What is the Professional Fellows Program?

The Professional Fellows Program offers promising young professionals the opportunity to gain training and practical experience working in organizations in the United States. The program is supported by the Department of State, through the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. There are thousands of alumni from these programs in positions of leadership around the world.

How long is the U.S. program (and can I come late or leave early)?

The program is 6 weeks long and all fellows must participate fully in all program activities. Late arrivals/early departures/deferrals are granted only in cases of extreme need (e.g. serious health issues) and with approval of the U.S. Department of State.

Do I have to guarantee I can take a leave from work?

As an applicant to the program, it is up to you to discuss this with your employer. If you are selected as a finalist you will need to confirm your availability to participate and that you have taken leave from work for the period of the program.

What support (financial and otherwise) will I receive while on the program?

If you are selected as a finalist, Legacy International and the US Department of State will cover all costs associated with your international travel, visa, and basic living costs in the U.S.

Where will the program take place?

All fellows will arrive and depart from Washington, D.C. The first week of the program will take place in rural Virginia (4 hours south of Washington).  In the second week of the program, you will return to Washington, DC for the month-long fellowship and Professional Fellows Congress.

Where will I live?

For the first week (7 nights) of the program, you will stay with an American host family. Host families are carefully selected and well-oriented to the program and your country and culture. During weeks 2 through 5, you will stay in furnished apartments. Usually, 4 fellows are placed in a 2-bedroom apartment. During the last week of the program, all Fellows are housed in a hotel, two people per room. In all cases, housing is gender separate.

Where will I work?

Legacy International will place you with a U.S. host organization. You may express interest in a particular organization or field and we will do our best to place you, however, Legacy has final say over all placements and you may not choose your own fellowship host. Not every fellowship placement is a perfect match, but there is always something that you can learn. We expect flexibility and adaptability from fellows.

What will I do in my fellowship?

PFP fellowship placements are most successful when fellows think about goals and objectives in advance of arrival and share these with Legacy and your fellowship host. In your daily fellowship, you will likely engage in a wide range of activities, including participating in meetings, conducting research, shadowing various people in the office, attending events, and working on projects, among other things.

Can I take my family with me when I leave to begin the program?

No. The program policy as set by ECA and Legacy International is for PFP Fellows to arrive in the United States alone.  This allows you to focus fully on your professional development experience.

Can I work while I am on the program?

No. The "job" of the PFP Fellow is to fulfill program goals.  For this reason, the J-1 visa does NOT give the holder authorization to work in the U.S., Of course, this does not include occasional attention to your professional responsibilities back home, but we expect that you will keep these to the bare minimum.

Am I eligible if I am currently living or studying abroad?

No. All fellows must be current residents and citizens of the country through which they are applying.

When will I be notified whether or not I have been selected to participate in the program?

After the application deadline, it will be several weeks before all of the applications are reviewed and decisions made.

I have been selected as a fellow - what next?

Once selected, we will follow up with you to arrange for visa interviews, travel arrangements including flights, and to begin the orientation process. Prior to the orientation, you will receive emails with links to materials to read and about a virtual session to be held with members of your delegation.

What other regions are participating in the Professional Fellows Program and who is administering those programs?

In addition to Legacy International, other organizations across the United States have also been selected to arrange similar fellowships.  Fellows come from dozens of countries. All fellows come together at the end of their program for a three-day "Professional Fellows Congress" in Washington, D.C.