Eighteen secondary school students are currently undergoing a one-year academic programme in the United States under the Youth Exchange and Study (YES) programme.
The students, aged between 15 and 17 years, were selected from various schools in Kano, Kaduna, Katsina, Kebbi and Bauchi states.
They will spend their Senior Secondary School 2 (SSS) days in the US and return to Nigeria to complete their studies.
Established by US Congress in October 2002 in response to the September 11, 2001 attacks, the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) programme was funded through the US Department of State and sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA).
The YES programme provides opportunity for Nigerian students from predominantly Muslim communities and those from historically disadvantaged backgrounds to enhance their understanding of American society.
The students would live with host communities, attend high school, engage in activities to learn about American society and values, acquire leadership skills, and help educate Americans about their countries and cultures.
More than 300 Nigerian students, out of the over 10,000 participants, have benefitted since the programme started in 2003.
At the pre-departure orientation in Abuja, the US Embassy’s Charge d’Affairs, Mr David Young, urged the students to help their American friends understand more about Nigeria and its culture through their interaction.
Miss Salima Umar from Bauchi, a former beneficiary of the programme said it was an eye opener which gave her a boost in her career.
Mr Ibrahim Ezekiel, another beneficiary and a graduate of Ahmadu Bello University, said through the programme, he was able to work in partnership with another beneficiary to sink 20 boreholes in a community in Bauchi via a programme sponsored by the US.