2017 U.S. Congress – Republic of Korea National Assembly Exchange Program

Meridian is no longer accepting applications for the 2017 U.S. Congress-Republic of Korea National Assembly Exchange Program.


The U.S. Congress – Republic of Korea National Assembly Exchange Program is a unique program designed to broaden the perspectives of Korean and American young people on: the legislative process; the history of U.S. - Korean relations; and current economic, political, and security aspects of the bilateral relationship. The program also provides the U.S. and Korean participants with firsthand experience of each other’s people and culture, and creates opportunities for participants to form long-lasting personal contacts.

The program was first created in 1981 by U.S. Representative Ben Gilman and his counterpart in the Republic of Korea National Assembly David Pong. The program is jointly funded by the Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and the Republic of Korea National Assembly and developed and implemented by Meridian International Center.

Program Description

This joint exchange program combines meetings, shadowing opportunities, briefings from government officials and private sector specialists, peer interaction, and cultural activities. Ten Korean university students and a group leader from the Republic of Korea National Assembly will participate in the U.S. program and an equivalent group from the U.S. will participate in the U.S. and Korea program.

The Korean and American delegations will spend eight days together in Washington, DC. Afterwards, the Americans will depart for Korea, while the Koreans will remain in the U.S. for site visits to other U.S. cities. At the end of the program, the Korean delegation will return to Korea to reunite with their American counterparts for three days together in Seoul. Specific dates for the American delegation are:

  • Friday, July 14 – Saturday, July 22, 2017 - Washington, DC
  • Sunday, July 23 – Sunday, August 6, 2017 – Seoul and other cities, Korea


The U.S. delegation consists of 10 American students, between the ages of 21 and 27, selected through a competitive application process. You may find the program application here.

The Committee on Foreign Affairs, Trade, and Unification of the Republic of Korea National Assembly nominates and selects the Korean students to travel to the U.S.


US Department of State

The participation in this program for the selected members of the U.S. delegation is fully funded by the U.S. Department of State including domestic flights to and from hometown, international flights to and from Korea, as well as hotels, meals, and local transportation while in Washington, DC. The Republic of Korea National Assembly’s Committee on Foreign Affairs, Trade, and Unification will cover all program costs in Korea including accommodations, meals, and local transportation to scheduled meetings and events, as well as entrance fees for planned cultural events, museums, musical performances, etc. Other incidental expenses, such as gifts, souvenirs, movies, free time activities, and meals outside those included as part of the program are the responsibility of the individual participants.

Qualifications and Responsibilities

Minimum Requirements

Participants in the program must meet the below requirements:

  • Active and demonstrated interest in the U.S. government, U.S. foreign policy, and/or U.S. - Korean bilateral relations;
  • A minimum of three academic years at an accredited institution of higher learning;
  • American citizen, preferably between the ages of 21 and 27 and with a valid U.S. passport; and
  • Enthusiasm for travel and experiencing different cultures and traditions.

Responsibilities for U.S. Delegates

  • Demonstrate willingness to experience Korean culture and participate in cross-cultural exchange;
  • Represent the U.S. as an “Ambassador” to Korea;
  • Act as host to your Korean counterpart during the Washington, DC portion of the program;
  • Fully familiarize yourself with provided reading materials and program itinerary;
  • Actively participate in discussions during professional appointments with questions and analysis; and
  • Demonstrate professionalism and respect for all participants and hosts throughout the program.

Post-program Requirements

The final requirement for participation is to submit:

  • A one-page memo is due one week after the completion of the program summarizing your experience on this program.

Important note: This program is not geared for U.S. applicants who have already had significant opportunities to travel or live in Korea.


Project summary

2017 U.S. Congress – Republic of Korea National Assembly Exchange Program | August 2017
Regions: East Asia and Pacific
Countries: South Korea
Impact Areas: Education, Public Diplomacy, Youth Leadership Development
Program Areas: Exchanges
Partners: Public Sector, Private Sector