For the first time in 27 years, youth from Montana are able to apply to the academically enriching Project Bridge program. Prospective Youth Ambassadors who are Montana residents enrolled as juniors in a Missoula, Montana area public, private or homeschool high school are invited to apply for Project Bridge, an intercultural youth leadership and intercultural awareness program that advances the ability of its participants to understand and respect other cultures. Originally created in response to the 1992 Los Angeles riots, the goal of the Program is to “bridge” the gap among cultures through cultural awareness and leadership training. It aims to cultivate future community leaders and introduce them to U.S.-Korea relations, with an emphasis on cultural and racial sensitivity and a firm understanding of Korea.
Project Bridge is expanding its outreach, from the Los Angeles-based Pacific Century Institute and the Korea Society located in New York, to rural and tribal youth though partnering with the Mansfield Center at the University of Montana. This will be the Mansfield Center’s first academic youth exchange with Korea, adding to our strong youth international exchange programs with Japan, China, Thailand, and Cambodia.
Through a very competitive process, Project Bridge will admit 20 student Youth Ambassadors for its 2019-2020 cohort. Only four Youth Ambassadors will be selected from the Missoula, Montana area. They will join a cohort of eight Los Angeles and eight New York Youth Ambassadors and three group leaders on a yearlong academic program, the highlight of which is a ten-day all-expense paid study tour of the Republic of Korea in April 2020 (twelve-days including travel).
The Program offers many exciting opportunities for its Youth Ambassadors to build leadership skills and intercultural competence, improve their public speaking ability and grow their personal and professional networks. Students engage in bi-monthly educational workshops on topics such as Korean history, language, modern society, and U.S.-Korea relations, as well race relations in the U.S., which are led by topic experts. A key element of the Program is a collaborative research project with their Los Angeles and New York counterparts. Notably, the capstone event is an all-expenses paid ten-day study tour in April 2020 to the Republic of Korea. In the past, Youth Ambassadors have visited Korean high schools, universities, government ministries, businesses, museums and have experienced a home stay with a Korean high school student, as well as an overnight Buddhist temple stay. Throughout the program, students meet with diplomats, government officials and business leaders. Following the tour, students conduct a community presentation, sharing insights gained.
We encourage eligible Missoula area high school juniors to apply for this unique program! The deadline to apply for the 2019-2020 cohort is October 25, 2019.
Activities during the year-long program include:
- Seminars covering Korean history, language and culture
- Bi-weekly workshops on multicultural youth leadership issues and relations
- Field trips
- Community Service
- 10-day educational study tour of Korea – 12 days total: 10 day study tour & 2 travel days - you will miss 8 school days