Are you looking for some way to pay for a unique international internship or research opportunity next summer? Or maybe you’re feeling worn out and need an even longer break from the rigors of vet school. How about a year long sabbatical, in which you gain valuable connections and experience while also getting to travel the world?
The Boren Fellowship is a unique program that provides the funding necessary for U.S. graduate students to spend a minimum of 12 weeks and maximum of two years studying overseas. You can receive up to $24,000, which can be used to cover everything from travel to insurance to housing and language courses. That might not seem like a lot of money, but it should be more than enough to cover all your expenses for up to a year away from vet school.
I applied for and received a fellowship that enabled me to spend time in Mozambique studying Portuguese and working on a Newcastle disease virus program and interning with the national wildlife veterinarian. You can read more about my experience and see lots of photos here.
As long as you are doing the required language study, the fellowship program doesn’t get too involved in how you spend your time. They do require that your study program and future goals relate in a broad way to national security, which encompasses “not only the traditional concerns of protecting and promoting American well-being, but also the challenges of global society, including: sustainable development, environmental degradation, global disease and hunger, population growth and migration, and economic competitiveness.” This makes for a very flexible experience and explains how I could be involved in both the agricultural development program and the wildlife veterinary side of things.
As with most funding sources, this one comes with a few little quirks.
First, you can only study a language in a country that is critical to U.S. national security interests, as defined by the National Security Education Program. Second, you will incur a one year Service Requirement if you receive a Boren Fellowship. This must be spent working in any area of the Federal Government, so for veterinarians that could be the Army, USDA/APHIS, CDC, NIH, etc. This was easy for me since I was already committed to service in the Army from my Health Professions Scholarship Program, and the commitments ran at the same time.
Given the generous nature of the funding available, the Boren Fellowship comes with some pretty hefty application requirements. Don’t let that scare you off, though! If you plan things ahead of time, you should have plenty of time to put together some compelling essays and make the necessary contacts for a competitive application.
Once you start going on this funding scavenger hunt, you’ll realize that you can also reuse a lot of your essays for different applications with only a few tweaks here and there. Remember, your goal is to sell yourself and your unique contributions as a veterinary student in the most appealing way possible.
The deadline for the application is January 28, 2014.
P.S. Don’t forget to head on over to this post for more details and photos about my own experience in Mozambique.