Chul Kim ’15, Fellow 2015-2017, helps a student at the Writing Support Center at J.F. Oberlin University in Japan.
How many Fellowships are going to be awarded this year? Where are the sites?
There are eight available Fellowships that will begin in Summer 2020:
two in China (one at Shanxi Agricultural University in Taigu, and one at Beijing Normal University in Beijing)
one at an NGO in India
two in Indonesia (one at Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta, and one at Syiah Kuala University in Banda Aceh)
two in Japan (one at J.F. Oberlin University in Machida, and one in Hiroshima)
one Independent Fellowship that allows recent Oberlin graduates the opportunity to develop their own full-time Shansi Fellowship in China, India, Indonesia, or Japan
Who is eligible for the Fellowships? Do I need to have a certain major to apply for the Shansi Fellowship?
The Shansi Fellowships are open to all Oberlin College and Conservatory seniors in all majors and departments. Students graduating in 2020, and alums who graduated in the past three years (2019, 2018, and 2017) are eligible to apply. International students are eligible for a Fellowship but not in their home countries.
More important than a given major are personal qualities and characteristics such as responsibility, adaptability, flexibility, an ability to work with others, and a sincere desire to learn about another culture and language and to share one’s own.
Do I need to have a certain language training or background?
There is no language proficiency requirement to apply for a Fellowship. While previous language training is not required, a demonstrated track record of foreign language acquisition is certainly a plus. Ability to communicate in the local language is important and allows our Fellows to go beyond casual contact with the host culture. Depending on the site, a Fellow will enroll in intensive summer language training that may begin in the early part of the summer.
The only exceptions are the Fellowships at Beijing Normal University (BNU) and Hiroshima. The applicants selected for the Fellowships at BNU or Hiroshima need to start with proficiency in Chinese or Japanese in order to work effectively in their site environments. The faculty of the East Asian Studies Program will determine the applicant’s level of proficiency in Chinese and Japanese.
What does the Fellowship cover?
Fellowship receive the following benefits:
Training in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) for English teaching Fellowship sites
Summer intensive language study, including: tuition, housing, books, and travel. Intensive language training will only be provided during the summer prior to the start of the Fellowship (Fellows going to Beijing Normal University will not have summer intensive study.)
International airfare to the Fellowship location and return airfare provided after the completion of the Fellowship
Major medical and evacuation insurance during the Fellowship
Monthly stipend to cover living expenses provided by Shansi or the host institution
A $1,500 professional development and travel grant for Fellows to travel in Asia
Fellows will need to have a complete physical examination, relevant vaccinations, and certain obtain prescriptions before leaving the United States. Shansi will cover pre-departure medical preparations that are not covered by the Fellow or Fellow’s family insurance up to $2,000. Fellows must use their own insurance coverage before applying to Shansi for funds to cover the medical preparations.
Shansi Fellows may be eligible for federal student loan deferments upon review with their respective lenders.
Do I need to have teaching experience for the Site-specific Fellowships?
No, you do not need to have teaching experience to apply for the Shansi Fellowships that include teaching responsibilities. All newly selected Fellows for Summer 2020 departure are required to take a three-week orientation during January that includes training in Teaching English as a Second Language. Any teaching experience as a tutor or by volunteering in local school will be considered a plus.
When will I find out if I am accepted?
Completed applications are screened by members of a committee. Once an applicant accepts the Fellowship, it is understood that the new Fellow will not accept any other Fellowship offers that are announced after the Shansi Fellowship is announced.
There is no travel funding to come to Oberlin for interviews for applicants who live outside of Oberlin. These off-campus interviewees may return to Oberlin for a face-to-face interview, but in cases where this is not feasible, telephone, or Skype interviews will be arranged.
What do I do on the Fellowship?
While every Fellowship experience is unique both to the site and the Fellow, all learn the languages and cultures of their host communities. The partner institution provides the schedule and descriptions of areas of responsibility. Fellowship recipients are expected to meet these schedules and to cooperate with their host institutions. Additionally, Fellows are encouraged to pursue individual projects on their own that will enrich their understanding of their host country.
Can I apply for more than one Fellowship?
Yes, applicants can apply for more than one Fellowship site. On the application you will choose your preferred Fellowship site choice along with any alternative sites you may be interested in.
If you choose to apply for both a site-specific Fellowship and the Independent Fellowship, you will have to write an additional essay. For tips on how to write a statement of purpose when applying for more than one Fellowship, feel free to contact the Shansi office for assistance.