The Cultural Vistas Fellowship is a summer internship program that annually provides 10 or more underrepresented U.S. university students, with full funding, support, and the unique opportunity to advance their career goals and experience life in another culture.
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Summer 2018: Civic Engagement + Youth Involvement
For the summer of 2018, Cultural Vistas will select up to 12 fellows to take part in this multinational professional development program that includes eight-week summer internships in Argentina, Germany, and India. This fellowship opportunity is funded by Cultural Vistas.
The fifth class of Cultural Vistas Fellows will enrich their academic learning through professional internship and immersion experiences focused on civic engagement and youth involvement during the summer of 2018. One cohort of up to four fellows will travel to each international destination.
- All program-related travel expenses, including round-trip airfare to and within one’s internship country; as well as travel to New York City for pre-departure and reentry seminars is covered
- Internship placement in Argentina, Germany, or India
- Accommodations throughout program, including pre-departure and reentry seminars
- Virtual learning seminar
- Pre-departure support services
- Cultural orientation upon arrival in host country
- Visa application support (where applicable)
- Emergency medical insurance during internship phase
The Cultural Vistas Fellowship will take place in five distinct phases:
- Virtual learning component to orient fellows to their host country and each other, discuss issues related to civic engagement and youth involvement, and prepare for their time abroad
- Pre-departure orientation in New York City for fellows to meet, share learning goals, and prepare for their international internships
- Eight-week internships in Buenos Aires, Berlin, and Bangalore. During this phase, fellows will take part in an online learning exchange to process and provide comparative analyses of their experiences.
- Reentry seminar in New York City bringing together fellows to reflect on their experiences and share what they learned during the program
- Post-program “Fellows in Service” activities that highlight the learning acquired on campuses and in local communities
|January 5||Application deadline*|
|Early February||Interviews take place|
|Late February||$200 deposit due to Cultural Vistas**|
|Mid-March||Virtual seminar series begins (6 weeks)|
|By Mid-May||Internship placements confirmed|
|End of May||Pre-departure orientation in New York City|
|Beginning of June||Departure from New York City for internship destinations|
|Orientation in internship countries|
|June – end of July||Internship phase|
|Beginning of August||Return to New York City; reentry seminar|
*Applications must be submitted and original documents must be received by 11:59 pm EST.
**Deposit refundable upon successful completion of all fellowship components.
Please note that all dates are subject to change.
Candidates for the Cultural Vistas Fellowship must meet the following requirements:
- U.S. citizens enrolled full-time as an undergraduate student at a four-year accredited U.S. college or university
- Sophomore or junior academic status at the time of application; preferred minimum GPA of 3.0
- Ages 18-30
- No formal prior work or study abroad experiences
- Prior knowledge of language of host country
- This is applicable in Germany and Argentina only
Strong preference will be given to students historically underrepresented in international exchange. This includes, but is not limited to Pell Grant recipients; veterans; first-generation college students; STEM majors; members of minority communities within the United States; and non-traditional students.
Funding + Financial Information
Driven by our commitment to provide more Americans with opportunities to gain meaningful international work experience, Cultural Vistas’ Board of Directors approved that designated reserve scholarship funds be used to establish this multinational fellowship program in 2012.
The fellowship covers program-related travel (airfare, in-country travel), accommodations, internship placement, emergency medical insurance, applicable visa expenses, and some group meals. Most costs are subsidized by the fellowship award. However, fellows are expected to cover the costs of passports, food, and additional spending money while abroad. These costs are not expected to exceed $835 (excluding spending money).
The Cultural Vistas Fellowship is funded by Cultural Vistas. It charges no application fee to incentivize prospective applicants to apply regardless of financial constraints. Once accepted to the program, fellows are expected to pay a deposit of $200, which is refundable upon successful completion of the program.
Fellows in Service
To allow the Cultural Vistas Fellowship to have a greater impact beyond its participants, Cultural Vistas Fellows are required to carry out an educational or service project upon their return home that helps promote international understanding and exchange.
This project can be conducted on the student’s home campus or in their local community, and must be completed during the fall semester directly following their fellowship experience. All Cultural Vistas Fellows must submit a project proposal within their application. This proposal will be reviewed as part of the application process.
Cultural Vistas Fellowship applicants should consider the following when proposing a “Fellows in Service” project:
- Who is my target audience?
- How can I publicize my service project?
- Could I work with an office or organization on campus or in the community to promote my project? Could it further work they are already doing?
Cultural Vistas encourages applicants to think creatively about how to share the learning acquired during their experience and inspire others to engage with the project themes and takeaways. The “Fellows in Service” projects should be multi-faceted, of service to the greater community, and highly interactive.
Cultural Vistas Fellows should submit a small portfolio of their “Fellows in Service” projects once completed
Students submit applications to Cultural Vistas, which processes and reviews the applications. Once fellows are selected, Cultural Vistas coordinates with its partners abroad for internship placements that best meet the needs and interests of the student interns.
The internship placement process may take several months, and some fellows will learn of placements sooner than others.
Fellows are expected to be proactive, updating materials as required, researching work culture in their respective host countries, following up with information requested, and always keeping Cultural Vistas informed of any changes in student status, health, logistical matters, or other relevant changes.
Internship Host Sites
Internships will be secured in various companies and organizations in Berlin and Buenos Aires. All internship placements in Bangalore will be at non-governmental organizations. Host sites and interns are matched based on many factors, including academic achievement and background, and specific goals of the interns.
Since matching a host company with an intern is a delicate task with many factors involved, the priority is to find an appropriate company match, regardless of location in each of the three destinations. Keep in mind that, while the host company placement is important, the fellow plays an integral role in making the internship a positive and fulfilling experience.
Tasks for interns are as diverse as the host companies, cultures, and the fellows. Some hosts will expect interns to work rather independently, while others will prefer to supervise their work closely. At the end of the internship, the intern may be expected to present a final project to the host site and Cultural Vistas.
Cultural Vistas Fellows are expected to maintain an open mind regarding internship placements, and must be willing to share their background and experience with their hosts or supervisors, which will enhance the understanding of ways to work across cultures.
Prior knowledge of German and Spanish for placements in Berlin and Buenos Aires respectively, is required. Cultural Vistas expects fellows to make efforts to speak in the language of the host culture where applicable.
Fellows may be expected to provide some English language guidance for host company initiatives during the internships.
The Cultural Vistas Fellowship includes several orientations designed to prepare fellows for getting the most from their overseas experiences. The virtual seminar will prepare fellows for the international components of the program.
A pre-departure orientation will be delivered in-person in New York City, the departure city for all fellows to their international destinations. Cultural orientations will also take place in each international destination upon arrival.
The fellowship covers the costs of accommodations throughout the program, including orientation and reentry seminar accommodations in New York City, and accommodations abroad.
The Cultural Vistas Fellowship covers travel costs, including a stipend for travel to New York City for orientation, international roundtrip airfare, and program-related travel in the host countries. Fellows are expected to spend the entire duration of their program completing their internship. Personal travel should not interfere with the completion of the internship.
Cultural Vistas works with dedicated overseas partners in Argentina, Germany, and India to ensure that participants have the necessary documentation for participation in the Cultural Vistas Fellowship. Cultural Vistas expects participants to have applied for or hold a valid U.S. passport prior to accepting the fellowship.
Cultural Vistas and its overseas partners will provide support and guidance for fellows who have questions or concerns about any necessary visa applications.
Virtual Learning Seminar
The virtual learning seminar serves several purposes. The seminar intends to familiarize participants with the structure and intended outcomes of the program; provide a space in which participants get to know each other; orient fellows to the theme of civic engagement and youth involvement and provide international perspectives on this theme; prepare the fellows for international travel; and allow opportunities for fellows to ask questions about the program.
The seminar requires weekly work and attention from accepted fellows in the spring term; during the internship, collaboration will continue in the form of less-regular but important meetings and forums, in which participants will be asked to submit pieces on their experiences. The seminar concludes when the participants arrive back to the United States for their reentry activities and debriefing.
Cultural Vistas will enroll each fellow in emergency medical insurance coverage for the duration of the program. Fellows should maintain their home-based primary care coverage throughout the program as secondary insurance coverage.
How to Apply
The Cultural Vistas Fellowship application must be submitted online no later than 11:59 p.m. EST on January 5, and any supporting documents not submitted online or via email must arrive in hard copy by the same date.
Please review these instructions before completing and submitting your application:
- You may log into, edit and log out of your application at any time until you have clicked on the “Submit” button. Once an application has been submitted, it is considered final. Please make sure to click “Save” in each section you edit before exiting your application to ensure that all data is saved.
- Prior to submitting your application, please be sure to review the information you provided very carefully by clicking on the “Review and Submit” tab. On the last page of this section you will be able to view a print version of your application, which you can save and keep for your records.
- Once you have submitted your application, you will not be permitted to view or make any changes to the information you provided.
- We recommend saving your résumé and answers to the short essay questions as PDF files in order to avoid formatting issues.
The following documents are required as part of your Cultural Vistas Fellowship application:
To be uploaded by the applicant in the “Documents” section:
- Current résumé/CV
- Answers to the short essay questions
Each of the following questions should be answered with a maximum of 200 words:
- Please describe your understanding of the term civic engagement OR youth involvement. Explain how you demonstrate a commitment to your chosen concept in your program of study, volunteer or professional experience. Why do you think your host country is a good place to learn about this concept?
- What sort of work could you realistically see yourself doing in your host country, given your foreign language abilities and/or previous work/volunteer/academic experience? What are some hard skills you can offer your host organization?
- What do you envision will be valuable about your internship experience in the host country? Please identify two professional and two personal objectives you intend to meet during your experience.
- Describe your vision and goals for your “Fellows in Service” project.
- Keeping in mind the goals of the Cultural Vistas Fellowship, please explain why you believe you deserve this opportunity over other candidates in one sentence.
- Copy of the picture page of your passport/birth certificate
- If you are applying for the program in Argentina or Germany, we require a copy of your current résumé or CV in the language of the country of destination. Therefore, either Spanish (example) or German (example), depending on where you would like to go.
To be submitted either in hard copy or electronically:
- Official undergraduate transcript(s)
These may either be uploaded to your online application, emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org, or mailed directly to the Cultural Vistas Fellowship in a sealed envelope. Please do not submit copies or scans of your diploma verifying your degree. Instead, we require a transcript that contains a list of courses you completed and grades you received.
- Two letters of recommendation
Recommenders should be recent professors and supervisors who can attest to the student’s professional or educational abilities – at least one from someone who knows you in a professional capacity. Recommendations should either submitted by the recommender via the online system or mailed in a sealed envelope to the Cultural Vistas Fellowship. Please note: regardless of the method of submission, letters of recommendation must be on letterhead and be hand-signed by the recommender. Additionally, please note that all letters of recommendation must be in English and should be addressed to the Cultural Vistas Fellowship Selection Committee. Please submit no more than two letters.
The following documents are optional and can be uploaded online by the applicant in the “Documents” section:
If you choose to upload a photo, please be sure that it is a professional-looking image that depicts you alone.
Please mail any hard copy materials to the following address:
Attn: Cultural Vistas Fellowship
440 Park Avenue South, 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10016
Please do not submit any documents other than those outlined above. Please note that we are unable to return application materials.
Inside the Cultural Fellowship Experience
In 2016, the Cultural Vistas Fellowship was cited as one of the most innovative new international internship programs in GoAbroad’s annual Innovation Awards. The purpose of these awards is to acknowledge institutions, organizations, and individuals who are creating initiatives to move the field of international education forward, and to commend leaders in the community for their efforts to go beyond the conventional.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will I have an opportunity to travel while interning abroad?
Cultural Vistas encourages you to explore as much as possible during your time abroad; however, please keep in mind that you are an employee at a company. Therefore, you are expected to attend work according to the expectations of your employer.
What are your citizenship requirements?
Only U.S. citizens are eligible. Dual citizens may apply, as long as they possess a U.S. passport. Permanent residents or citizens of other nations may not apply.
Is the program open to community college students?
Students who have completed two years of community college and are enrolled full-time for the following term at a four-year accredited university are eligible to apply for the fellowship. All fellows must have the status of an enrolled student to participate on the program.
What fields are candidates chosen from?
The current focus of this fellowship is on civic engagement and youth involvement. Interested applicants should have a background – educational, professional, or volunteer – that shows their interest in and commitment to this focus.
What is meant by 'civic engagement and youth involvement'?
Cultural Vistas encourages applicants to draw on a broad definition of ‘civic engagement and youth involvement’ when considering the fellowship program.
Civic engagement means working to make a difference in the civic life of our communities and developing the combination of knowledge, skills, values and motivation to make that difference. It means promoting the quality of life in a community, through both political and non-political processes. A morally and civically responsible individual recognizes himself or herself as a member of a larger social fabric, and to take action when appropriate.
Youth participation is the active engagement of young people throughout their own communities. It is often used as a shorthand for youth participation in any many forms, including decision-making, sports, schools and any activity where young people are not historically engaged.
We encourage you to think creatively about your own interpretation of the theme. Your internship in your target country does not necessarily need to be directly involved in the theme of the program, but all Fellows are expected to engage with the theme throughout program-related orientations and seminars.
Excerpts from Civic Responsibility and Higher Education, edited by Thomas Ehrlich, published by Oryx Press, 2000.
What kind of candidates are you looking for?
This fellowship is meant for students who have not had the opportunity to study, intern, or live abroad before. Strong preference will be given to applicants from underrepresented groups. This includes, but is not limited to: Pell Grant recipients; veterans; first-generation college students; STEM majors; members of minority communities within the United States; and non-traditional students. Cultural Vistas recognizes a broad definition of the term ‘underrepresented.’
Applicants should be able to demonstrate their interest and commitment to civic engagement and youth involvement, and be passionate about the potential for the international exchange of ideas in this field. They should be open-minded, flexible, and curious about cultures other than their own.
What is involved in the application process?
You can move forward with your online application by clicking the “Request an Application” button. After you have provided some background information about yourself, we will email you a password granting access to our online application system.
Upon submission of a completed application and all supporting documents, Cultural Vistas will schedule an interview with selected candidates. During this interview, we will assess your abilities, language skills, and career goals and will answer any questions you may have. After a successful interview, you will be formally accepted into the program and we will begin the search for an appropriate internship.
Will I get to choose the country of my internship?
The final decision in regards to country assignment will be made by the selection committee. Students will note their internship country of choice in the application, but many factors will be considered. For example, to be considered for internships in Germany and Argentina, the applicants need to have German and Spanish proficiency, respectively.
Will my internship be paid or unpaid?
All internships are unpaid.
What sort of work will I do at my internship?
The internship positions will be entry-level, supporting the work of seasoned professionals. We encourage fellows to keep an open mind about the work they will be involved in at their internships. All placements will have a focus on deep cultural immersion and gaining new perspectives on how people think and work in another culture.
Who arranges the internships?
Cultural Vistas works together with partner organizations in Argentina, Germany and India to secure internship placements for the fellows.
What language will I speak during my internship?
To the greatest extent possible, the working languages will be Spanish (Argentina) and German (Germany). In India, fellows will speak English.
Where will I live during the program?
Cultural Vistas’ in-country partner organizations will arrange housing for the duration of the fellows’ stay abroad. Depending on availability, accommodations could be either shared or independent, in residences such as student dormitories, apartments, or host families.
Fellows should recognize that a certain degree of flexibility will be necessary to adjust to other customs and ways of life, as well as to adjust to the difference of living standards that exists between the United States and other countries.
Are there additional scholarships available?
Because the Cultural Vistas Fellowship covers the majority of participant costs, the Cultural Vistas Scholarship Fund is not available to fellows. However, participants are encouraged to seek additional funding and scholarships through their home institutions and other organizations.
What's expected for the “Fellows in Service” component of the program?
Please see Fellows in Service.
Do I need a visa?
U.S. citizens are able to enter and stay in Argentina for up to 90 days with their U.S. passport.
Fellows will receive a residency permit that will allow them to intern for the duration of their stay.
U.S. citizens planning to intern in India (even unpaid) are required to possess a valid visa. Cultural Vistas and its partner in India will assist fellows in securing the appropriate visa.
Does the program cover health insurance?
Students will be provided emergency health insurance coverage while they are abroad. They should keep their U.S.-based insurance during the program.
Do I need to speak Spanish or German?
The minimum language requirement for this program is two years of university-level language instruction in Spanish or German (or the equivalent) if the student is interested in interning in Argentina or Germany, respectively. This means that the student should have taken or placed into the equivalent of four semesters of his or her target language by the beginning of the fellowship. The student’s language skills will be assessed during the interview process.
What kinds of companies offer internships?
Internships placements can be in a number of different types of establishments. For example: nonprofits, educational or community centers, foundations, small family-owned businesses, governmental institutions, corporations, engineering firms, etc.
How long does the placement process take?
This process can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months after acceptance into the program. The fellow’s personal resume and previous experience coupled with each employer’s respective schedule often dictates how quickly a position can be found.
What is the $200 deposit for, and when will I get it back?
This is required to ensure participation on the fellowship, and to cover any outstanding balances that might be accrued during your time abroad. The student will receive the $200 deposit back after successful completion of the fellowship (including the Fellows in Service portion) without incident.
Will I receive school credit for my internship?
Credit is given at the discretion of each respective college or university. Be sure to speak with a coordinator (at many institutions this would be an academic, study abroad, or career advisor) at your school before beginning the internship to arrange proper credit. Cultural Vistas is able to provide a letter certifying participation in the program should the university request it.