Frequently Asked Questions:
What is the Professional Fellows Program? The Professional Fellows Program (PFP) is sponsored by the US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’, Professional Fellows Division. The program brings emerging leaders to the United States for intensive fellowships designed to broaden their professional expertise.
Do I need to pay for the program? What are the costs? If you are selected as a finalist, American Councils and the Department of State will cover all costs associated with your international travel, visa, and basic living costs in the US. There are no required costs to Fellows.
Am I eligible to apply? Please see eligibility requirements on page one of this flier and on the application at https://ais.americancouncils.org/pfp. These are firm requirements and no exceptions will be made.
Regarding work history eligibility for the economic empowerment cohort- the economic empowerment theme is very broad and a wide variety of professionals being eligible under this theme. The shared vision of YSEALI Professional Fellows in the economic empowerment cohort should be to expand economic opportunities for their communities, country and citizens. Successful applicants will be able to address how these ideals are present in their work and careers.
Where will I live? Fellows on program will live with volunteer host families identified by American Councils. This is a required part of the program.
Where will I work? American Councils will match Fellows with worksites in the US. While Fellows may express a preference early in the process for a particular type of site, please note that American Councils has final say over all sites and Fellows may not choose their own sites. Not every type of office will have an exact match in the United States, so fellows will need to keep an open mind about learning how US offices work around different issues.
How would I get a US visa? If you are selected for the program American Councils will assist you in applying for a J-1 visa. All visa fees will be covered through the program as well as travel to the visa interview. However, the granting of a US J-1 visa is a requirement for the program, and if you are rejected for a visa by the Consular section at the embassy you will not be eligible to participate. American Councils can assist fellows in the application process, but holds no sway over visa granting decisions made by the Embassy.
What if I am currently working or studying abroad? Am I eligible? No. All Fellows must be current residents and citizens of the country cohort for which they are applying.
What will I do at my worksite? PFP experiences are often very fellow-driven. This means that the fellows who are most successful often think about their goals and objectives for the program in advance of their arrival and are able to share them with their future worksites along with information about the fellows’ background and experiences at home. While at your US worksite you will likely engage in a wide range of activities, which can include shadowing important meetings, conducting research, presenting on relevant topics, participating in office events, and many other activities.
How are Fellows selected? Fellows are selected through a competitive nationwide search that involves an extensive written application and interviews with American Councils and U.S. Embassy staff.