Frequently Asked Questions
We're looking for open-minded, self-motivated, enthusiastic and hardworking young people. Previous travel and cross-cultural experience is helpful but not essential. A patient and flexible outlook toward career decisions is also beneficial. We hope our one-year fellows will seriously consider the possibility of staying a second year, as fellows' language and teaching skills, as well as their cultural awareness, usually improve considerably during a second year on PiA.
No. PiA is a Princeton-based program, and approximately 30% of our applicants are Princeton students. Therefore, we expect that many of our placements will be Princetonians. But for any specific fellowship opening, we are looking for the best possible candidate regardless of one’s undergraduate institution.
No. PiA is open to anyone of any nationality who has earned a bachelor’s degree.
Yes. Approximately 20% of PiA fellows have been out of college a few years before applying to PiA.
You must have your bachelor’s degree by July 1, 2017. We do accept candidates with master’s degrees (no professional degrees), especially for non-teaching posts. However, PiA fellowships are geared toward recent college graduates. People with many years of teaching or other experience should consider other programs.
Applicant numbers vary from year to year, but there have consistently been four or more strong applicants per opening. Candidates who have clearly defined goals yet demonstrate flexibility regarding placement have better chances.
No. There are a handful of positions that require some previous experience and/or Asian language skills. For most positions, however, we are looking for an interest in and a desire to learn about Asia rather than in-depth knowledge.
You should tell us your country/countries and, if applicable, cities of preference. When necessary, do some research to determine which countries might best suit you. If you are interested in a specific job or sector, you may indicate that as well. Keep in mind, however, that a certain degree of flexibility may increase your chances of placement.
No. While the majority of fellows are employed as English teachers at universities, colleges, and high schools, there are also specialized positions in international development, journalism, business, and teaching of technical subjects.
All of our teaching fellowships provide a livable salary, assuming a modest lifestyle, as well as housing or assistance in finding housing. Airfare is generally not included. Teachers in Japan and Singapore may actually have significant savings at the end of the year, but all other posts are “break-even” posts. PiA provides medical insurance for fellows otherwise without coverage. The usual term of commitment is one year. Teaching English in Asia is a fabulous opportunity to get to know the culture while at the same time providing a meaningful service to your community. The work itself, however, is not without frustration. The classes can be large, the students reticent, and the teaching materials substandard. But in the end, the students make the experience worth the effort. PiA also offers teaching positions in fields other than English in Singapore and some locations in China.
While the majority of our fellows are placed in teaching positions throughout Asia, PiA offers some specialized workplace fellowships in the fields of international development (NGOs), journalism and business, many of which require specific training or experience (e.g., language ability). These posts offer a wonderful opportunity to live in another country while gaining valuable work experience. Workplace fellowships, however, provide less vacation time and generally require longer hours than English teaching positions. All positions provide a local-level living and housing stipend.
Princeton students or applicants who live in the area may come by the PiA office to talk to the staff during the office hours posted on our website. All applicants can read reports filed by previous fellows about their positions, which are available on our website here. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to obtain the login information to access the fellow reports.
Not yet. Applicants who reach the finalist stage of the selection process will be put in touch with current fellows or alumni from the post for which they are being considered. Some finalist applicants will be also be put in touch with the host organizations by whom they are being considered; many applicants will not be put in touch with their host organization until they have received a fellowship offer and have accepted. Until that stage of the process, you may learn more about specific posts and countries by reading fellow reports and conducting your own research. Please do not contact any PiA host organization directly until PiA has officially introduced you at the placement stage of the selection process. Any applicant who circumvents PiA’s selection process by contacting a PiA host organization directly will be automatically disqualified from consideration for a PiA fellowship.
Yes. Every year, PiA typically adds new positions and eliminates others, with details not finalized until January. In addition, some positions may not be available if a current fellow decides to stay a second year on the job.
Here are some questions we ask candidates to help discover what post might best suit them: What is your college major/area of interest, and how might you apply that to working in Asia? What kind of climate do you like? Do you like living in big cities or small towns? Do you want the opportunity to learn a foreign language? Do you want to live in a more developed or less developed area? Do you want to live in a place with other foreigners? Do you like spicy food? (We hope so!)
No. Once you have been offered a PiA fellowship and have accepted, you are required to withdraw all applications you have submitted for other jobs and fellowship programs.
First of all, don’t panic – you can still apply to PiA. Orientation IS mandatory, but your program director will work with you closely and individually to ensure that you can attend both your graduation ceremony and as much of PiA orientation as possible. Keep in mind that this may require missing other Commencement activities that weekend and/or traveling a great distance for a short amount of time. For example, in the past we have had PiA fellows fly from the West Coast for Friday night and Saturday of orientation, and then fly back overnight on Saturday for a graduation ceremony on Sunday. If you have further questions on this topic, please save them for the interview stage of the process.