How to Apply to the International Fellowship
Join the Adventure!
Who Can Apply
Fellowship candidates should meet these minimum qualifications:
- At least have a Bachelor’s degree in the field of forestry, natural resources, or other related degree (e.g. architects working with wood products) and 3 to 5 years of relevant work experience.
- Proficiency in English, both written and spoken. Must be able to comprehend, communicate, and present on a professional level in English using natural resources technical vocabulary.
- At least be 21 years of age
- Submit an initial project/research proposal with the following components:
- A clear research topic (e.g. urban forest inventory, biomass supply-chain, carbon policy, forestry regulation, conservation finance…)
- Identified essential questions that the project/research will address (e.g. how to collect data in an urban forest, how to quantify biomass production, how to work with key stakeholders, how to map decision-making processes, how to identify successful projects and funding…)
- Organizations and people proposed to meet and/or collaborate with in the Pacific Northwest to answer the project/research questions
- A plan to implement lessons learned (e.g. host a seminar, write and/or publish a paper, start a new organization or method…)
- A statement on how your project findings fill have a positive impact on the sustainability of forestry in your country
- Ability to be self-motivated, to work independently towards a clear research goal or output, and to work with colleagues from diverse backgrounds
How to Apply
- Download application or fill out online application form. All sections must be completed, including the financial section. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed. If you are unsure whether a project you have in mind would meet our criteria, please email us with a short description of your intended project before submitting an application.
- Submit WFI application, CV/resume, and 2 letters of recommendation in English. Email your completed application along with your CV and letters of recommendation to WFI International Fellowship Program Manager, Shadia Duery at . Please do not send a CV or letter of interest without a completed application form. It is free to apply.
CV/resume guidelines: Please ensure the following information is included in your CV/resume, if applicable:
Name of post-secondary institutions
Location of post-secondary institutions (city and country)
Exact dates attended (month/day/year)
Are you currently enrolled? Degree and date received, or date degree is expected (month/day/year)
- Work Experience
Company name and address
Exact dates worked (month/year of start and end dates)
Hours per week
Description of the work you did (include your duties and responsibilities)
Exact dates (month/year of start and end dates) and average hours per week
Name and location of company
Description of the work you did
- Interview with WFC. Once your application has been reviewed, you will receive notice of whether or not you have been selected for an interview. Interviews are conducted via Skype and last approximately 30-45 minutes. The interview is intended to be a conversation about your goals for the program and for each of us to determine if International Fellowship Program is the right fit for you.
- Confirm acceptance. If you are accepted into the program, you will receive an email notifying you of your acceptance. A formal acceptance letter will be attached to that email along with an invoice. You will need to confirm your acceptance by replying to that email. The WFC Fellowship fee invoice and payment instructions will be sent via email. Please review the refund policy here.
- Submit visa application. Once you have been accepted, you will begin the process of applying for the J-1 Visa Exchange Visitor Program, if you are a foreign citizen. This application process is lengthy and requires a different application form and additional documentation. There are fees associated with applying for the J-1 program. Please visit our Costs and Sponsorship page for more information on visa program fees and the visa application process.
2020 Application Timeline and Fellowship Start Dates
The open application period for the 2019 Fellowship Program is July 1 – October 15, 2019.
The 2020 WFI Fellowship Program runs from April 6 – October 6, 2020. The WFI Fellowship is a six-month program.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can WFI provide full scholarships or funding for the Fellowship program?
Every year WFI awards scholarships for qualified candidates on financial need bases. The WFI scholarship account for 50% of the program fee ($5,000 USD). Scholarship recipients are responsible for paying for visa fees and traveling costs.
What is expected from me when I apply?
Your project proposal should clearly outline your learning objectives (see above). We understand that in the course of your time here, you may have to adapt your proposal. You will also need to secure at least half of the funding for your Fellowship. Additionally, we recommend securing supplemental funding for items not covered by the program (such as travel). Aside from that, bring an open mind, a positive attitude, initiative, and rain gear!
What type of visa do Fellows come to the US on?
Fellows arrive on a J-1 visa sponsored through the US Department of State’s J-1 Visa Exchange Visitor Program. The visa program application is handled by a third-party organization, Experience International. The J-1 Visa Exchange Visitor Program is designed to allow participants to come to the United States to gain exposure to US culture and receive training in US business practices in their chosen field. Upon completion of the program, participants are expected to return to their home countries where they will be able to utilize their newly learned skills and knowledge to advance their careers and to share their experience with their peers and others.
Does WFI provide housing for me?
No. Fellows are responsible for finding their own housing accommodations while in Portland. WFI can assist with this. Typically, Fellows rent a room out of someone’s house or are hosted by a family while they are here. Craigslist Portland and HotPads are two useful websites for finding housing.
WFC Fellowship Costs
Explore Your Options!
WFC Fellowship Application Requirements
Both US and foreign nationals may apply to the WFC International Fellowship Program, but visa, insurance, and salary requirements may differ. ALL applicants must submit the WFC Application Form (Downloadable Fellowship Application or Fellowship Online Application Form), current resume, and two letters of recommendation to be considered for the program.
US Citizens / Green Card Holders
US citizens and Green Card holders do not require a visa or visa interview, so they will not need to pay any visa fees. US citizens and Green Card holders will be required to show proof of health insurance coverage for the entire duration of their fellowship.
Foreign Nationals Without Current Green Card or US Working Visa
Foreign nationals who participate in the WFC International Fellowship Program come under the U.S. Department of State’s J–1 Visa Exchange Visitor Program. The primary objective of the Exchange Visitor Program is to enhance the skills and expertise of exchange visitors in their academic or occupational fields through participation in structured and guided training programs such as the WFC International Fellowship Program. WFC partners with an independent, nonprofit organization, Experience International (EI), to provide visa sponsorship for WFC Fellows. The J-1 Visa Exchange Visitor Program requires applicants to participate through a Department of State authorized sponsor such as Experience International. Please note that a Visitor Visa (B1 or B2 visa) does not qualify.
WFC Fellowship Program Fee
The 6-month Fellowship Program fee is $10,000 USD. A matching grant is available to cover 50% of the Fellowship program fee, so the cost to the applicant is $5,000 USD.
Once you are accepted into the WFC Fellowship Program, a formal letter of acceptance will be emailed to you along with an invoice for the program. You are required to pay a the Fellowship Fee in full 30 days upon receiving the invoice. Please read the Fellowship Fee Payment and Refund Policy document for details of fellowship fee payment to WFC.
The Fellowship Fee goes towards paying your monthly stipend and full program operations. Fellows receive a monthly salary of approximately $1,800 USD pre-tax (this is only an estimate and is different for everyone based on taxes). The salary is generally sufficient to cover rent for shared housing, cell phone, and food on an average budget. Individual lifestyle differences may result in higher or lower costs. You will also receive a public transportation 6-month pass for the Portland metro area. You can read more about this in our WFC Fellowship Program Basics document.
You must have a Social Security Number to receive your monthly stipend. You can apply for a number upon arrival in the US, but it may take anywhere from 2-4 weeks before your number is sent to you. Please bring enough funds to cover your first months’ living costs until you can start receiving your fellowship stipend.
J-1 Visa Exchange Visitor Program Fees
Separate from the WFC Fellowship Program Fee are the J-1 visa program application fees. Like the Fellowship Program Fee, there are matching funds to cover 50% of the J-1 visa program fees. Fellows will pay 50% of the visa program application fee directly to Experience International (EI) and WFC pays the other 50% of the visa fees directly to Experience International. There are other fees associated with the visa that are the responsibility of the applicant. Please download and read the J1 Visa Exchange Visitor Program Fees document for a complete breakdown of the J-1 Visa Exchange Visitor Program costs. These fees are charged by EI and/or the US government and are not under our control and are therefore subject to change.
Visa Program Application Procedure
The Visa Program Application Procedure document outlines the step-by-step procedure for paying your WFC Fellowship Program fee and the process of applying and paying for your J-1 visa program. Please read this document carefully.
All Foreign nationals must purchase health insurance through the J-1 Visa Exchange Visitor Program through Experience International. Health insurance coverage is a requirement of obtaining a J-1 visa and the cost is already rolled into the J-1 visa program fee. The visa program includes seven months of health insurance for your 6-month Fellowship Program. On the J-1 visa you are allowed to arrive in the U.S. up to 30 days before your Fellowship Program start date and stay up to 30 days after your Fellowship Program end date (60 dates total, split evenly before and after your program dates). There can be no extension on these dates. You are required to have health insurance the entire duration of your stay in the U.S.
The extra month of health insurance that is already rolled into the visa program fee is meant to provide a buffer to allow you to arrive before your start date to find housing and get settled in and/or to stay later if you wish to travel after your fellowship. If you intend to be in the U.S for a total of more than 30 days before and after your official WFC Fellowship Program dates, you must purchase one additional month of health insurance through Experience International. This should be done at the time you apply for the J-1 program.
In 1998, WFC received a matching grant from the Harry A. Merlo Foundation to provide partial scholarships to the Fellowship Program. As noted above, the grant will pay 50% of the Fellowship fee if a matching 50% can be obtained either through sponsorship from another organization, or through self-funding from the Fellow. As a condition of the grant, you must participate in the annual week-long June study tour at Harry A. Merlo’s ranch. Please visit our WFC History page to learn more about Harry A. Merlo and the creation of this program.
The matching grant cannot be applied to scholarships for university programs or funding for work conducted in other countries or based outside of the WFC International Fellowship Program.
All Fellows are responsible for their own airfare to and from Portland, Oregon. The Portland International Airport (PDX) is the closest airport.