Exchange Program

Apply for the SOLAR Program!

The application is now closed

The application for the SOLAR Program is now closed. We have received more than 300 applications. We are very excited to start reviewing your applications. Thank you all for applying with so much thoughtfulness and effort and good luck with the next steps of the selection process!

We will contact semi-finalists at the end of March.

SOLAR will bring together American and Russian high-school students, ages 15-17, who are interested in STEM and who want to discover more about the other country’s culture. The program runs for six continuous weeks during the summer of 2020 in the United States and Russia.

Students selected for the program will jointly participate in space history and STEM-related activities at a number of historically important aerospace sites in the United States and Russia. The program will consist of space and engineering camps, interactive group activities, and site visits. The students will learn about the history of space exploration, and gain knowledge about Russian-American space cooperation. 

The Selection Process

Selection for the SOLAR Program is merit-based and open to anyone who meets all of the following requirements.

Application

Online Application

The first step of the application process is to complete the application form. Please do not forget to include: (1) recommendation letters and (2) a link to your online project.

Online Project

Online Project

All applicants are asked to develop a project: space-oriented presentation and a video essay.

Skype Interview

Skype Interview

If you are selected as a semi-finalist for the SOLAR Program, you will be interviewed by the selection committee.

  • A citizen of the United States*  
  • Be 15-17 years old on February, 23, 2020.
  • Has no prior extended experience in Russia**
  • Able to travel for 6 weeks during July-August of 2020
  • Able to provide parents’ or guardians’ consent document that permits international travel

* Applicants should hold a single citizenship only. Applicants with dual U.S.-Russian citizenship may not participate.

** Important note:

  • Applicants should not have stayed in Russia for three months or more during the past three years.
  • Applicants with relatives or family in Russia may not participate.

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  • A citizen of Russia*
  • Be 15-17 years old on February, 23, 2020.
  • Be fluent in English
  • Has no prior extended experience in the U.S.**
  • Able to travel for 6 weeks during July-August of 2020
  • Able to provide parents’ or guardians’ consent document that permits international travel

* Applicants should hold a single citizenship only. Applicants with dual citizenship may not participate.

** Important note:

  • Applicants should not have stayed in the U.S. for three months or more during the past three years.
  • Applicants with relatives or family in the U.S. may not participate.
  • Applicants whose family (or family member) has applied for immigration to the U.S. may not participate.  

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Participants will be selected based on their

  • interest in science, STEM activities and aerospace;
  • motivation, teamwork and leadership skills;
  • interest in study-abroad programs;
  • English language competency (for Russian students) and demonstrable interest in Russian language and culture (for American students).

An independent committee of experts from aerospace, education and international exchanges will select program candidates.

The selection of candidates will be conducted in two stages. 

Step 1. Participants will be asked to complete an application package. A program committee will review the applications and select semi-finalists. 

Step 2. Semi-finalists will have a Skype interview with the SOLAR project’s selection committee. There will be two parallel, but separate, selections, one for American candidates, and one for Russian candidates. 

The selections will be completed in the spring of 2020, and all applicants will be notified of their status by May.

February, 23, 2020: Application Deadline

March, 2020: Notification of the Semi-Finalists

April, 2020: On-line Interviews with Semi-Finalists

End of April — beginning of May: Notification of the Finalists

July-August, 2020: Participants Travel to the U.S. and Russia

SOLAR will cover the following:

  • air travel to and from participants’ home country as well as domestic travel in the U.S. and Russia;
  • accommodation in the U.S. and Russia;
  • medical insurance to cover the period of the program, except for pre-existing conditions and dental care;
  • visa fee;
  • per diem in the U.S. and Russia;
  • cost of any planned program activities in the U.S. and Russia.

SOLAR does not cover the following:

  • expenses related to obtaining an international passport and the parent’s consent document that permits international travel;
  • personal expenses exceeding per diem;
  • extra luggage;
  • phone and internet expenses.

Successful Candidates

The selected students will be required to obtain an international passport to travel and a notarized consent document from both parents/guardians that permits international travel.