, karitea. There are two main seasons: the dry season and the rainy season. Mali is also the historic home of many great empires, including the Ghana Empire, the Manden Empire, and the Songhoi. Empire.
Bamako, the city where the students will be residing during their YES Abroad experience, is the capital of Mali and home to roughly 2 million people. Divided in two by the meandering Niger River, sunny Bamako has been historically and remains an important regional commerce site. The vibrant city is full of music, color, motorbikes and people trading goods and visiting with one another. Bamako’s main attractions include the National Library of Mali, the Bamako Regional Museum, the Muso Kunda Museum, Bamako Grand Mosque, the Bamako Botanical Gradens the Point G Hill and the Maison des Artisans craft market.
Your Host Family
During your stay in Bamako, you will live with a host family, where you will form personal relationships with Malians and participate in Malian family life. iEARN staff will carefully screen your host families. Your host family will speak French and Bambara. In some cases, host families will speak an additional language, such as Peul. The majority of Malians, 90 percent, are Muslim, so it is highly likely you will be living with a Muslim family. Many host families have sent their children to the US as part of the YES program or welcomed a previous American student into their homes. As a result, the families are hospitable and aware of the intricacies of host family life. iEARN also makes sure host family residences are in a safe and that students have access to transportation. iEARN makes regular student and host family check-ins to ensure that all parties are comfortable with the living situation.
Your High School
Students will take courses at Malian private high schools, where the primary language of instruction will be French. Classes generally begin in the morning and run from 8-12. Following a 2 hour break, they resume from 2-5:30. For many schools, Thursday afternoon is free. The academic year is broken into trimesters, and students will be able to choose from a selection of humanities, science and math course tracks.
You will have the opportunity to participate in a number of enrichment opportunities during your semester in Mali. Examples from previous years include:
• Language classes (in French and Bambara)
• A cultural program introducing students to Malian family relationships, food, clothing, schools, transportation, social activities, community service, etc.
• Meetings with the Public Affairs Office at the US Embassy
• Day trips to approved locations outside of Bamako
• Community service activities
Health & Safety
iEARN’s local connections enhance our ability to support students who encounter health, safety, and security issues while they study in Mali. YES Abroad Students in Mali are covered by medical insurance and also by political and security evacuation insurance. Students can access our staff 24 hours per day using an emergency number. Our staff members are thoroughly trained to deal with incidents ranging from lost or stolen goods to health problems.
Basic Eligibility Requirements:
A limited number of applicants who are high school graduates at the start of the program will be considered for placement in the following countries: Ghana, Indonesia, Malaysia, Morocco, South Africa, Oman, Thailand and Turkey
For the following countries, prior French skills are required: Mali, Morocco, Tunisia
Additional Eligibility Information:
The Youth Programs Division of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) seeks to make youth exchange programs funded by ECA available to a wide and diverse American audience. Also, ECA wants to prevent conflict of interest issues from arising with regard to Department employees who are involved in particular scholarships and exchange programs. Therefore, in addition to the specific requirements for each program, an applicant for ECA-funded youth exchange programs must meet the following eligibility criteria:
The Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study Program does not currently offer scholarships to Mali until further notice.
Studying abroad in high school can benefit your child in a multitude of ways. The decision to allow your child to participate can be difficult. There are numerous factors to consider when deciding whether or not YES Abroad is the right choice for your child. We compiled the information below to help answer some of the questions you may have. For further information, e-mail the YES Abroad Advisor or call us at (800) 237-4636 x2151.
Who will support my child while abroad?
YES Abroad participants are supported in the host country by established and reputable organizations that have competitively been awarded grants by the U.S. State Department to implement the program. While organizational structures vary, field staff and/or trained volunteers in the host country and here in the U.S. support participants, host families, and natural parents. While on the program, your child will have regular contact with a trained coordinator in their community who will provide support, assistance, and guidance, and will be in regular contact with a staff member here in the United States. All YES Abroad students are provided a local cell phone for emergency use after arrival in-country.
As a parent, how can I help promote the well-being of my child?
One of the ways you can help YES Abroad plan for your child’s successful participation in the program is by providing all relevant information regarding your child’s personal health and family history in the forms provided in the application. This information will not be evaluated as part of the selection process, but is considered in making country and host family assignments. Relevant information includes, but is not limited to, a diagnosis of or treatment for an illness, a physical disability, a learning disability, a behavioral or emotional disorder, a dietary restriction, or drastic changes in weight. Recent traumatic experiences or significant changes in the student’s natural family, including serious illness, death, divorce, incarceration, or custodial changes, can also influence a student’s participation. Living and studying abroad can be a stressful and challenging experience for people of any age. These stresses can be compounded by any existing physical or mental health issues or concerns at home that arise prior to the start of the program. In order to help YES Abroad staff make appropriate decisions about your child’s experience, please inform us of relevant situations as quickly as possible throughout the application process and program.
What is the involvement of the U.S. Department of State and embassies abroad?
YES Abroad is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Communities where YES Abroad students will be hosted are selected in cooperation with the U.S. Embassies and Consulates in the host countries. The Department of State and implementing organizations continuously monitor current events in each of the YES Abroad countries. All YES Abroad students are registered with the Office of Citizen Services at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the host country. Students will only be placed in countries that have been approved by the U.S. Department of State.
Where will my child be living?
All YES Abroad students live with host families who have been carefully screened and selected. Host families receive formal orientation and training to introduce them to cultural differences and to prepare them for the hosting experience. These families may or may not speak English. Local coordinators, who are proficient in English, provide support to participants and host families throughout the program. Students attend a school in their community alongside local peers.
What happens in the case of an emergency?
YES Abroad implementing organizations are prepared to respond to emergencies in the host countries. Each organization provides 24-hour assistance in the event of an emergency and facilitates appropriate medical treatment, including evacuation, if necessary. YES Abroad consults with the U.S. Department of State and external risk management organizations to monitor the safety of U.S. citizens in the host countries.
Will my child have medical coverage while abroad?
YES Abroad participants are provided with secondary medical coverage to ensure that, in the case of an emergency, students will be treated as soon as possible in the host country.
What costs are covered?
The YES Abroad scholarship covers costs related to: room and board for the In-Person Selection Event (for semi-finalists); round-trip airfare, room and board for the Pre-Departure Orientation (for finalists); round-trip airfare between the participant’s home region and community abroad (for finalists); in-country support; cultural activities; school tuition (where applicable); room and board with a host family; secondary medical benefits; and visa fees.
What costs are not covered by the scholarship?
Some costs that you can expect to incur from your child’s participation in the program include: costs associated with obtaining a U.S. passport; required medical examinations and immunizations; and extra pocket money while on program.
How will YES Abroad help my child prepare to go abroad?
YES Abroad provides a wide variety of support mechanisms for students preparing to go abroad. Preparation for the YES Abroad experience begins shortly after the finalists are selected, with activities that may include online resources, handbooks, conference calls, opportunities to speak with YES Abroad and YES alumni, and local events with other exchange students. Participants are also encouraged to be proactive in engaging in their own research on the host country and its culture. Prior to departure, students attend a national orientation in Washington, D.C. that addresses how to stay healthy and safe while living in the host country.