Frequently Asked Questions

Eligibility

What are the eligibility requirements for a Princeton in Africa fellowship?

General/Flagship Fellowship Program Eligibility:

  • General applicants must be young professionals or current undergraduates graduating by June 2024 at the time of application.
  • General applicants must have a bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree, or a Ph.D. from a 4-year U.S.-accredited university.
  • General applicants must have full professional English proficiency as defined by the U.S. Department of State. Additionally, full professional proficiency in French is preferred at some posts. 
  • General applicants must be not more than 35 years of age for the duration of the fellowship year (through August 2025).
  • General applicants must have a passport valid through the end of the fellowship year (August 2025).

Nexus Program Eligibility:

  • Nexus applicants must be young professionals or current undergraduates graduating by June 2024 at the time of application.
  • Nexus applicants must have an undergraduate degree or a Master’s degree (or equivalent), or a Ph.D. from an African university.
  • Nexus applicants must have full professional English proficiency as defined by the U.S. Department of State. Additionally, full professional proficiency in French is preferred at some posts. 
  • Nexus applicants must be not more than 35 years of age for the duration of the fellowship year (through August 2025).
  • Nexus applicants must have a passport valid through the end of the fellowship year (August 2025).
  • Nexus applicants must have citizenship in an African country and have current residency in an African country (applicants with dual U.S. citizenship will not be considered).

For anyone unsure if their university is U.S.-accredited, check this database of U.S.- accredited universities. Please note, most universities outside of the US are not US-accredited; if you graduate from a non-U.S. accredited university, then obtain an additional degree from a U.S.-accredited university, you would be eligible to apply for Princeton in Africa. All applicants, except for those applying only to Nexus, must have a 4-year undergraduate degree or a graduate degree from a U.S.-accredited university.

Although Princeton in Africa fellowship applicants must not be more than 35 years of age through the duration of the fellowship year, applicants with graduate degrees or a couple of years of experience are encouraged to apply. Please note, however, that our fellowship positions are entry-level placements and we don’t want Fellows to find the work they do unstimulating or unchallenging. In the end, our placement process is about fitting the right candidate with the right organization, so we don’t have a 100% hard and fast rule about how much experience a Fellow should have. The fellowship can be a great fit for applicants with some professional experience if the fellowship seems like a step forward in their career.

Citizens of any country can apply for the general fellowship program, providing they meet the full eligibility requirements for the general fellowship program. Citizens of African countries may apply for the Nexus program, again providing they meet the full eligibility requirements for the Nexus program. Please note that, in certain cases, visa eligibility for destination countries may be a determining factor in placement.

No, prior experience in an African country is not a prerequisite.

Since 2010 our program has been open to graduating seniors and alumni of any college or university accredited in the US. No spots are reserved for Princeton alumni. Please note that at the end of the day, we are looking to make the best matches between our applicants and the roles our fellowship organizations have identified for Fellows. PiAf must take into consideration candidates’ skills, backgrounds and preferences as well as our fellowship organizations’ needs. 

The Application

  • Wednesday, Oct. 25th, 2023, at 11:59 PM Eastern: Applications due
  • Early December 2023: Applicants are notified whether they are invited to interview
  • Early January: Virtual interviews
  • February-May 2024: Selected candidates are notified about potential posts. Placements are ongoing. 
  • Late-May 2024: Placements finalized
  • June 6th-10th 2024: Mandatory orientation on Princeton’s campus
  • June-August 2024: Fellowships begin
  • June-August 2025: 12-month fellowships end

Applications will be reviewed throughout the months of November and December and those invited for interviews will be notified by mid-December 2023. Please do not contact the PiAf office asking if you have been selected to interview. Each applicant will be notified whether or not they are selected to interview. If you do not hear from us by mid-December, please check your email account’s spam folder.

On average we receive about 400-500 applications per application cycle.

The deadline for the 2024-25 fellowship application is 11:59 PM Eastern on Wednesday, Oct. 25th, 2023 

  • INTERVIEWS: Should you be invited for an interview, you must be available for one of the interview sessions that will be held in January 2024. PiAf staff will be contacting those invited to interview by early December 2023 with more information. Please do not contact the PiAf office about interview invitations. 
  • ORIENTATION: Those candidates who receive a fellowship placement must attend every day of PiAf’s MANDATORY pre-departure orientation program, which will be held Weds, June 6th to Sat, June 8th, 2024.
  • YEARLONG COMMITMENT: All Fellows must make a yearlong commitment. Fellowships will end 12 months after one’s start date (end dates will fall between June and August 2025 depending on the start date).

Princeton in Africa expects to offer approximately 35 fellowships in about 14 countries in the 2024-25 fellowship year. Although the complete list of fellowships will not be finalized until after the application deadline, you may reference the information on recent fellowships on the PiAf website to get an idea of the types of positions that may be offered.

Applicants do not apply for specific fellowship positions, organizations or countries, but rather apply to the Princeton in Africa fellowship program. You may indicate preferences for region, country, and/or position type on your application form. But please note that a certain degree of flexibility may enhance the likelihood of your placement–and Princeton in Africa cannot guarantee that a candidate’s top choices will be met. Overall, the PiAf pairing process is in-depth and we work hard to find the best match for both Fellows and fellowship organizations.

The list of fellowships available for the upcoming fellowship year has not yet been finalized. However, you may use the list of current fellowship organizations as a guideline for posts likely to be offered next year. Updated lists of prospective host organizations will be available throughout the application process; these are subject to change until all Fellows are placed.

There’s no longer an application fee.

THE FELLOWSHIP APPLICATION: must be completed online–we will not accept any hard copy applications. 

REQUIRED UPLOADS:

  • (All applicants) Resume or CV. Must be in PDF form, no more than two pages using a reasonably sized font, with your name, email address, phone number, any relevant experience and a section dedicated to your hard skills. Even if you are an alumnus of a college or university, we recommend requesting that your institution’s career services review your resume before submitting. Resumes have a file size limit of 256KB.
  • (All applicants) UNOFFICIAL Copy of Your Transcript. Upload to the application your most recent unofficial transcript from your US-accredited undergraduate institution (ONLY if your undergraduate institution is US-accredited). Upload the most recent unofficial transcript from a US-accredited graduate institution you received a degree from if your undergraduate institution is not US-accredited. Transcripts must be in English, should be in PDF format and no larger than 256KB. 
  • (Nexus Applicants only) Proof of University Enrollment. Must be in English, in PDF format and no larger than 256KB. For this requirement, PiAf will accept any ONE of the following:
  • An official enrollment verification document (accompanied by an English translation, if necessary)
  • A scanned copy of the applicant’s diploma (accompanied by an English translation, if necessary)
  • A letter in English on university letterhead signed by a university administrator or professor indicating the dates of enrollment, degree obtained, and area of study. The university representative’s email and phone number must be included in the letter.

OTHER REQUIRED MATERIALS: Your application will not be complete until Princeton in Africa receives ALL of the following materials:

  • (General applicants only) Digital official transcript from the most recent US-accredited undergraduate institution you received a degree from (or US-accredited graduate institution if your undergraduate institution is not US-accredited). (An official copy of your transcript is one that is emailed to the PiAf office in a format that is certified and sealed.) You must only submit an official transcript from the most recent US-accredited undergraduate institution that you received a degree from. If you did not attend a US-accredited institution for undergrad, you must submit a digital official transcript from a US-accredited graduate institution. Transcripts must be in English, should be in PDF format and no larger than 256KB. 
  • (Nexus applicants only) Digital official transcript from the African institution you received a bachelor’s, Master’s or Phd degree from. Transcripts must be in English, should be in PDF format and no larger than 256KB.
    • All applicants must have your institution’s registrar’s office email an official transcript directly to piafapp@princetoninafrica.org. Official transcripts should be sent through an online transcript verification service such as Parchment, Credentials Solutions or The National Student Clearinghouse. If your university does not use an official online service to send official transcripts, an official transcript can be emailed to PiAf directly from your university’s registrar. These electronic transcripts are considered official documents and can be validated because they have been digitally signed and certified by your institution’s registrar’s office. The transcript should be sent from your university’s online system directly to PiAf. If your university does not offer electronic or .pdf official transcripts, please email piafapp@princetoninafrica.org concerning this piece of your application. Please contact your university’s registrar’s office for more information about ordering a digital official transcript before reaching out to PiAf. Please note, you cannot forward an electronic official transcript to PiAf, the transcript must be emailed from your Registrar’s office directly to us.
  • (All applicants) Letter of recommendation (LOR)
    • Please have your recommender submit your LOR through the LOR form available in the fellowship application. Ask them to name the file “ApplicantLastname.ApplicantFirstname.LOR”. This LOR should be specific to your application for Princeton in Africa and the recommender’s name, title, organization, email, phone and address should be included in the letter. The maximum length is two pages and the file should be in PDF or Word Doc format and must be written in English. LORs have a file size limit of 256 KB.

PiAf is not accepting any mailed, hard copy application materials. If your university does not provide a digital official transcript, please reach out to your registrar to ask which options they provide, then email piafapp@princetoninafrica.org.

Placements take place from February to May. Most placements occur in March and April, although in previous years some placements have been made as early as February and as late as June. All placements are made on a rolling basis, up until the time of the mandatory orientation in June. Due to the number of candidates and organizations with which PiAf works, it is impossible to announce all decisions at once or on a set date. PiAf does, however, aim to make placements as quickly as possible. Please note that everyone in the candidate pool is not guaranteed a fellowship placement or an interview with one or more host organizations.

After interviews in January, those invited into the candidate pool are asked to confirm their interest in being in the candidate pool. Those who do not reply will be removed from the candidate pool. Before being put forward to an organization, candidates are first contacted by PiAf staff to determine their interest in a specific fellowship post. They are able to ask questions about the post before being sent forward. When a candidate agrees to be put forward, a PiAf staff member will notify them when their materials (resume and bio) have been sent to the host organization for their review. The host organization has a two-week period within which they need to review and interview the candidates PiAf has presented to them. By the end of the two weeks, the organization notifies PiAf which candidate they select to be their Fellow. PiAf will then send an offer to that successful candidate and the candidate will have 3 days to consider the offer and get back to PiAf with a response. 

PiAf encourages candidates to consider this 2-week timeline part of their decision-making process. During this time they should be speaking with advisors, mentors and loved ones, doing online research on the host organization and reading Fellow reports on the post (if available) to decide if this post would be a good fit for them. PiAf only sends a few candidates forward for each post so chances are high that a candidate who interviews with a host organization could be made an offer. We ask that only candidates who are seriously interested in the post agree to be put forward to prevent host organization staff from dedicating their valuable time to uninterested candidates.

You must submit an official and unofficial transcript from the US-accredited undergraduate institution you received a degree from. If you did not attend a US-accredited institution for undergrad, you must submit official and unofficial transcripts from the US-accredited graduate program you received a degree from. Graduating seniors should submit their most recent transcript. Nexus applicants should submit their undergraduate transcript.

Official Transcript

An official copy of your transcript is one that is emailed to the PiAf office in a format that is certified and sealed. You must have your institution’s registrar’s office email an official transcript directly to piafapp@princetoninafrica.org. This can be sent directly via email or through an online transcript verification service such as Parchment, Credentials Solutions or The National Student Clearinghouse. An official transcript can only be emailed to PiAf if your university provides official transcripts in an electronic format. These electronic transcripts are considered official documents and can be validated because they have been digitally signed and certified by your institution’s registrar’s office. The transcript should be sent from your university’s online system directly to PiAf. If your university does not offer electronic official transcripts, please contact your university’s registrar’s office for more information about ordering a digital official transcript. You can then email piafapp@princetoninafrica.org for further instructions. Please note, you cannot forward an electronic transcript to PiAf.

Unofficial Transcript

In order to submit the application, you will need to upload an unofficial copy of your transcript to the online application. This unofficial copy is merely a scan of your official transcript once it has been removed from the official envelope provided by your university’s registrar’s office or downloaded via your university’s online records system (remember that once the transcript is unsealed it becomes unofficial). Since you are submitting one transcript to PiAf with your application, you may need to order two copies of the transcript from your registrar’s office (one to open and upload to the online application and one that will be emailed to the PiAf office). If your unofficial transcript is an electronic version, please be sure that the PDF is not digitally sealed or coded in a way that it will expire or not be visible to multiple users. Some electronic official transcripts will have expiration coding; it is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that your unofficial transcript will remain available to the Review Panel during the entire application and review timeline (through February after the application deadline).

Note: Each university has its own system for the procurement and delivery of official transcripts. Please contact your university with questions regarding this process.

Due to the volume of materials received, it is impossible for us to confirm the receipt of every applicant’s individual application materials. Please do not call or email the office to ask if your materials have been received. Instead, contact your institution’s registrar’s office or the person who is submitting your letter of recommendation with these inquiries.

You do not need to submit transcripts from a study abroad program or a school you transferred from.

Your letter of recommendation (LOR) should be written by an employer, volunteer supervisor or professor who knows you well and should pertain specifically to your application to Princeton in Africa. You might consider asking someone who can speak to your character as well as your skills, strengths, and abilities in the workplace, in a difficult or stressful setting, in a foreign country, in a leadership situation, or in tackling a significant academic project. Recommendation letters must be specific to your PiAf application and should focus on your leadership and past job/internship performance. The letter must be signed, dated and submitted as a PDF. 

Your application will not be complete until your recommender submits your LOR to our online form. Please have your recommender submit the letter this form by the application deadline. They should name the file “ApplicantLastname.ApplicantFirstname.LOR.”

When completing the LOR form, your recommender can include your email address so that you are notified when the letter is submitted. You may only ask ONE recommender to submit on your behalf.

We DO NOT assist in coordinating this process, answer requests for information about the submission of LORs or confirm the submission of LORs. All applicants are responsible for guaranteeing the submission of their LOR in advance of the deadline. Please be sure to request your recommendation letters well in advance and follow up with your recommender to ensure the letter of recommendation is submitted on time.

We recognize that applicants have diverse interests and may submit applications to other programs or organizations. This does not, in any way, affect your consideration for our fellowship. This information helps us get a better sense of you and what kind of fellowship post might be a good match.

PiAf does not have a minimum GPA requirement. Your academic record is just one component of your application which will be taken into consideration by the selection committee.

Interviews:

PiAf is now conducting all interviews virtually. Interviews will take place in January and more information will be provided in mid-December to those applicants who are invited to interview.

Pre-departure Orientation:

The pre-departure orientation program is mandatory for all Fellows. Orientation lasts 4-5 days and Fellows are required to be present for its entirety. Unfortunately, PiAf is unable to cover the costs of bringing Fellows to Princeton for orientation; applicants must be prepared to cover these costs themselves. However, housing and meals will be covered while in Princeton for orientation.

No. There is an application process for all host organizations each year. This process is completed before the closing of the fellowship application, for this reason, it is not possible for Fellows to suggest their own organization.

The Nexus Program

What is Nexus?

In 2023, Princeton in Africa expanded our model to include the Nexus program! Princeton in Africa Nexus pairs 5 Nexus Fellows educated and resident on the African continent with 5 general co-Fellows educated at U.S.-accredited institutions. These Fellows work together in the same host organizations on the African continent for a co-Fellow exchange of skills, knowledge, leadership, and technical expertise. The Nexus program is an addition to PiAf’s signature fellowship program tailored for young leaders educated at a U.S.-accredited institution.

The program is designed to enrich our Fellows’ experience and professional growth on the African continent and bring young professionals educated in African institutions into our community of over 700 alumni spanning all over the world. More information about the Nexus Program can be found here.

  • The eligibility requirements for the Nexus program can be found here.
  • Nexus Applicants must have citizenship in an African Country and have current residency in an African country (applicants with dual U.S. citizenship will not be considered).
  • Nexus Applicants must have an Undergraduate Degree or a Master’s degree (or equivalent), or a Ph.D. from an African University.
  • The application requirements for the Nexus program can be found here.

Princeton in Africa will be placing 5 Nexus Fellows via the Nexus Program for the 2024-25 cycle.

No, there is no limit to the number of applications PiAf will accept for this placement.

No, all African Fellows will be placed outside of their home countries.

If a candidate has a degree from a 4-year U.S. college or university, it would not make them ineligible as long as they also have a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or Ph.D. from an African university. Nexus applicants must have a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or Ph.D. from an African institution. Even if they have an additional degree from another country, the determining factor will be their current residence as they have to be residing on the African continent. If the candidate only has a degree from an accredited 4-year U.S. college or university they would be considered for the general fellowship program. Those who are African citizens, are graduates of African institutions and who have U.S. dual citizenship are not eligible to apply for Nexus.

Yes, African Fellows must attest that they have full professional proficiency in speaking, reading and writing English as defined by the US Department of State.

Selected Nexus Fellows are not required to attend the 2024-25 Orientation in person. However, they must attend all orientation sessions virtually and in real-time. 

Fellowship Experience

How long are fellowships and when do they begin/end?

Fellowships are 12 months long. Depending on the organizations where they are placed, Fellows will begin work between June – August 2024 and will complete their fellowship one year later, between June and August 2025. This timing largely depends on the needs of the fellowship organizations; please let us know early on if you have specific preferences in terms of timing but note that these preferences cannot always be accommodated. You must be prepared to make a 12-month commitment when applying to PiAf, so please consider this when finalizing your start date, especially when planning post-fellowship commitments such as graduate school.

It is recommended that new Fellows attempt to overlap with the previous Fellow in their position (where possible). Even if only for a few days, this overlap period will greatly assist the new Fellow with getting settled and oriented.

PiAf fellowships are only one year long. Some Fellows do remain with their host organization or elsewhere in Africa longer than one year, but they do so in their own capacity. (That is, they receive a job offer from the organization or they make their own arrangements to work/volunteer for another organization.)

  • Check out PiAf’s Website
  • Attend PiAf’s Information Session Webinar. Join our email list for more information.
  • Contact piafapp@princetoninafrica.org with questions and to get on our mailing list.
  • Read reports from former Fellows located here (Please email piafapp@princetoninafrica.org for login information).
  • Read the bimonthly Fellows Flyer located here
  • Read a list of Frequently Asked Questions about PiAf located here.

Note: Please do not call the PiAf office with application questions as we are unable to answer questions by phone. Please see the list of FAQs on the PiAf website.

Fellows must adhere to PiAf’s Travel Restrictions Policy.

Please note that Princeton in Africa (PiAf) has specific travel policies and restrictions in place for our Fellows. As of March 1, 2022, Princeton in Africa advises that Fellows MUST NOT travel to or through:

  • (1) Any country with a S. Department of State (DOS) Travel Advisory of Level 4 “Do not travel” (see here for more info)
  • (2) Any country with a S. Department of State (DOS) Travel Advisory of Level 3 “Reconsider travel” provided that the higher rating is based on any factors besides COVID-19. Travel to countries in this category shall require review and approval by staff in advance of any travel (see here for more info) UNLESS PiAf and the fellow have agreed to an exempted fellowship placement within a Level 3 country under the terms of section III.
  • (3) Any city or region specifically designated as “Do not travel” or “Reconsider travel” within the country’s S. Department of State Travel Advisory OR any city or region where travel restrictions are in place for U.S. government personnel (see here for more info) UNLESS PiAf and the fellow have agreed to an exempted fellowship placement under the terms of section III.
  • (4) Any country which has a S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Level 3 warning for diseases other than COVID-19 (see here for more info) or a CDC Level 4 warning.

Exceptions:

(5) The first exception to 1-4 above is when Fellows are traveling to/from their fellowship host country to begin or end their onsite fellowships or to/from the PiAf retreat, they may transit through U.S. Department of State Level 4 countries or U.S. CDC Level 4 countries ONLY if the Level 4 is due solely to COVID-19, and ONLY if Fellows do not leave the airport and if their transit time through the Level 4 country does not exceed 24 hours. Transit through U.S. Department of State Level 3 or 4 countries should only occur if there is no reasonable Transit through U.S. Department of State Level 3 or 4 countries whose levels are due to reasons other than COVID-19 is not permitted.

(6) The second exception to 1-4 above is when Fellows have agreed to a fellowship placement at a host site within a Level 3 country that has been specially vetted and approved under section III of this policy. Fellows in this circumstance are allowed to travel within PiAf-approved areas within their host country during the period of their fellowship. This travel approval may be amended, restricted, or rescinded at any time due to changing in-country conditions at the sole discretion of PiAf. This travel approval applies only to the assigned Fellow, and not to any visiting Fellows from other countries.

I.  Additional Specific Travel Restrictions & Clarifications:

  • All travel to refugee camps or settlements, with the exception of a camp that is also considered the primary location of a fellowship post, as agreed upon by PiAf and the host organization, is restricted. Under certain limited circumstances, upon advance written request, PiAf may authorize travel to certain locations in this subparagraph A.
  • Travel Restriction Policy applies to all travel during the fellowship year, including, but not limited to, travel to the host country at the onset of the fellowship and departure from the host country at the close of the fellowship. Restrictions apply equally to both transit countries and final destinations.
  • Further advisories may be provided by PiAf, during the fellowship year due to staff or the board’s concern for the safety of our Fellows as well as the potential limitations of our insurance provider in assisting Fellows with medical emergencies, medical evacuations or safety evacuations in countries outside of their fellowship post.
  • Travel to any country or location listed above will result in the immediate termination of a fellowship with no right of refund or other Fellows are responsible for remaining updated on all DOS, CDC & PiAf advisories, warnings and restrictions. PiAf reserves the right to request that Fellows alter travel plans that are not in compliance with our policies, without compensation to the Fellow.
  • Any additional costs incurred due to travel shall be the responsibility of the Fellow, including any testing or quarantine-related costs.
  • Note that PiAf’s travel restrictions may not cover country or regional travel restrictions due to COVID-19 or otherwise, including country restrictions against travelers from specific locations.

II. Waivers

(A) For countries or regions categorized as Level 3 “Reconsider travel” due to reasons outside of COVID-19 by the DOS and for refugee camps or settlements, PiAf will consider work-related waiver requests only if the travel is central to the Fellow’s work and if the supervisor submits a travel request form that provides detailed information about the travel arrangements and risk Waiver requests must be made at least 2 weeks in advance of travel. Each Fellow will be granted no more than five such travel restriction waivers over the course of their fellowship.

(B) Waivers will not be considered for personal travel nor for countries or regions categorized as Level 4 “Do not travel,” unless it is for travel to a Fellow’s primary country of residence. A primary country of residence is defined as the Fellow’s permanent address as listed in the Fellow’s VITALS form and/or the Fellow’s country of permanent residence. Such waivers are granted on a limited basis and are intended only as a means for Fellows to visit immediate family.

III. Site-Specific Assessment and Approval of Fellowship Sites within Level 3 Countries

(A) In rare cases, PiAf may consider fellowship placements within countries or regions categorized as Level 3 “Reconsider travel” due to reasons outside of COVID-19 by the In such cases, PiAf will conduct a thorough site-specific assessment of safety and security conditions.

(B) Mandatory criteria to be considered in the site-specific assessment will include:

  • International SOS rating of the locality (must be rated medium risk or lower; localities rated high risk will not be approved)
  • Current presence of other volunteer-sending organizations in the locality; volunteers from the U.S. Peace Corps, Fulbright program, UN Volunteers, Global Health Corps, or other similar international volunteer organizations must be present in the locality during the time of the assessment (localities with no current presence of other international volunteer organizations will not be approved)
  • Host organization’s assessment of local safety and security conditions, host organization’s health and safety policies, and host organization’s emergency plans

(C) Secondary criteria which may be considered in the site-specific assessment could include:

  • Safety reports from the Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC)
  • Travel advisories from other national governments (e.g., U.K. government, Australian government, European Union)
  • Cultural Insurance Services International Advisory

(D) The PiAf Health, Safety and Security Committee, in close consultation with PiAf staff, will review the safety assessment information collected above and will make a determination on-site approval. For any approved sites under this section, the Health, Safety and Security Committee will also set applicable restrictions on Fellow in-country travel or activities.  All placement approvals will be subject to amendment, restriction, or rescinding, based on changing security conditions.

PiAf fellowships are fully onsite. PiAf staff continue to actively monitor COVID-19 as well as other health or safety issues. There are a number of factors, such as sustained open borders, recommendations from the CDC and State Department and visa issuance, and the willingness of host organizations to have Fellows onsite, that would remain outside of Princeton in Africa’s control should the COVID-19 situation worsen. Please note that vaccinations will be required for all PiAf Fellows.

In the event that a Fellow is able to transition to an onsite post, Princeton in Africa will require the Fellow to be fully vaccinated and boosted for COVID-19 prior to traveling to their host country. Fellows are considered fully vaccinated and boosted:

  1. At least 14 days after receiving the final dose (including booster) of an FDA or WHO-approved vaccine
  2. Upon uploading evidence of vaccination to the Fellow Profile & VITALS section of the PiAf portal 

PiAf Fellows may be exempted from the immunization requirement if they do not have access to the COVID-19 vaccine, if there is a valid medical contraindication or due to their religious beliefs. Fellows seeking a medical exemption must submit a signed statement from a physician licensed to practice medicine, nurse practitioner, or clinical nurse specialist indicating that an immunization is medically contraindicated for a specific period of time, and explaining why based on a valid medical reason. Fellows seeking exemption based on their religious beliefs must submit a statement signed by a religious leader explaining how the administration of immunizing agents conflicts with their religious beliefs.  

A Fellow who is granted an exemption may not be able to transition to onsite even if all reverse tripwires are met, depending on the host country and host organization requirements.

These issues vary from country to country. For example, some countries have higher levels of crime than others. Fellows are advised to remain alert, to behave responsibly, and to be cautious about their activities.

PiAf’s Programs Committee vets each host organization and fellowship post and PiAf staff have regular check-ins with the staff in each office. Fellows are briefed at the mandatory pre-departure orientation on health, safety, and security, including preparation for emergencies and the importance of keeping abreast of local and regional news. All Fellows must comply with PiAf’s travel policies and restrictions and notify PiAf of any travel they do, in addition to any health, safety, or security issues they experience.

Along with medical insurance, PiAf provides medical evacuation coverage and security evacuation coverage to all Fellows when fellowships are onsite.

All PiAf Fellows will be expected to agree to PiAf’s commitment to diversity and no-tolerance policy for racism, discrimination or harassment.

The Princeton in Africa experience is an investment on the part of each Fellow, each host organization and Princeton in Africa. The following funding arrangements are in place.

Fellows should expect to cover:

$350 program placement fee, paid upon acceptance of a fellowship post.

Transportation to and from Princeton for the entire MANDATORY pre-departure orientation.

Round-trip air travel to and from their fellowship post in their host country.

Pre-departure medical expenses (e.g. immunizations, malaria prevention medications, personal medications). This also includes doctor or clinic costs associated with completing the mandatory medical clearance form. A Fellow may be able to cover some of the medical costs associated with health check-ups, immunizations, and malaria prevention directly from the stipend received from the fellowship organization. However, as each individual’s health needs are different, Fellows should be prepared to pay for pre-departure medical expenses out-of-pocket. Current students should visit their university health center for advice on necessary immunizations and preparations and to complete the medical clearance form.

In some cases, costs associated with acquiring visas and work permits.

Sundries and recreational travel.

Note: Princeton in Africa is committed to ensuring that all applicants are able to participate in the fellowship program without regard to need. Once placed in a fellowship organization, Fellows with a demonstrated financial need should speak directly with us. We will work with applicants to ensure that financial considerations do not prevent any applicant selected for a fellowship from participating.

Princeton in Africa/fellowship organizations aim to cover:

  • On the ground expenses, including housing and living stipend.*
  • Medical, medical evacuation and security evacuation insurance 
  • Housing and meals for onsite pre-departure orientation for all Fellows.
  • Mid-year retreat in Africa (including partial travel grant for travel to and from the retreat location). 

*The stipend is meant to cover the basic cost of living in your fellowship location (when posts are onsite), and will vary based on in-kind benefits provided by your host organization (including meals, housing, etc.). Stipends are carefully calculated to account for basic costs depending on location, but may not cover leisure travel or other extraneous expenses. For example, a stipend in a major city where housing, meals and transportation is not provided might be over $1000 USD per month, whereas a stipend for a Fellow living in a less urban area where housing meals and transportation are provided might be around $200 USD per month. Stipends are not meant to cover outside costs, including costs in Fellows’ home countries.

Fellows who have demonstrated need can apply for financial assistance; the application for financial assistance is available to Fellows upon accepting the fellowship.

The fellowship stipend is meant to cover the basic cost of living in your fellowship location (when posts are onsite), and will vary based on in-kind benefits provided by your host organization (including meals, housing, etc.). Stipends are carefully calculated to account for basic costs depending on location, but may not cover leisure travel or other extraneous expenses. For example, a stipend in a major city where housing, meals and transportation are not provided might be over $1000 USD per month, whereas a stipend for a Fellow living in a less urban area where housing, meals and transportation are provided might be around $200 USD per month. Stipends are not meant to cover outside costs, including costs in Fellows’ home countries.

Fellows who have demonstrated need can apply for financial assistance; the application for financial assistance is available to Fellows upon accepting the fellowship.

Please note that basic costs of living likely will not be fully covered if fellowships are moved to a remote setting due to an emergency situation.

Your work environment will depend on the host organization with which you work. Some Fellows work closely with a supervisor or colleagues; others work more independently. Some Fellows work in offices that are filled with country-national staff; others work with a high number of international staff members. Some Fellows are based in an organization’s main country office and occasionally take trips to the field; others are based in rural areas where every day feels like fieldwork. It is important to remember that all work environments have pros and cons, and that PiAf will do its best to match you with a work environment that is the best fit. We encourage you to read the Fellows’ Reports in our reports data base (you will need to email piafapp@princetoninafrica.org for the login information) to learn more about Fellows’ day-to-day work experiences at various posts.

Community building among Fellows in the same fellowship class as well as among alumni is an important component of our fellowship program. PiAf encourages Fellows to be in touch with each other before, during and after the fellowship year. Although they may be working in different countries with dissimilar organizations on unrelated issues, PiAf Fellows often have many things in common and can therefore greatly support each other.

The amount of contact Fellows actually have with each other depends on the available posts. For example, some Fellows are based in the same city and thus it is likely that their social circles may cross or they may even choose to share an apartment. Other Fellows may be in different cities in the same country or region; these Fellows may see each other less frequently but visit each other on weekends or holidays. Others may be the only Fellows in their host countries.

A Fellow’s social life will depend on where they are placed. Major urban areas generally offer a larger social scene and a variety of shops, restaurants, bars, and other locales that Fellows may enjoy frequenting. In smaller cities and more rural areas, Fellows may find fewer foreigners, but the opportunities for interaction with community members may be easier to come by. We encourage you to read the Fellows’ Reports in our reports data base (you will need to email piafapp@princetoninafrica.org for the login information) to learn more about Fellows’ experiences at various posts.

PiAf provides support to Fellows as they transition into (and, at the end of the year, out of) their respective placements; PiAf also assists Fellows in case of an emergency. It is therefore important that Fellows keep in touch with PiAf about their travel and their whereabouts. Fellows are required to let PiAf staff know when they travel, if they become sick or injured, or if they have a security incident. A member of PiAf’s staff will also check in with each Fellow regularly throughout the year, and will be available for check-ins as needed.

Fellows must adhere to all PiAf policies, including the Travel Restrictions Policy that lists locations Fellows must not travel to during their fellowship year.

Fellows are also required to submit formal reports about their fellowships throughout the year (at the 3-month mark, the 6-month mark, and at the conclusion of the fellowship) as well as participate in PiAf communications through submitting materials for the bimonthly Fellows Flyer newsletter, Fellow Instagram Takeovers, or other media. PiAf Fellows whose posts are sponsored are required to submit updates about their posts to the sponsor.

Fellows may also be asked to assist PiAf in other ways, such as offering guidance to prospective Fellows or providing additional feedback or information about their location, fellowship, or organization.

Princeton in Africa advises each applicant to speak to their campus’s financial aid office when looking into deferring loans. Fellows must coordinate with their loan providers directly to defer their loans. However, PiAf can provide supplemental documentation explaining that the Fellow is participating in the yearlong PiAf program.

Yes, it is possible to apply to such programs while abroad. Based on your location, you may face some challenges in Internet connectivity or find other challenges. However, Fellows have successfully navigated this process in the past, even taking graduate entrance exams while in Africa. If you anticipate the need to travel for an extended period of time for interviews, you must discuss this early with Princeton in Africa and the host organization, ideally during the interview process.