Aga Khan Student selected for The Future Leaders Exchange program, USA

10 November 2017

Islam Kyzy Kurmanzhan, a Grade 11 student from the Aga Khan School (AKS), Osh, Kyrgyz Republic has been accepted to The Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) program in the USA for the 2017-2018 academic year.

The Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) program is a competitive, merit-based scholarship program funded by the U.S. Department of State. FLEX students who pass multiple rounds of testing earn a scholarship to spend an academic year in the United States living with a volunteer host family and attending a U.S. high school. FLEX is a highly competitive program with over 26,000 alumni.

Islam Kyzy Kurmanzhan is one of this year's participants. She shares her experience of how Aga Khan Osh prepared her for FLEX: “My story began the moment I changed schools and joined the Aga Khan School, Osh. From the time I had my first lesson, I was surprised by the level of thinking of my peers, their English fluency and critical thinking abilities. The school always provided a supportive learning environment to ensure we reached our full potential.”

Kurmanzhan is currently living in Burleson, Texas, USA and was warmly welcomed by her American host family. She says, “I am very grateful to my host family for everything they do for me. My mother is an English language teacher and helps me strengthen my English. My host sister is also very active and is my best friend. We are the same age and we have many similar classes. She always supports me.” 

Since her arrival to the USA, Kurmanzhan has settled well into her new school. She’s made many friends and has joined the school basketball team, practising regularly in the early mornings and after school. The learning experience thus far has been transformative. Kurmanzhan says, “the lessons are very interesting and the teachers are always ready to support the students.”

Having applied previously in Grade 9, Kurmanzhan was advised to strengthen her English proficiency. At AKS Osh, Kurmanzhan sought additional support in English and was able to practice regularly with her teachers and classmates. She was encouraged by her teachers to apply again for the FLEX program this year. She says, “At Aga Khan School, Osh I was able to take additional lessons in English after my normal school classes. I learned from our AKS, School teachers to be more confident, and they helped me to improve my language skills. I am so grateful to the school, my teachers, and classmates for their support.”

Kurmanzhan will be completing her final year of studies in the USA and will return to AKS Osh to write the state exam and receive her high school diploma.

The Aga Khan school in Osh, part of the Aga Khan Education Services (AKES), currently provides over 500 students with quality learning experiences in an environment which values diversity and responds creatively to the educational needs of children. The curriculum is offered in two languages of instruction, English and Russian, to promote multi-lingual fluency.

Bottom photo: Islam Kyzy Kurmanzhan (far right) attends a volunteer event with her host family.