The Amancio Ortega Foundation Scholarship Programme began in 2010, offering 50 scholarships to study in the United States for fifth-year secondary education students from educational centres around Galicia. Three years later, the initiative was extended to the rest of Spain, also incorporating Canada as a new destination for the Programme. Since then, the number of scholarships has gradually increased to 600 in the 2019/2020 edition, with 300 for the United States and the same for Canada. Of the 600 total scholarships, 100 were reserved for students from Galicia and the remaining 500 were offered to participants from the rest of Spain.
Since it was launched, the programme has aimed to not only boost participants’ mastery of the English language, but to also provide tools to help them increase their ability to adapt to new social and cultural environments. To encourage complete immersion in the destination countries—which both have extensive experience hosting international students—and to give impetus to participants learning English, the 600 scholarship holders who participate in the programme each year live with a host family and attend local schools. The age of 15 to 16 years old is perfect for soaking up vital knowledge and experiences. At the same time, this age ensures participants are responsible and independent enough to totally integrate.
In the 2020/21 edition, restrictions linked to the covid-19 pandemic prevented the 600 scholarship holders from travelling to the United States and Canada. Instead, the Scholarship Programme specifically designed a new educational programme for them that they could follow in a distance learning format and in parallel to their fifth year of secondary education in Spain: the Advance Talent Training programme, in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the University of Cambridge.
Up until 2020, more than 3,500 students have participated in the Amancio Ortega Foundation Scholarship Programme.