Funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, and administered by American Councils for International Education, FLEX is a merit-based scholarship program that provides Eurasian students, ages 15—17, an opportunity to spend one academic year living in host families and studying in U.S. high schools. The FLEX program aims to build bridges of friendship and mutual understanding among U.S. citizens and the countries of the former Soviet Union (Eurasia). The A-SMYLE program grants students from Serbia and Montenegro an opportunity to explore youth leadership, civic responsibility, community activism, democracy, and American society, while also living in the U.S. for one academic year. A-SMYLE participants educate Americans about their home countries, helping create stronger linkages between the U.S., Serbia, and Montenegro. In Moldova, students are required to take entry and exit language exams such as the SLEP and Pre-TOEFL tests to assess their English skills and progress.
On July 6, 2012, the group of finalists arrived at the EFL summer camp, welcomed by the friendly American Councils Moldova staff. Throughout the camp, the students worked diligently to improve their SLEP scores by participating in an extensive series of classes that were strategically designed by a group of experienced educators and American Language Center teachers from Chisinau. Classes in writing, grammar, and conversation helped the students to improve their English proficiency. To supplement their academic training, the students were given a view of what life is like in America, and engaged in many extracurricular activities such as Art and Drama Club, Tour of Chisinau, Bowling, Orhei Trip, Art Labyrinth, and American-style Picnics.
“Since 2005, American Councils Moldova has run the EFL summer camp. The first of its kind at the time, the EFL course was designed to meet the needs of special FLEX finalists. The course has proved successful throughout the years, made evident by improvements in participants’ test scores. American Councils Moldova staff work with their partners annually to enhance the EFL course, revise current curricula, and to invite more Eurasian students who have visual, hearing, and mobility impairments to become FLEX and A-SMYLE finalists, so that they may participate in the dynamic EFL summer camp,” said Daniela Munca-Aftenev, Legislative Fellows Program and Open World Coordinator.
“It was my first year with EFL. I did not know what to expect from this experience. However, students surpassed all my expectations. They were so sociable, friendly and hardworking. I could feel the team spirit and the commitment to group work,” expressed Nicolete Dvornicov, FLEX alumna and EFL logistic assistant who was hired by American Councils’ Moldova office to contribute to the camp’s success. “Each of them had something special, something unique. I believe the year in America will be a life-changing experience. I miss them already.”
"EFL is a wonderful experience not only for its participants, but for the program staff as well. When you see how the students grow, how independent and confident they become, and moreover, when you see how close to each other they become by the end of the program, you understand that the friendships they build here in Moldova will last much longer than this short month, and it makes you simply happy," said Alexandr Hriptun, FLEX Alumni Coordinator in Moldova.
On August 6, the cohort of global ambassadors set off for the U.S. with their newly acquired skills, leaving behind a sincere thank you to the American Councils Moldova staff.
You can view the FLEX EFL summer camp video and learn more about American Councils Moldova by clicking here.