About the Program
The WFI International Fellowship Program hosts natural resource professionals from around the world at the World Forest Institute’s campus in Portland, Oregon, for 6 months. Applicants propose a research topic to focus on during their Fellowship, and WFI uses its extensive network of public and private forestry and natural resource professionals to assist Fellows in gaining the knowledge and exposure they seek.
Oregon is an ideal learning ground for the program because of its rich natural resources, innovative history in forest management, an important timber sector, and academic centers of excellence in both forestry and urban forestry, as well as green building and sustainability. Fellows leave the program with a solid understanding of how the US forestry sector operates and who the key players are. Additionally, Fellows gain invaluable cultural experience and English language skills. Over 130 Fellows from more than 40 countries have participated in the program over the past two decades.
Main Components to the Program
Conducting a Project
60% of your time is spent on your own research project.
Fellows propose a research topic developed in conjunction with his/her sponsor or that is relevant to their work. We favor proposals that are policy, industry, or market-oriented and employs good use of being situated in the Pacific Northwest.
Networking with public and private forestry organizations in the US, especially in the Pacific Northwest.
30% of your time will be spent on group and individual study tours and meetings.
Networking is largely accomplished by site visits to forestry agencies, research labs, universities, public and private timberlands, trade associations, mills, and corporations. The program manager will organize approximately one group study tour per week for all Fellows to participate in. These trips are a required part of the program and can be very diverse in scope. Fellows will need to be able to arrange their own individual meetings and site visits to fulfill their specific research project needs.
Some examples of places we have visited are listed below. These change every year depending on the Fellows in the program and is not a complete list.
- Government organizations
- US Forest Service
- Bureau of Land Management
- Oregon Department of Forestry
- US Fish and Wildlife
- Oregon State University
- Non-profit organizations and local groups
- The Nature Conservancy
- Oregon Wild
- Forestland Owners and Managers
- Plum Creek
- Manufacturing and processing facilities for lumber, pulp, paper, engineered wood products, and secondary wood products
- GreenWood Resources
- Georgia Pacific
- Discussions with key persons involved in forest certification, forest products marketing, consulting, international trade, public planning, and legislation
During the summer months (May – September) there are several week-long excursions. In June, Fellows spend a week out in rural Eastern Oregon on a working forest ranch. In July, Fellows participate in the International Educators Institute – a seven-day tour with award winning educators and natural resources professionals. There is typically several other multi-day site visits throughout the region in the summer.
10% of your time is spent on presentations, in-house events, and public outreach.
Outreach could include formal presentations to forestry professionals, general public or to schools, writing articles for newspapers, fielding public inquiries, or attendance and participation at conferences and events.
Who Can Apply
Fellowship candidates should meet these minimum qualifications:
- Bachelor’s degree or equivalent in the field of forestry, natural resources, or other related degree. Alternatively, candidates with at least five years of natural resources work experience may apply.
- If your last degree was earned over a year ago, please show proof on your resume of at least one year of work experience in the natural resources field since receiving your degree.
- Proficiency in English, both written and spoken.
- At least 21 years of age.
- Initial research proposal on a topic relevant to forestry or natural resources in the home country. The project should take advantage being in the Pacific Northwest and you must show how working in the Pacific Northwest will further your professional goals.
- Ability to be self-motivated, to work independently towards a clear research goal or output, and to work with colleagues from diverse backgrounds.
Timeline and Dates
The open application period for the 2017 Fellowship Program is August 1, 2016 to November 30, 2016. We must receive your WFI application by the November 30th deadline in order to be considered for the Fellowship program in 2017. Please keep in mind that our application is just the first step in the application process.
We have one start date for the 2017 Fellowship Program.
The 2017 Fellowship Program starts on April 3, 2017. This start date is firm and you should plan to arrive in Portland, Oregon at least 15 days before your start date in order to find housing and get settled in. If you are accepted into the program, you will be sent further information about how to plan for your travel.
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.
Nearly all of the Fellowship Fee goes towards paying your monthly stipend. Fellows receive a monthly salary of approximately $1,600 USD pre-tax. The salary is generally sufficient to cover rent for shared housing, utilities, phone, and food on an average budget. Individual lifestyle differences may result in higher or lower costs. You will also receive a public transportation pass for the Portland metro area.
How to Apply
- Download Application. Download and complete the WFI Application in full. 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 Application and CV. Email your complete application along with your CV or resume to WFI Sr. Programs Manager, Chandalin Bennett, email@example.com. Please do not send a CV or letter of interest without a completed application form. It is free to apply.
- Interview with WFI. 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 minutes. The interview is intended to be a conversation about your goals for the program and for us each to determine if WFI is the right fit.
- Interview with Experience International. If you are selected as a finalist after your first interview, you will then go through a second Skype interview with our partners Experience International, who will determine your eligibility for the J-1 Visa Exchange Visitor Program. Reference checks will be done by WFI at this time as well. After both interviews are complete and we have received notice from both of your references, you will receive notice from us of whether or not you have been accepted into the program.
- Submit Visa Application. If you are 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.
To download the application form, please click on the "Further official information" link below.
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