Justice For Exchange Students

Justice For Exchange Students

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Flex Finalists started this petition to U.S. Department of State

Dear all,
We are writing this letter on behalf of the 2020-2021 FLEX finalists, who are ineligible for any alternative, with the aim of presenting our concerns and demands regarding the cancellation of this year’s program as well as the alternatives proposed in response to it.

In the last email, we were informed that we would not be able to take part in the January 2021 semester program due to our age and/or grade. This has caused some confusion among us as most of us would age-wise still be eligible to start the program in January 2021.

Moreover, during discussions with FLEX finalists from the other countries, we discovered discrepancies between countries regarding the new rules, where the new eligibility criteria differ from country to country. Some finalists in certain countries are not allowed to participate despite the eligibility of their age and grade.

In the email you sent regarding the cancellation of the 2020 fall semester, we were informed that those of us selected to participate in the 2021 spring semester would be announced later, however, two months later, we are now told that no finalists from Azerbaijan can participate.

We were aware that the FLEX program would play a major role in our lives and we all arranged our plans around the 2020-2021 exchange year.

Most of us did not even apply for university knowing that we would be leaving for the USA in August. Those of us who applied for the university was planning to take gap months until January upon finding out about the cancellation of the fall semester (if we had to go in September, we would take an academic break for a year).

We are not trying to blame anyone for this circumstance as we are also aware of the worldwide uncertainty this year. But this last news genuinely shook us.

We think that it is not a fair decision and we expect better reasoning for an entire country being completely eliminated from the program especially when we know that some finalists from other countries get to participate.

We know that the FLEX program is always supportive of the students and we hope you will make a decision in our favor in this difficult situation too.

We kindly ask you to review this issue again and consider making necessary compromises and changes in the rules of the program for this year.

For those of us who cannot make it to the 2021 spring semester we propose the following options below:

• Transfer to other programs

• Visits/camps to/in the USA

• Obtainment of FLEX diploma as well as the status of FLEX alumnus

We hope that you understand the importance of this program for our future and that you make the decision with this in mind.

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