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 his/her undergraduate institution.
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, 2013. We accept people with advanced degrees (Master’s only, no PhDs), especially for non-teaching posts. However, PiA’s 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 three 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 business, international development, journalism, law, 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, Laos, 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 journalism, international development (NGOs), 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 people who live in the area may come by the PiA office and look through reports filed by previous fellows about their positions. Those who are applying from off-campus should contact the office so we can provide you with login information to access the reports on our website.
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/industry 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? Which one? 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 know a PiA alumus/a to ask about his or her experience?
No. Once you have been offered a post and have accepted, you are required to withdraw all applications from other jobs and fellowship programs.
- Application fee: $50.
- Transportation and housing expenses for trips to interviews in January or February.
- Transportation expenses to Princeton, NJ in mid-April for TEFL and mid-May for orientation. Housing will be arranged for you during these weekends.
- TEFL fee: $150 (for fellows in teaching positions).
- Fellow contribution: $350. Paid upon acceptance of a PiA posting. This contribution represents only a fraction of the total costs of arranging a fellowship. Payment is mandatory for all accepted fellows.
- Vaccination and pre-departure health expenses.
- Visa application fees.
- Round-trip transportation to Asia for most positions.
PiA is dedicated to offering these experiences to as diverse and talented an applicant pool as possible. We will work with each applicant to ensure that financial considerations do not preclude anyone from applying or participating in these service opportunities.
In addition to a local salary, PiA provides:
- An orientation program including travel, health, visa, and packing information, as well as cultural and current affairs background on our locations.
- Group medical insurance for all fellows in need of coverage and who qualify for PiA’s international travel plan, including emergency medical evacuation coverage.
- Language and cultural grants (awarded selectively).
- Assistance in student loan deferments in the form of letters issued to student loan agencies.
- Note: airfare and other travel expenses are generally the responsibility of the fellow. (Travel grants are provided on a need basis.)
- Applicants should delineate their country/countries of preference. 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.
- Look through some general resources on Asia prior to making your country selections or attending your interview. You may wish to seek advice from international students as well as Asian Studies professors.
- Princeton students or people who live in the area may come by the PiA office and look through reports filed by previous fellows about their positions. Those who are applying from off-campus should contact the office so we can provide you with login information to access the reports on our website.
- PiA does not usually place unmarried couples together in the same city, due to cultural and logistical considerations. However, if you desire to work near a significant other, please indicate so on your application. Both candidates must qualify independently.
- Although unique, PiA is not the only program that sends fellows to Asia. If you do not live near Princeton or will be out of the country for an extended period of time, you may want to consider another program due to the travel costs you will incur by applying to PiA. All selected applicants must attend an interview session and come to Princeton for TEFL and orientation. We attempt to offer interviews only to those applicants who stand a reasonable chance of being placed. However, being granted an interview does not guarantee placement.