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.
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.