Study of the United States Institute for Student Leaders (SUSI) 2024 on Entrepreneurship and Economic Development

The Study of the United States Institute (SUSI) for Student Leaders is an intensive short-term academic program that provides undergraduate student leaders interested in Entrepreneurship and Economic Development with a deeper understanding of the United States while simultaneously enhancing their leadership skills.  The Institute will host 20 participants from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Uruguay. The five-week program will be conducted in English and will take place at the Institute for Training and Development (ITD) in Amherst, Massachusetts from January 13 to February 17, 2024. Should health, safety, and travel conditions pose significant challenges, the program will pivot to a modified virtual format.

Deadline to submit applications: Wednesday, October 4, 2023 (midnight)

Important note: Employees or immediate family members of employees of the U.S. Government and Fulbright Commissions are ineligible for the program.

The Institute consists of a five-week academic residency with a balanced series of seminar discussions, readings, group presentations, and lectures.  Site visits, leadership development, cultural activities, and community service complement the coursework and academic sessions. If conditions allow, the Institute will include a one-week integrated study tour in the United States. Note that if the program must take place virtually, participants will engage in similar activities but online from their home countries.

The SUSI on Entrepreneurship and Economic Development will provide participants with an overview of principles of entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship by reviewing the development, history, challenges, and successes of U.S. enterprises, business leadership and women’s economic empowerment, in the United States and globally. Topics may include, but are not limited to, social capital strategies for sustainable economic development, financial literacy, banking, microfinance, organizational development and management, innovation, emerging markets and risk analysis, strategic business planning, corporate social responsibility, and minorities in entrepreneurship. Specific program elements will include visits to community development organizations, economic development centers, a local makerspace, or a courthouse. Sessions cover debate techniques, the business model canvas, and art activism. The program includes travel to Boston and New York City and a study tour to Tucson, Arizona. Community service might include engagement at a food pantry.

The Institute will conclude with a closing forum where participants will have the opportunity to meet with other peers from Bolivia, Ecuador, Paraguay, and Peru who will be participating in another Institute. Participants will come together to network, discuss their action plans, and engage in conversations on relevant topics with U.S. Department of State officials.

Participants are expected to be highly motivated first through third year undergraduate students from colleges, universities, and other institutions of higher education, who demonstrate leadership through academic work, community involvement, and extracurricular activities. Fields of study may include the sciences, social sciences, humanities, education, business, and other professional fields. Emphasis will be made on recruiting participants with little or no international experience.

Candidates nominated for this program will:

  • demonstrate English language proficiency (B2/FCE level or above – certificate not required)
  • be a student at a Uruguayan higher education institution: public or private university, IPA, CERP, IFD, Magisterio, etc.
  • demonstrate interest in the topic of Entrepreneurship and Economic Development
  • be between 18 and 25 years of age
  • have at least one semester left of their undergraduate studies, and be committed to returning to their home universities following completion of the program
  • demonstrate strong leadership qualities and potential in their university and community activities
  • indicate a serious interest in learning about the United States
  • have a sustained high level of academic achievement, as indicated by grades, awards, and teacher recommendations
  • demonstrate commitment to community service and extracurricular university activities
  • have little or no prior study or travel experience in the United States or elsewhere outside of their home country
  • be mature, responsible, independent, confident, open-minded, tolerant, thoughtful, and inquisitive
  • be willing and able to fully participate in an intensive academic program, community service, and educational travel
  • be comfortable with campus life, prepared to share living accommodations, and able to adjust to cultural and social practices different from those of their home country


Program Funding
The Department of State (DOS) will cover ALL participant costs, including program administration; international and visa travel, travel allowances, domestic travel, and ground transportation; book, cultural, mailing, and incidental allowances; and housing and subsistence as well as arrange and pay for participants’ international and visa travel costs and travel allowances within set limits and in coordination with U.S. Embassy Montevideo. If the program is conducted virtually, ITD will provide a technology stipend to all participants.

Program Requirements and Restrictions
This is an intensive and rigorous academic Institute. Participants are expected to fully participate in all aspects of the program, and must attend all lectures, participate in all required organized activities, and complete all assignments. Family members and/or friends may not accompany or join participants for any part of the program.

English Language Ability
English Language knowledge and/or proficiency are required to participate in this program. All candidates must be proficient in English so that they can actively participate in the academic program. Candidate interviews will be conducted in English.

Housing and Meal Arrangements
Housing will be in shared or single university dorms on campus or full-service hotels within walking distance of most classroom activities. Male and female participants will be housed in separate quarters. In addition to regular group meals and a university meal plan, participants may have access to a kitchen to cook some meals on their own.

Special Accommodations
Care will be taken to ensure that any special requirements regarding diet, daily worship, housing, and medical care are satisfied. Special accommodations will be made available to the greatest extent possible. Should a participant need to quarantine due to health and safety concerns, accommodations will follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and host institution guidelines.

Health Benefits
All participants will receive the Department of State’s Accident and Sickness Program for Exchanges (ASPE) health benefit during the U.S.-based in-person component, which provides coverage of up to $100,000 with a $25 co-pay per medical visit and a $75 co-pay per emergency room visit, for the duration of the program. Pre-existing conditions may be covered up to $100,000, subject to policy exclusions and limitations. Information on the health benefit program may be found online at

Travel Policy
Participants are not allowed to arrive in the United States prior to the start date of the SUSI or remain in the United States after the end date. Similarly, participants will not be permitted to leave the SUSI to visit relatives or friends while in the United States. If a relative or friend wishes to visit a participant, it will be considered on a case-by-case basis in consultation with the ECA program officer and the host institution. Participants are required to return to their home countries immediately following the end of the Institute.

Grounds for Program Dismissal
Violations of program rules, host institution rules, or local, state, or federal laws can be grounds for immediate dismissal from the program.

Virtual Program Contingency
Should health, safety, and travel conditions pose significant challenges to the program, the SUSIs will pivot to a virtual format. The virtual program will consist of a minimum of 36 hours of required programming and will be a combination of synchronous and asynchronous learning. To the extent possible, the virtual programming will include lectures, small group discussions, videos, readings, panels, site visits, assignments, and individual and group activities. Participants will be required to fully participate in the entire virtual program from their location.

Should the program need to pivot to a virtual format, participants would need access to a computer and a stable internet connection.  If a participant does not have access to these two items, ITD will work with the participant and post to facilitate access. Participants would be expected to actively engage in all program activities, and therefore, they should immediately notify ITD and post of any issues with their online access during the duration of the program as well as any difficulties affecting their participation.