The AFS Global STEM Academies combine digital and in-person learning, gathering youth from more than 14 countries worldwide, in which scholars enrich their sustainability knowledge and STEM skills through interactive, hands-on curriculum, while developing critical global competencies, including problem-solving, analytical skills, intercultural understanding, and social innovation. 

The Academies begin with a 12-week virtual e-learning curriculum (from home), engaging in global competence skills, social impact, and sustainability-focused workshops, with content co-developed by AFS and the University of Pennsylvania Center for Social Impact Strategy. The virtual portion of the program culminates with student-led social impact projects and presentations that offer potential solutions to real-world challenges, with an emphasis on sustainability and the UN Sustainable Development Goals, including the topics of climate change and the energy transition. 

After completing the virtual curriculum, Academy scholars travel on a 4-week immersive experience to one of the five Academy destinations: Brazil, China, India, the USA, or Belgium & the United Kingdom. Academy programming focuses on critical STEM skills and intercultural understanding for global sustainability, as well as local cultural immersion. Scholars participate in community service and have the opportunity to visit local innovative, sustainability focused operations to see first-hand how companies and organizations are using STEM skills in practice to address industry and societal challenges, particularly around sustainability.

Program scholars earn the Advanced Certificate on Global Competence for Social Impact, awarded by AFS and the University of Pennsylvania Center for Social Impact Strategy.

Applications are due January 15, 2024.


See highlights from previous Academies, below:



Who can apply?

The program is available only via scholarship award. Applicants to the 2022 Global STEM Academies must meet all of the following criteria:

Nationality/Citizenship or Country of Legal Residence*

  • Azerbaijan
  • Belgium
  • Brazil
  • China
  • Egypt
  • Germany
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Mexico
  • Oman
  • South Africa
  • Trinidad & Tobago
  • United Kingdom
  • USA


Age: 15-17.5 years (Birth dates: Sept 1, 2006 – Apr 1, 2009)




Ability to participate fully, both online and in a classroom setting, in a program conducted entirely in English.

Interests & Diversity

  • Interest in STEM, sustainability, and global competencies
  • Curiosity and willingness to interact with diverse global peers and explore new cultures


Talented young people from all backgrounds who reflect the diversity of populations around the world, particularly young women, underrepresented populations, and students with high financial need, are strongly encouraged to apply!

Ability to Travel

Ability and willingness to travel abroad, unaccompanied, to each of the five Academy destinations: Brazil, China, India, USA, Belgium & the United Kingdom. Although applicants can rank their destination preference, AFS will select all scholarship winners’ destinations.


  • A computer, smartphone or other digital device to access the virtual program content*
  • An integrated webcam and microphone for participation in online dialogue sessions*
  • Stable internet or wifi connection*

*If hardware or internet accessibility is an issue, AFS may be able to help.

What’s included in your experience?

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  • Orientations during your time abroad
  • Cultural Tours
  • Field Trips
  • Worldwide Presence
  • 70 Years Experience
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  • Housing
  • Meals
  • Airfare
  • Airport Pick-up
  • Domestic Transport
  • Host Family Placement
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  • Medical Insurance
  • 24/7 Emergency Support
  • Continuous Support
  • Assistance with Application Process
  • Visa Application Assistance

Where will you go?

All Academy scholars start with a 12-week interactive online curriculum (from home), engaging in content on global competence skills, social impact, and sustainability. The virtual portion of the program culminates with student-led social impact projects and presentations that offer potential solutions to real-world challenges, with an emphasis on climate change and the energy transition. After completion of the online curriculum, scholars then travel on a 4-week study abroad experience in one of the following destinations. Please note that travel eligibility and exact program dates are subject to change based on international travel restrictions and/or visa requirements due to the COVID-19 pandemic:


9 July – 6 August, 2022

Explore innovations in renewable energy in the coastal city of Natal and bustling São Paulo, Brazil. In Natal, on Brazil’s northeast Atlantic coast, scholars will meet with professors and learn about their research at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte, while taking field trips to the International Institute of Physics, the Brain Institute, and the Digital Metropolis Institute. In São Paulo, Brazil’s vibrant financial center, learn about the importance of biofuels and alternative energy production, and meet with STEM professionals and mentors. This immersive Academy includes a homestay weekend with a Brazilian family (depending on Covid-19 protocol at the time of hosting) and activities with Brazilian high schoolers, as well as Portuguese language classes and workshops to build intercultural leadership and global citizenship skills. 



25 July – 22 August, 2022

This dual-location Academy will merge sustainability, state-of-the-art technology, energy, history, and culture across Belgium and the United Kingdom. Scholars will be hosted primarily in Belgium, renowned for its medieval and Renaissance history and the headquarters of the European Union. Hands-on exploration of Belgium will include a site visit to Antwerp harbor, the largest production port in Europe, and immersive activities at youth camps focused on science and technology. This multilingual country will introduce scholars to some useful Dutch, French, and German phrases along the way! During the Academy, scholars will embark on a field trip to the United Kingdom, one of the world’s most influential centers of finance and culture. Learn how the City of London is accelerating the electrification of transport, experience the buzz of a financial trading floor at Canary Wharf, and explore the world-renowned Science Museum. Scholars will also travel to South Wales for a hands-on experience at Lightsource bp, a global leader in the development and management of solar energy projects.



7 July – 31 July, 2022

Get ready for a summer of hands-on discovery in the diverse, cosmopolitan city of Houston, Texas, USA, the “Energy Capital of the World.” Explore innovative digital technologies that help power global cities, including supercomputing, cybersecurity, and wind turbines. Visit world-renowned sites such as NASA’s Johnson Space Center and the Texas Medical Center (the largest medical center in the world), and participate in a community service project to help protect the wetlands and coastal habitats of Galveston Bay. Learn about Houston’s Climate Action Plan and the city’s shift towards climate-resilient, sustainable development. Experience Greentown Labs, an energy hub supporting climate-tech startups and leading the way in renewable energy and decarbonization. Scholars will be hosted at the University of Houston, and experience American culture through interaction with local high-school students and Houston’s cultural events such as Theatre Under the Stars.

Applications for the 2024 Academies are now open.


Frequently Asked Questions

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Frequently Asked Questions

All Global STEM Academies consist of two parts: first, a 12-week virtual exchange curriculum (online, from home), followed by a 4-week travel program abroad. 

The 12-week virtual curriculum. For approximately 3-4 hours each week, scholars will participate in a series of online workshops, activities, e-learning, and dialogue sessions with global peers, all while developing a sustainable social impact project. 

Then, scholars will travel for four weeks to one of the five Academy destinations at the following dates:

💫 Brazil: June 15 – July 12, 2024
💫 USA: July 2 – July 27, 2024
💫 Egypt: July 18 – August 16, 2024
💫 China: July 6 – August 2, 2024

Please be sure to keep these dates in mind when indicating your preferences on the application. Candidates must be able to participate in the full program (both virtual and travel) components.