Joining Worlds


In what countries are the Shansi Fellows located?

The Shansi Fellows are located in China, India, Indonesia and Japan.

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 and to those who have graduated from Oberlin within the past there years. Alumni who have graduated in 2011, 2012 and 2013 are eligible to apply this year.  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 culture and language.

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. The only exception is the fellowship at Beijing Normal University (BNU). The applicant selected for the fellowship at BNU needs to have previous experience living in China and to have a satisfactory proficiency in Chinese to fully take advantage of the opportunities the fellowship affords. The faculty of the East Asian Studies Program will determine the applicant’s level of proficiency in Chinese. This fellowship is designed to benefit a serious student of Chinese Language and Literature.

Shansi Fellows enroll in intensive summer language programs prior to the beginning of their terms and continue to improve their language skills throughout their fellowships. Ability to communicate in the local language is important and allows our fellows to go beyond casual contact with the host culture.

What does the fellowship cover?

Fellowship receive the following benefits:

  • Pre-departure cultural and site-specific orientation and training in Teaching English as a Second Language (ESL);
  • Summer intensive language study, including, tuition, housing, books, and travel. Intensive language training will be provided only during the summer prior to starting the fellowship (fellows going to Beijing Normal University will not have summer intensive study);
  • International airfare to fellowship location and return airfare provided after the completion of the fellowship;
  • Shipping allowance of $300 to fellowship site and $350 from fellowship site at the end of the fellowship term;
  • Major medical and medical evacuation insurance during the fellowship;
  • Monthly stipend to cover living expenses provided by Shansi or the host institution;
  • An annual $1,500 travel grant for fellows to travel in Asia.  The fellow must complete the required reports by the specified deadlines to be eligible for the grant;
  • Re-entry grant of $500 at the end of the term for fellows who have completed all of the required reports by the specified deadlines; and
  • Fellows will need to have a complete physical examination, relevant vaccinations, and certain 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. Fellows must use their own insurance coverage before applying to Shansi for funds to cover the medical preparations.
  • Additionally, Shansi Fellows may be eligible for student loan deferments. This can be reviewed with the lenders and the Oberlin College Student Aid office. Fellows going to Japan may be the exception and may not be eligible for loan deferments.  Japan fellows must contact their lenders to discuss these financial arrangements.

Do I have to apply in my senior year?

No, you can apply for the Shansi Fellowship up until three years after graduating from Oberlin. This year, current seniors (Class of 2015) and the Classes of 2014, 2013, and 2012 are eligible to apply.

What do I do on the fellowship?

While every fellowship experience is unique both to the site and the Fellow, all fellowship recipients spend their terms learning the languages and cultures of their host communities. Depending on the institutional partner, fellows may teach English, assist with curricular and extra-curricular activities, or provide support to a non-governmental organization depending on the needs of the organization and the skills of the fellow. The partner institutions provide the schedules and descriptions of areas of responsibility and in many cases, collaborate with the fellow to define their work plans. 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.

Do I need to have teaching experience?

No, you do not need to have teaching experience to apply for the Shansi Fellowships that include teaching responsibilities. In fact, newly selected Fellows spend their Winter Term at Oberlin taking an intensive workshop in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) while attending an orientation program run by Shansi. If you have teaching experience as a tutor or by volunteering in local schools, etc. it is considered a plus.

How many fellowships are being offered this year?

There are nine available fellowships for 2015: three in China (two at Shanxi Agricultural University and one at Beijing Normal University), two in Japan at J.F. Oberlin University, two in India (one at Jagori Grameen, and one at Lady Doak College) and two in Indonesia (one at Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta, and one at Syiah Kuala University in Banda Aceh).

When will I find out?

Completed applications are screened by members of the Shansi Board, a process that generally takes about two weeks. Following this initial screening process, all applicants are notified of the results.  Some applicants will be invited for interviews. The applicants who are selected for interviews will be asked to contact the Shansi Office to select an interview time. There is no travel funding for graduates living outside of Oberlin who are selected for interviews. 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 can be arranged.

Interviews are conducted in November and notice to the candidates is sent prior to the December deadline for Winter Term registration. Selected fellows are required to spend their Winter Term in Oberlin for training in Teaching English as a Second Language and orientation sessions. 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 Fellowships are announced.