My name is Jamie Santos Torres, I am 18 years old and I am Guatemalan, but at the moment I am in the United States due to my university studies. In 2022, through my school (Colegio Alemán de Guatemala), I learned that AFS was granting scholarships to girls aged 15 to 17.5 to attend the AFS Global STEM Accelerators, an online course that lasted 12 weeks and was also supported by the University of Pennsylvania. I completed the program, learned many things, started my own prototype to make an impact in my community by recycling used books from my classmates and neighbors, and donating them to public schools so that they could reuse them. Both the learning and the experience of this program encouraged me to further explore the world of change agents and helped me discover my true calling.

Last December, I received an email from AFS again, saying that they were granting scholarships to people who had been in an AFS program before to attend the Youth Assembly that will be in New York from August 14th to the 18th of this year. Without hesitation, as I had wanted to go since last year, I sent in my application. A few days ago, I received a letter confirming that I have been granted the scholarship and will attend as a delegate to the event, which has left me infinitely grateful. Representing Guatemala at an event where young people from more than 100 countries will attend to discuss the different problems and solutions of the world and all share the same passion for changing it and contributing to their community, is something I would never have imagined two years ago when I first heard of AFS.

All the opportunities that AFS has given me have not only helped me with my learning, but I have also grown as a person because of it. These experiences made a shy girl who wanted to make a change but didn’t have the courage and support to do so, become someone who eagerly awaits the next event to hear the ideas of others and contribute her own as well. Taking this dream to an international level means a lot to me, not only personally, but I am also glad to know that Guatemala will be represented, which is a great pride and requires a lot of responsibility. I thank you for all your help and I promise that I will strive to ensure that our beautiful country is represented as it deserves.

AFS Global STEM Accelerators is an extraordinary, full scholarship program for girls who are active global citizens and energized to help solve some of today’s biggest global challenges. Applications are open until March 14, 2024. Find out more.
The AFS Youth Assembly is a global platform that cultivates an international network of young leaders and changemakers through exchange, education, action and impact. Apply now.