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Christianson Fellowship

Furthering international understanding and cultural awareness

The InterExchange Foundation supports young Americans with a passion for improving the world by participating in meaningful projects abroad.

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cultural experience for exchange students

Fund your service project and make a difference in the world

We fund impactful service projects abroad with up to $10,000 in grant money to support motivated young Americans who are committed to perform meaningful service projects abroad. If you are passionate about helping communities abroad thrive and eager to learn about the local culture, submit an application for the next application deadline (deadlines: March 15, July 15, October 15).

Fellows identify a project or an organization working on an issue they care about, and with the support of the Christianson Fellowship, contribute their skills and passion to that endeavor for at least six months on-location abroad. 

This intercultural experience is a meaningful way to help others, improve skills, and gain insight about another culture.

hear from our alumni

What our Christianson Fellows have to say about their impact
and projects

Since 2007, the InterExchange Foundation has provided grants to young Americans who wish to participate in meaningful volunteer projects abroad and who are eager to share their experiences in order to further international understanding and promote cultural awareness. To date, we have supported more than 100 Christianson Fellows who have worked in more than 40 countries around the world. 

Sheila Xu-2015 Christianson Fellow

Sheila Xu

2015 Christianson Fellow with Ca'Foscari University in Padua, Italy
“The Christianson Fellowship gave me the opportunity to jump-start my international career and lay the foundation for my future work with the Deaf community in Italy.”
Tiffany Brown-2016 Christianson Fellow

Tiffany Brown

2016 Christianson Fellow with Yspaniola in Esperanza, Dominican Republic
“I’ve learned a great deal about community development and the importance of contextualizing everything in this cross-cultural work. I’ve learned to be much more aware of my preconceived notions and to always be quick to listen and slow to judge things that I don’t quite understand about a community or culture. I am incredibly thankful and humbled by this experience that would not have been possible without the support of the Christianson Fellowship.”
Jessica Darby-2016 Christianson Fellow

Jessica Darby

2016 Christianson Fellow with Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network (APRRN) in Thailand
“I would like to sincerely thank the InterExchange Foundation for providing me with the opportunity to help refugee youth be a force for positive change in their communities. This journey has profoundly shaped my social awareness to be more globally conscientious.”
Helen Gutierrez-2018 Christianson Fellow

Helen Gutierrez

2018 Christianson Fellow with Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research
“In a field as diverse and complex as the environmental field, cross-cultural collaboration is critical to addressing and solving the myriad of issues that we face today. Moving forward, I hope to take what I learned at the IAI to help amplify local and community voices so that they are at the forefront of decision-making processes.”
Jakelynn Wert-2019 Christianson Fellow

Jakelynn Wert

2019 Christianson Fellow with Biosphere Foundation
“While this is a tiny movement in the looming face of global waste management, we’re doing our best to take this step, and the next, to address this issue together!”
Madalyn McLennan-2019 Christianson Fellow

Madalyn McLennan

2019 Christianson Fellow with Compañeros en Salud in Chiapas, Mexico
Aspiring physician Madalyn McLennan volunteered with Compañeros en Salud (CES), the Mexican branch of the non-governmental organization Partners in Health, to provide healthcare to 10 rural communities in the difficult-to-reach, southern mountainous region of Chiapas—the most impoverished state in Mexico with some of the poorest health outcomes.
Mariel Lutz-2019 Christianson Fellow

Mariel Lutz

2019 Christianson Fellow with The Nature Conservancy in Santiago, Chile
“The beauty of the Reserve is not just the ancient trees or unique species. The Reserve supports the local communities, both human and natural, and the way these two don’t hurt, but help the other is the true wonder of the Reserve. The Valdivian Coastal Reserve is a great example of what integrated conservation work can be and how to support people and nature, as they truly are one and the same.”
Shivani Raman-2019 Christianson Fellow

Shivani Raman

2019 Christianson Fellow with Compañeros en Salud in Chiapas, Mexico
“I now understand the tremendous importance of building local capacity in promoting health within communities. I also recognize the tremendous power of cross-cultural exchange. By working with the acompañantes for nearly a year, I developed meaningful relationships that will endure for a long time.”
Miles Schelling-2020 Christianson Fellow

Miles Schelling

2020 Christianson Fellow with The Energy and Resources Institute
“My connection with India began when I received a Phillips Fellowship to study sitar in New Delhi in 2015. My guru, Shubhendra Rao, has a foundation with the goal of making music every child’s birthright. The following year I received a Davis Project for Peace grant to teach music in a rural Himalayan village through his foundation. I have since turned my career focus to hydrology and, having grown up in Vermont surrounded by natural water resources, I hope to make water every child’s birthright.”
Gabriela Pages-2019 Christianson Fellow

Gabriela Pages

2019 Christianson Fellow with Socios en Salud
“I gained an enormous amount of insight into how a project is implemented on the ground and ultimately gained skills and memories that will last a lifetime. Thank you, Socios En Salud, for this incredible opportunity, and thank you, Interexchange Foundation Christianson Fellowship, for making it all possible.”
Madeline de Figueiredo-– 2019 Christianson Fellow

Madeline de Figueiredo

2019 Christianson Fellow with The Center for Legal Aid-Voice Bulgaria
“The multi-layered cultural exchange that happened during my experience not only gave me a deeper understanding of Bulgaria, but it also widened my global perspective to consider more deeply the nuances of multiculturalism and diversity in refugee and migration settings.”
Cheyenne Polk-2019 Christianson Fellow

Cheyenne Polk

2019 Christianson Fellow with Development Initiative Network
“The Sewing Seeds for Healthy Living Project funded by the Christianson Fellowship has been the most rewarding project that I’ve ever been able to participate in. With this grant money, four HIV support groups were able to participate in two projects which drastically improved the nutrition and income of all 66 participants.”
Alicia Goodwin-Singham – 2014 Christianson Fellow

Alicia Goodwin Singham

2014 Christianson Fellow with Hope Through Health
“I felt really good about the work I did to train local staff, and build up their capacity both to use new tools and to make informed decisions in the future.”
David Cotton-2017 Christianson Fellow

David Cotton

2017 Christianson Fellow with Project Layali
“The InterExchange Foundation’s Christianson Fellowship made this work possible. I recently applied to MBA programs in the U.S. to focus on social impact businesses. Most of the experience I pitched in applications came from my time in Greece!”
Margaret Poulos-2019 Christianson Fellow

Margaret Poulos

2019 Christianson Fellow with SEED Madagascar in Fort Dauphine, Madagascar
“Watching a cooperative come together from the ground-up has been a unique experience, and encourages me to continue working in the area of micro-business and entrepreneurship in the development context. The women weavers are excited to continue their work together and build a successful union.”
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How it works

Please create an account to access the online application for the Christianson Fellowship. Applications are reviewed after the close of each application deadline (March 15, July 15, October 15) and you will be notified within 2 weeks of the deadline whether or not you are invited for an interview.

Locations

The volunteer project must be outside of the U.S. and conducted in-person at the host location. To date, Christianson Fellows have worked in more than 40 countries around the world.

Project duration

At least 6 months in-person on-site is a minimum requirement of this grant.

Award amount

$2,500 - $10,000 (depending on location and duration of project).

Project types

We support a wide range of projects:

  • Community Development
  • Education
  • Environment
  • Human Rights
  • Public Health
  • Sustainable Development
  • FAQs

    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 that you feel passionately about.
    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.

    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.

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    Get in touch

    To get in touch you can reach us at the details below:

    Travel Experience - Christianson Fellowship – Sign Up

    Become a Christianson Fellow and make a real impact

    We can help you create change in the world. Apply here to become a Christianson Fellow!