Today's Scholars. Tomorrow's Leaders.

ASSIST Countries

Since its inception, ASSIST has drawn students from the following nations. In a typical year, we operate in 20+ countries. Please refer to the profile of the current class for information on countries we are working in at present.

Germany and Switzerland

ASSIST was established when founder Paul Sanderson was on sabbatical near Munich, Germany, in 1969. He came to know many bright students with strong athletic and artistic talents, and Germany became ASSIST's first partner country. Since then, more than 2,700 German and Swiss students have come to the United States with ASSIST.

Following ASSIST's early success in Germany, Mr. Sanderson established relationships in Sweden, Spain and China.


Two years after Mr. Sanderson's initial trip to Germany, the first student from Sweden came to the States with ASSIST. Since then, 250 Swedish students from cities including Göteborg, Malmö, Lund, Helsingborg, Skelleftea and Stockholm have joined the program.


Mr. Sanderson brought the first Spaniard to the States as an ASSIST scholar in 1975. Since then, 388 Spanish students have come to the States with ASSIST. These students came from many cities and towns, including Barcelona, Madrid, Seville and Zaragoza.


In 1985, ASSIST entered China. Over a five-year period, twenty-eight students came to the United States with the ASSIST program. In the fall of 2005, ASSIST returned to China and brought seven talented students to the States for the 2006/07 academic year. In total, 111 Chinese students have studied as ASSIST Scholars in the U.S.


Under the leadership of Ken and Betsy Lindfors, ASSIST expanded into Australia. Ninety-three Australians from Perth, Melbourne, Sydney, as well as other cities and towns have come to the United States with ASSIST since 1989.

Eastern and Central Europe and Central Asia

With the fall of the Soviet Union, the Lindfors established a partnership with the Soros Foundation and began to attract students from eastern and central Europe and central Asia. Since 1991, 877 deserving and talented students from this region have become ASSIST Scholars. Over the course of 25 years of work in the region, the following countries have been represented:


The Czech Republic





Bosnia & Herzegovina












Mr. Soros continued his generous support for secondary exchange through the end of the 2003/04 academic year. Since that time, ASSIST has identified new donors to underwrite our mission, including the first alumni to sponsor Scholars from their homeland (Lithuania). The following expenses continue to be covered for all ASSIST Scholars selected from this region: international and domestic airfare, health insurance, the cost of the four-day orientation, and an allowance for each student's personal expenses for the year.

In 2014/15, our students come from Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Lithuania, Moldova and Slovakia.


Although Austrians have always been welcome to apply to ASSIST through our office in Germany, ASSIST officially expanded our scholarship competition into Austria in 2005.  Since then, 45 Austrians have come to the United States through ASSIST.


Since 2005, ASSIST has partnered with a consortium of American independent schools and AEG-Vietnam (American Education Group) to bring 40 talented students to the United States.


ASSIST's presence in Turkey began in 2011 when we first connected with  our partner organization, Globalise, to help us identify qualified candidates for our program. Since that time, 12 Turkish Scholars have successfully enrolled in their American schools through the ASSIST program. Our work in Turkey is undertaken in partnership with The Taft School and The Berkshire School.


Our work in Africa began for the 2010/11 academic year, as we welcomed our first Scholars from South Africa. These Scholars distinguished themselves in their American independent schools, and now, in addition to South Africa, students from Nigeria and Somaliland have studied in the States under our auspices.

Continued Growth and Expansion

Under the leadership of Bob Stanley, ASSIST has continued to expand into other regions of the world to help American schools diversify their student bodies with students from countries that are not currently represented in the school communities. ASSIST works collaboratively in recruitment with American independent secondary schools and with colleague organizations in each sending nation

ASSIST continues to assess opportunities for expansion into key regions around the world. We received our first Scholars from Mongolia in 2005; from Israel in 2009; from Palestine, Poland, Mali and South Africa in 2010; from Italy in 2011; from Jordan, New Zealand and Nigeria in 2012; from Somaliland in 2013; and from Serbia in 2015.

ASSIST works closely with a part-time employee, volunteer leader or partner organization in all countries where we recruit. These colleagues promote the program nationally, prescreen candidates, prepare and orient the students, and provide support during the placement year. They keep ASSIST abreast of important national trends and serve both ASSIST and member schools as liaisons to families throughout the exchange year.

For more information, read our brochure Explore Becoming an ASSIST Scholar.

©2017 Schoolyard. All rights reserved. Site by schoolyard.