Frequently Asked Questions

Application Process

Who is eligible to apply for the 2018 Global Youth Ambassadors Leadership Summit?

  • The summit is open to girls, ages 14-16 (at the time of the summit)
  • Applicants from Chicago and its 28 international sister cities are invited to apply for the program; applicants must reside and attend school in Chicago or one of its 28 sister cities (listed earlier)
  • Applicants must have a good command of the English language (no interpretation services will be provided)
  • Applicants should have an interest in international relations, leadership, advocacy, activism or gender studies
  • Applicants must be willing to participate in an online exchange with fellow awardees before and after the summit

But I live just outside an eligible city. Am I still eligible?

No, unfortunately you are not eligible. Applicants must reside and attend school within the borders of Chicago or one of its 28 sister cities.

I live in an eligible city, but go to school just outside of it. Am I still eligible?

No, unfortunately you are not eligible. Applicants must reside and attend school within the borders of Chicago or one of its 28 sister cities.

How long should my essay responses be?

Answer each question in 300 words or less. Though these are short essays, your answers should be thoughtfully communicated.

Can I participate in the Global Youth Ambassadors Leadership Summit more than once?

No, if you are a past Ambassador, you are not eligible to apply again.

I applied in previous years and was not accepted to the Summit. Can I apply again?

We encourage students who have continued to grow as leaders over the past year to reapply, as long as you still meet the eligibility requirements.

Who should I ask for a letter of recommendation?

Your letter of recommendation may be from a teacher, a guidance counselor, school principal or head, academic advisor, program leader, or mentor. Letters of recommendation from parents, siblings, family friends, or paid private tutors/counselors are not acceptable.

Can I submit more than one letter of recommendation?

No, please submit only one letter of recommendation.

Can I submit other additional materials to strengthen my application?

No. Due to the large volume of applications we receive, we cannot process additional application materials.

Is admission competitive?

Admission to the summit is selective; for 2017, 10% of applicants were selected.

Is there a wait list?

Yes, and if you are placed on the wait list, you will be notified of that fact when admissions decisions are released. We realize that this is a difficult position to be in, and will inform you as soon as possible if and when a participant decides not to attend the program.



Do I need a chaperone?

In some cases, international chaperones will be required to travel with a chaperone. This is mainly required for participants who have a connecting flight to Chicago. Once accepted to the Summit, we will work with awardees to determine if a chaperone is required.

Chicago students do not need a chaperone. There will be a Summit coordinator and University of Illinois at Chicago graduate students on site and in each apartment that will supervise participants.

Who qualifies to be a chaperone?

A chaperone must be a female over the age of 21. We prefer chaperones to be a teacher or in the field of education. The chaperone cannot be an immediate family member.


What are my responsibilities as a chaperone?

International chaperones will travel with the participants, will supervise them on the plane and assist them as they go through immigration and customs. They will also be responsible for administering medication for the participant they are chaperoning.

Chaperones will be responsible for assisting with the supervision of participant behavior and group activities, encouraging participants to actively participate in all activities throughout the summit.

Chaperones will also accompany the participants at all locations outlined in the summit agenda and help to facilitate conversation or project work.

Will chaperones have any free time during the Summit?

Limited breaks for chaperones will be given as the summit schedule allows. Our goal is to provide a two hour break each day for chaperones. During their break, chaperones will be responsible for their own transportation, meals and spending money.

Why do chaperones have to submit to a background check?

Because you will be staying with minors during your time in the U.S., Chicago Sister Cities International requires a background check. Per the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Protection of Minors policy any adult who is responsible for the supervision or care of children, or whose duties would require close contact and/or alone time with minors, must undergo a criminal background check and sex offender registry check in accordance with campus procedures. All staff of the University of Illinois at Chicago and Chicago Sister Cities International involved in the Summit will also submit to background checks.

Do I need to bring money on the trip?

Chicago Sister Cities International pays for the airfare, lodging (suite-style dorms at the University of Illinois at Chicago with the participants) and meals during official Summit activities. If on break, chaperones are responsible for transportation and meals. Chaperones are responsible for their own spending money.

Travel Information

I have been accepted into the 2018 Summit? What do I do now?

Congratulations! When you receive an acceptance notification, you will be asked to confirm your participation and to complete a packet of information including code of conduct and health information forms.

If you are an international student, we will work with you to determine if you need a chaperone and will ask you to verify if you need a travel visa or authorization through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) to travel to the United States. Do not make any travel arrangements on your own.

What is the difference between a Visa and an ESTA?

If you hold a passport from a country in the Visa Waiver Program, you do not need a visa to attend the Summit, however you must have authorization through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization ESTA prior to boarding your plane.  Visit the ESTA webpage (link is external) on the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website for more information. For the list of countries in the Visa Waiver Program visit:

For those who require a visa, students typically come on a B-1 Business Visitor visa for educational travel (a student visa is not required because the program is not credit-granting). It is the student’s responsibility to set up the appointment with the U.S. embassy or the nearest U.S. consulate to obtain the necessary visas and meet the requirements for entry into the U.S., which you can review here:

Chicago Sister Cities International will provide students with a letter for visa purposes, confirming students’ program acceptance and dates. We will send these letters to students who require them.

If you need financial assistance with the travel visa appointment fees, please contact the CSCI office.

Will someone be there to pick me up from the airport?

Yes. A representative will be there to transport you from the airport to the dorms.

Do I need to bring money on this trip?

The Summit, including all meals, is completely covered by Chicago Sister Cities International. Although there won’t be much free time to shop, you may want to have some spending money.

Do I need health insurance to participate?

Health insurance and travel insurance for international participants is included for the duration of the Summit.


During the Summit

I have a food allergy/preference. Will there be accommodations for this?

Yes. The majority of meals will be offsite, and we will make every attempt possible to cater to personal dietary needs due to allergy or religious observance, and will also offer vegetarian/vegan options.