years-experience access-alumni-network airfare airport-pick-up assistance-with-application-process community-service-placement continuous-support cultural-trips domestic-transport emergency-support field-trips global-competence-certificate grade-transcripts host-family-placement housing individual-contact-person internship-placement language-instruction meals medical-insurance orientations-during-your-time-abroad other pre-departure-orientation product-materials re-entry-orientation school-dipolma school-materials school-placement school-transport school-uniform stipend teaching-materials vaccinations visa-and-passport-fees visa-application-assistance world-wide-presence

STEM experts play a critical role in an increasingly global society that is faced with myriad challenges, including climate change, water scarcity, increase in natural disasters and more. STEM education creates critical thinkers, increases science literacy – and enables the next generation of innovators to address these challenges head-on, identifying solutions that can shape, safeguard and improve our world.

Here are some of the projects you could get involved in:

Engineering/Architecture: Students would have an opportunity to explore engineering and architecture in the context of Chicago. This city is famous for innovative designs and leading-edge engineering concepts. William Le Baron Jenney built the first skyscraper and pioneered the first metal frame buildings. Students will end the first week by using engineering principals and creating their own skyscraper.

Science/Industry/Energy: Students would visit the Museum of Science & Industry and collaborate in a simulation called “Future Energy: Chicago” to help reimagine and reinvent Chicago’s energy future. Student teams would have the opportunity to think about how to maximize energy efficiency with trade-offs to various options: oil, natural gas, solar, wind and more.

Conservation/Environment: Meet with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and participate in a workshop about what’s being done to protect the world’s largest source of fresh water – the Great Lakes. Learn more about Lake Michigan and how fresh water is managed.

Science/Environment: Spend an afternoon at the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District and see how a single water reclamation plant cleans over 700 million gallons of waste water per day and then sends clear water back out into streams and rivers. The process incorporates physical and biological processes with a combination of air, gravity and microorganisms speeding up a
process that would take weeks in the natural environment – and making it happen in hours.

Engineering/Science/Technology: Spend a day at Argonne National Labs, a multidisciplinary science and engineering research center where talented professionals work to find solutions to some of the biggest questions facing humanity from how to obtain affordable clean energy to protecting ourselves and our environment.

Technology/Science/Medicine: Tour a state-of-the-art university hospital trauma center and see how teams of specialists can handle Level 1 emergencies. The students will also hear about next-generation clinical trials and groundbreaking new treatment options.


Weekday Mornings: Students will have classes on a variety of topics such as: Engineering, Biochemistry, Computer Science, Physics, etc.

Weekday Afternoons: Students with have a mix of workshops & activities in the local community, and excursions within the Chicago region. These workshops, activities and excursions serve to reinforce the concepts being studied and to further expose students to additional areas of STEM.

Evenings: AFS-USA provides regular intercultural learning small group discussions and workshops to ensure that students are also learning the soft skills – empathy, sensitivity and cultural understanding to equip them more fully to be globally competitive in their careers.

Weekends: Most weekends are spent in downtown Chicago exploring the city, the museums, the beaches, the shops and much more.

Unscheduled/Personal Time: The program provides personal time in which students can play sports, engage in music and dance, check their social media, and more!

Having fun is, of course, a precept throughout the programme!

Eligibility Requirements

Language requirements: English
Age requirements: You must be at least 15 but not older than 18 upon arrival in Chicago

What's included in your experience

  • Airfare
  • Airport Pick-up
  • Host Family Placement
  • Housing
  • Meals
  • Medical Insurance
  • 24/7 Emergency Support
  • Domestic Transport
  • Assistance with Application Process
  • Visa Application Assistance
  • Access to Alumni Network
  • Continuous Support
  • Worldwide Presence
  • 70 Years Experience

What you are responsible for

  • Vaccinations
  • Visa and Passport Fees

Let AFS guide your intercultural adventure

Kick-start your future with AFS and discover who you really are, make new lifetime friendships and immerse yourself in a fascinating intercultural experience.

This programme begins at your home country with a pre-departure orientation and continues with orientations, other supported learning activities and facilitated conversations which will help you maximize your experience, cope with the challenges of navigating a new culture and community as well as gain knowledge, skills, and a global understanding throughout your time abroad, and as you return to your home country. AFS volunteers will be there to support and guide you and your host family the whole way through.

Find out more