Frequently Asked Questions
What type of projects does the Christianson Fellowship support?
The Christianson Fellowship supports self-arranged and created service project experiences abroad. Past fellows’ projects have focused on multiple international issues, including public health, environmental conservation, legal advocacy, women’s and girls’ rights, microfinance, education, and poverty alleviation, among other topics. Your project should focus on an issue and a region of the world which you feel passionately about.
What do you mean by “self-arranged” projects?
Your project should not entail payment to a program provider who charges a fee to set-up your service project. You may contact an organization individually to learn about service opportunities. Many organizations actively recruit volunteers and interns.
What does the fellowship cover?
The Christianson Fellowship is intended to cover your living expenses while abroad and contributing to a service project. This includes housing, meals, and local transport. You may also include associated costs, such as transport to and from your project location, passport and visa costs, and travel medical insurance.
The fellowship does not cover mid-service trips home.
How many fellowships are awarded each cycle?
The number of fellowships awarded varies, depending on the quality of applications received. The Fellowship Selection Committee carefully reviews each fellowship application and strives to provide funding to as many projects that meet the requirements and align with our mission to further international understanding and cultural awareness.
Can my project be part of my academic program?
No. The fellowship does not support independent research projects or academic study abroad programs. Projects must not be part of a degree requirement or for class credit.
If my project or length of stay changes, do I need to inform InterExchange?
Yes. The Fellowship Selection Committee will review this information to determine any impact on the original fellowship determination.
What are the completion report requirements?
The completion report is a thoughtful reflection on your service project abroad, with a focus on the goals achieved and the cultural exchange that transpired. Reports should be at least two pages.
What are you looking for in applicants?
We seek applicants who demonstrate a sincere interest in the project topic and who have a specific skill-set to contribute to a community abroad. In addition, applicants should be excited to learn about another culture and share American culture.
When should I apply?
There are three application deadlines every year: March 15, July 15, and August 15.
You’re welcome to apply up to one year prior to your project start date.
Can I already be abroad when I apply?
The Fellowship Selection Committee prefers that applicants are not abroad yet at time of application. However, you may apply if you’ve only been on your project for a few months or less.
How do I show proof of expenses if my project hasn’t started yet?
You may provide estimated costs if you don’t have receipts or other proof of costs at the time of application. Please show us what estimates are based upon. For example, a screenshot of a flight search showing ticket prices.
How should I submit my application?
Please submit your complete application via our online form. We do not accept applications by mail, email, or fax.
How do I submit my application fee?
Please pay the $50 application fee via our secure, online payment form.
Please select “InterExchange Foundation” under “Program for which you are paying.”
Why do I have to pay an application fee?
The application fee makes it possible for us to promote our Foundation and pay staff to review applications. InterExchange is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization, so we aim to keep application costs as low as possible.
Do my letters of recommendation need to be included when I submit my application?
Your recommenders must send recommendation letters directly to email@example.com. We’ll notify you when we receive your recommendations and your application is complete.
Who should write my letters of recommendation and what should they contain?
One of your letters of recommendation may be from an academic instructor and the other must be from a supervisor, employer, or coach. Letters must be signed and on official letterhead (submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org by the recommender).
Prompt for recommenders:
Please speak to the applicant’s maturity, adaptability, communication style, leadership potential, and other characteristics that you have first-hand knowledge of that would help us assess the overall suitability for success on the service project abroad.
Will I be interviewed as part of the application process?
Finalists will be interviewed by the InterExchange Foundation Manager. Finalists are notified approximately two weeks after the application deadline to arrange an interview via video call. The interview typically lasts 30 minutes.
When will I be notified if I received the fellowship or not?
All applicants are notified approximately 6-8 weeks after each fellowship deadline.
If I apply early, will I find out earlier if I received the fellowship?
You’re welcome to apply early (no more than one year prior to your project start date); however, applications are not reviewed until after the application deadline.
If I’m not selected, may I apply again?
Yes, fellowship applicants are welcome to apply again.
How much is the award?
The Christianson Fellowship is between $2,500 and $10,000.
How is the award amount determined?
The Christianson Fellowship Selection Committee determines award amounts based on multiple factors, including cost-of-living in project location and duration of project.
When is the fellowship disbursed?
The fellowship is disbursed in two installments. The first is mailed after we’ve confirmed your arrival with your supervisor. The second installment is mailed after we’ve received your completion report, which is due within 30 days of your project end date.
Is the fellowship taxable?
Yes, fellowship funding is subject to the IRS tax code. All fellowship recipients are issued a 1099.