Sixty (60) Access English Microscholarship Program students gathered in Santa Fe on September 30, 2017 for a series of TEDTalk-style presentations by four of U.S. exchange program’s alumni aimed at motivating increased participation by the students in additional cultural exchange with the United States. The program alumni noted the profound impact their programs had on their personal and professional development. In addition, Junior Chamber International – Argentina (JCI-Argentina), a non-profit youth leadership organization, hosted a leadership workshop for the students.
All the students in attendance were encouraged to serve their communities through community service projects. The presenters highlighted the value of studying and practicing the English language as a tool in their personal and professional advancement. Many also remarked that they felt motivated to take part in U.S. scholarship opportunities and other academic exchange programs. All are in high school, and attend English clases at ALICANA (Asociación del Litoral para el Intercambio Cultural Argentino Norteamericano en Santa Fe) and APICANA, (Asociación Paranense para el Intercambio Cultural Argentino Norteamericano en Paraná). ALICANA and APICANA are two of the ten Binational Centers where the English Access Microscholarship Program is implemented in Argentina. Since 2009, approximately 2,000 Access scholarships have been granted by Binational Centers throughout Argentina. This year, 200 students completed Access-funded English courses during this academic year in 10 cities: Buenos Aires, Rosario, Salta, Mendoza, Santa Fe, San Francisco (Córdoba), San Rafael (Mendoza), Santiago del Estero, Córdoba, and Paraná.
The English Access Program was launched by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs – Office of English Language Programs in 2004. Since its inception, approximately 95,000 students in more than 85 countries have participated in the Access Program. Access provides a foundation of English language skills to talented high school students through after-school classes and intensive sessions for a period of two years. In addition, the program provides the students the opportunity to appreciate U.S. culture and values.