Fellowship Guidelines


TFI works with a variety of schools, NGOs, and grassroots agencies. Placements abroad may involve:
  • teaching English or other skills to children or young adults in a village school
  • writing, reviewing, and editing English-language publications for an NGO
  • performing legal research and writing for a human rights organization
  • creating or updating simple websites or promoting marketing campaigns to help an NGO raise awareness
  • performing public health field work or trainings
  • creating videos which organizations can drop on their websites to better market their work and hopefully attract more donors


For each type of placement, the host agency often communicates to us the skills that they are in most need of, however these are the skills which any volunteer needs:

  • ability to communicate clearly and compassionately
  • capacity to remain flexible and take initiative with projects
  • willingness to make time to share information with curious students or colleagues
  • desire to work cooperatively with local agencies.
  • respect for different cultures and beliefs, and ultimately, patience with yourself and your new surroundings


Applicants must be at least 21 years of age, have relevant experience and skills, as well as be physically able to endure the sometimes difficult conditions associated with living in a developing country for an extended period of time. A time commitment of at least 8 weeks is required and can sometimes extend to 12 weeks in special arrangements. Candidates in the San Francisco Bay Area are preferred so that we might conduct in-person final interviews, as well as possibly having them work with us as alumni of the program. Ultimately the best-suited applicants will be selected for each placement, regardless of your place of residence.


TFI will pay for 75% of travel-related costs for the fellow, up to $2,500 based on an 8-week stay, 3/4 to be paid prior to departure and the final 1/4 paid upon one’s return and the completion of a short report. The travel budget is based on up-front costs for tickets and visas, plus estimated costs for lodging and daily incidentals. We will help arrange travel and accommodations for a safe live/work experience. TFI fellows can receive funding from other sources, and your time abroad may be eligible for university credit.


We require a current resume with relevant education or experience and a cover letter describing your interest in a specific program or programs and ability to do this type of work. We accept applications throughout the year, and typically the 8-week placements are for the summer and fall of that year.

Short-Term Volunteers

TFI also offers opportunities for individuals who may have less time to volunteer with some of our grassroots partners. This opportunity will not involve the same time commitment or eligibility requirements, and individuals and groups will travel on a fully volunteer basis. If volunteering abroad for one or two weeks is of interest to you, please feel free to reach out to us so that we might discuss this possibility with you.