Frequently Asked Questions About the APF Fellows Program


What is the purpose of the Fellows program?

The APF Fellows Program allows students, recent graduates, and young professionals to serve in an organization in Pakistan while being immersed in the local culture. The program aims to facilitate long-term professional, economic, and cultural connections between Americans and Pakistanis that create positive socio-economic change in Pakistan.


Where do Fellows work?

APF places fellows in one of six programs managed by the National Rural Support Programme (NRSP), which works with over 3.4 million poor households organized into a network of 216,873 community organizations. Fellows are primarily based at the NRSP headquarters in Islamabad, with fieldwork carried out in rural areas of Pakistan.


What does it cost to participate?

This is a volunteer based position. Fellows pay for direct participation costs including round trip airfare; food; travel insurance; visa fees; and miscellaneous expenses. Total trip costs average to $3,000/fellow. Housing, placement related transportation, and airport pick-up and drop-offs are provided by host organization. Program administrative costs are covered by APF and host organization.


Who is eligible to apply?

Anyone who is: 18 years of age or older by June 22; currently enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program or have graduated after summer of 2015; and a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and living in the United States. Those who are still in high school (including seniors) are not eligible to apply.


What is a typical work week for a Fellow?

For the NRSP program in Islamabad, the usual volunteer working hours are 9:00-5:00 PM, Monday-Friday. If traveling for fieldwork, hours and locations may vary and Fellows may be commuting during the weekend. Changes in the standard schedule are decided once a Fellow commits to fieldwork.

Where will I live and how will I get around?

Local housing and transportation for fellows will be provided by NRSP both in Islamabad and during field visits. Fellows must arrange their own transportation for non-work related trips. Fellows are required to stay at the host provided housing and may not stay with family or friends for the duration of the fellowship.


Will I need a visa?

Depending on their status, Fellows will need to apply for visas to visit Pakistan. APF will assist and advice fellows through the visa application process.


Can Fellows post on social media or talk to the media?

APF requires any media engagements to be cleared in advance. We encourage Fellows to maintain a professional public image.


Can I get class credit?

APF will provide paperwork validating the internship should Fellows seek class credit and satisfactorily complete the program.


What is the duration of the fellowship?

Fellows live and work in Pakistan for eight weeks.


I’m not a student. Can I still apply?

Yes. As long as you meet the eligibility requirements, you can apply to be a Fellow.


Are scholarships available for Fellows?

There is the option to apply for a need based partial scholarship as part of the full application. Scholarships are not guaranteed and can vary in coverage based on financial need and availability of funding.


How is the program managed?

The APF Director of Community Engagement and the APF Fellows Program Coordinator work with a team of volunteers, interns, and former Fellows to manage the program. APF maintains active avenues of communication with NRSP and all Fellows throughout the program. NRSP manages program placements and local arrangements.


Can Fellows go site-seeing in their free time?

Yes. One of the benefits of the Fellows program is that participants learn about the culture, people, and history of Pakistan. Fellows must organize such trips in consultation with APF and NRSP staff. APF requires at least two fellows to travel together at all times.


What measures are taken in case of a natural disaster or if an attack takes place where Fellows are located?

In case of such an issue, APF holds its partner organizations to a high standard to have a safety response system in place and to ensure all Fellows are safe and accounted for.


What do Fellows work on?

NRSP places Fellows in one of several development programs. Placements are based on the experience and interest areas of the fellows. Previous focus areas include education, mico-finance, health, sanitation, poverty alleviation, and social media. Each fellow is required to work on a project or report for the program.


Are there reporting requirements for Fellows?

APF requires Fellows to write two articles about their experience and to complete a self designed project for APF. Select articles and projects are featured on the APF website and social media pages.


Is it safe?

APF provides a pre-departure orientation which outlines best practices and experiences regarding safety and security in Pakistan. APF also connects former Fellows with applicants to address questions about security and other topics.

Do I need to be fluent in a certain language, or can I get by with English?

There is no requirement for any linguistic fluency other than English but the program experience will be more beneficial with a basic understanding of languages, such as Urdu, Punjabi, Saraiki, and/or Pashto, which are commonly spoken in Pakistan’s rural areas.

What if I get sick?

APF strongly encourages Fellows to follow standard health procedures for traveling in foreign countries. This includes obtaining necessary vaccinations; taking precautions when consuming food and water; and being mindful of the health-related impact of extreme weather. Medical centers are available throughout Pakistan but quality and access of healthcare may vary across urban and rural areas. Treatment costs must be paid for out of pocket or with travel medical insurance.


Can Fellows arrive earlier or leave later to accommodate personal visits?

Yes. Fellows may get to Pakistan earlier and leave later but they must share all travel plans with APF and are responsible for all housing before and after the designated housing dates provided for the fellowship. Fellows are responsible for their airport pickup and drop-off if they choose to arrive earlier and/or leave later.

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What qualifications do Fellows typically have?

Previous Fellows include college and graduate students as well as working professionals. Fellows come from a variety of disciplines, including medicine, political science, law, human rights, business, economics, and international development.

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What is the selection process?

APF receives about 150 applicants a year and selects the top ten candidates. Selection is conducted by APF leadership and former Fellows. Applicants are scored based on their application materials and interviews. APF solicits feedback from partner organizations on the ground prior to making final selections.


What kind of networking opportunities are available to Fellows?

Fellows will have the opportunity to network with Pakistani leaders from corporate, nonprofit, startup, government, and academic backgrounds.