How to Apply

Who Can Apply


Fellowship candidates should meet these minimum qualifications:


  • Bachelor's degree or equivalent in the field of forestry, natural resources, or other related degree. Alternatively, candidates with at least four years of natural resources work experience may apply.
  • Proficiency in English, both written and spoken.
  • At least 21 years of age.
  • Initial research proposal on a topic relevant to forestry or natural resources in the home country. The project should take advantage being in the Pacific Northwest.
  • Ability to be self-motivated, to work independently towards a clear research goal or output, and to work with colleagues from diverse backgrounds.


How to Apply


1. Download Application. Download and complete the WFI application in full. All sections must be completed including the financial section. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.


  • If you are unsure whether a project you have in mind would meet our criteria, please email us with a short description of your intended project before submitting an application.


2. Submit Application and CV. Email your complete application along with your CV or resume to WFI Sr. Programs Manager, Chandalin Bennett, Please do not send a CV or letter of interest without a completed application form. It is free to apply.


3. Interview. Once your application has been reviewed you will receive notice of whether or not you have been selected for an interview. Once the interview is complete, a reference check will be done and you will receive notice of whether or not you have been accepted into the program.


4. Submit Visa Application. If you are accepted, you will begin the process of applying for the J-1 visa if you are a foreign citizen. This application process is lengthy and requires a different application form and additional documentation. There are fees associated with applying for the visa. Please visit our Costs and Sponsorship page for more information on visa fees and the visa application process.



Application Timeline

Applications are taken year round, but in order to receive the 50% matching grant from the Harry A. Merlo Foundation you must start your Fellowship before June in order to participate in the summer events. Whether you plan to fund the entire Fellowship yourself or use the matching grant,  we prefer that you start your program in early spring, April or May, for a six-month program. If you are planning for a full year Fellowship, the start date is unimportant. It is best to be here during the summer months when more site visits are scheduled due to drier weather.


Applications are due at least two months prior to the intended start date.




Frequently asked questions


Can WFI provide full scholarships or funding for the Fellowship program?
No. WFI cannot provide full funding for the Fellowship due to high demand and limited resources. Applicants must find their own source of funding for at least 50% of the Fellowship program fee and visa fee, and they are responsible for their own travel costs.


What is expected from me when I apply?
Your project proposal should clearly outline your learning objectives (see above). We understand that in the course of your time here, you may have to adapt your proposal. You will also need to secure at least half of the funding for your Fellowship. Additionally, we recommend securing supplemental funding for items not covered by the program (such as travel). Aside from that, bring an open attitude, initiative and rain gear!

What type of visa do Fellows come to the US on?
Fellows arrive on a J-1 Trainee visa. The visa application is handled by a third-party organization, Experience International. The J-1 Trainee program is designed to allow participants to come to the United States to gain exposure to US culture and receive training in US business practices in their chosen field. Upon completion of the program, participants are expected to return to their home countries where they will be able to utilize their newly learned skills and knowledge to advance their careers, and to share their experience with their peers and others.

Does WFI provide housing for me?
No. Fellows are responsible for finding their own housing accommodations while in Portland. WFI can assist with this. Typically, Fellows rent a room out of someone’s house or are hosted by a family while they are here. Craigslist Portland is a useful website for finding housing.


For detailed information, please download:

application form