Frequently Asked Questions

Click on the questions below to expand the answer.

No. PiA is based on campus at Princeton University, but it is open to graduates of all colleges and universities. Though a large proportion of our applicants are Princeton University students, 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 or will obtain a bachelor’s degree by summer 2020. It is important to note that host country visa restrictions may limit the number of potential posts for citizens of certain nationalities. Moreover, applicants who are in the process of applying for permanent residency or citizenship in the U.S. are advised to consult a legal professional about the impact that a fellowship may have on their immigration status.

No. However, all positions require professional proficiency in English, and English teaching positions require native English-speaking ability.

Yes. Approximately one-third of the current cohort of PiA Fellows had graduated from college before they applied to PiA.

Yes. We receive a number of applications from overseas candidates each year. If you are selected for an interview, we will give you the option to interview via Skype. However, if you are selected for a PiA fellowship, you will be required to attend the in-person Orientation at Princeton University from May 15-18, 2020 at your own expense.

You must have your bachelor’s degree by the summer of 2020. We do accept candidates with master’s degrees, but not those with professional degrees. Keep in mind that PiA fellowships are mostly entry-level positions and are geared towards recent college graduates.

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 (see fellowship descriptions on the PiA website for more information), but for most positions we are looking for an interest in and a desire to learn about Asia, rather than in-depth knowledge. As a key goal of PiA is to serve as a launching pad to Asia and to put people outside of their comfort zones, we aim to identify the post where a Fellow will be challenged and will have the opportunity to learn something new. As such, it is unlikely that an applicant who has spent a meaningful amount of time in a particular country will be placed in that same country as a Fellow. Likewise, applicants with a significant amount of work experience in Asia should consider other programs.

You will indicate your country and post preferences on the application. These preferences are important information for us; however, they are used as a guideline rather than a restriction. Applicants apply to the program in general, not for specific posts, and we encourage applicants to keep an open mind to ideas outside of their initial preferences during the placement process. Keep in mind that a certain degree of flexibility may increase your chances of placement.

No. While more than half of our Fellows are employed as English teachers at universities, colleges, and high schools, there are also specialized positions with organizations that contribute to the following global issues: education, environmental sustainability, public health, economic development, and peace, justice, and access to information.

Teaching Fellowships

Teaching 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, including math, science, and international relations.

Workplace Fellowships

While over half of our Fellows are placed in teaching positions throughout Asia, PiA offers some specialized workplace fellowships in the fields of business, environmental sustainability, public health, and peace, justice, and access to information. Many of these posts require specific skills or experience (e.g., language ability). These posts offer a wonderful opportunity to live in another country while gaining valuable work experience. Non-teaching fellowships, however, generally provide less vacation time and sometimes require longer and less flexible hours than English teaching positions. All positions provide a local-level living and housing stipend.

All applicants should read reports filed by previous Fellows about their positions, which are available on our website. Please email piaapps@princeton.edu to obtain the login information to access the Fellow reports. Princeton students or applicants who live in the area may come by the PiA office to talk to the staff during assigned office hours.

Not yet. Applicants who reach the finalist stage of the selection process may be put in touch with current Fellows/alumni from the post for which they are being considered. 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. 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, a certain position may not be available if a current Fellow receives an offer to stay on for a second-year fellowship.

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? What do you want to do in your free time? What kind of work environment do you want? Do you want to live in a more developed or less developed area? Do you want to live in a city with a group of PiA Fellows, or a city with just one co-Fellow? Do you have a medical condition that may require access to care during your fellowship year? 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 on an individual basis 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. Orientation will be held in Princeton, NJ on May 15-18, 2020.

We're looking for open-minded, self-motivated, enthusiastic and hardworking young people. Previous cross-cultural experience can be helpful but is not essential. A patient and flexible outlook toward career decisions is also beneficial. We hope our first-year Fellows will seriously consider the possibility of staying a second year, as Fellows' language and teaching/workplace skills, as well as their cultural awareness, usually improve considerably during a second year on PiA.

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