Princeton in Latin America (PiLA) offers year-long service-oriented fellowships for work in NGOs, multilateral organizations, local government and/or community-based organizations in Latin America and the Caribbean. Focusing on a demonstrated commitment to community service (including with Spanish-speaking communities in the U.S.) and a record of academic achievement, PiLA identifies highly qualified and motivated fellows to meet the needs of our partners and the communities they serve. Partner institutions work in natural resource conservation, public health, education policy, microfinance, and many other areas. Most placements are in Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking countries, with limited additional opportunities in the Anglophone and Francophone Caribbean. Placements emphasize the power of firsthand work experience to shape young people's attitudes and mobilize them to effect positive social change and
For each country, PiLA determines a monthly stipend to cover housing, food, and local transportation, which is paid to the fellow through contributions from the host organization and PiLA. In addition to this local salary, PiLA provides an orientation program and assistance finding health insurance and deferring student loan repayment obligations.
Candidates must have earned a bachelor’s degree before beginning their programs. Spanish- or Portuguese-language competency is essential, and tested during the interview process. French also may be helpful in countries such as the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Because the program is intended for graduating seniors and recent alumni/ae, it rarely considers applicants who are more than five or six years out of college.
Besides some proficiency in the language, PiLA has no set formula for selecting fellows. Its selection committee considers all aspects of an application, including academic performance, past travel and work experience, evidence of emotional maturity, and a sense of adventure. Other desirable qualifications include knowledge of and experience in the region, interpersonal and intercultural sensitivity, leadership potential, polished writing skills, the flexibility to adapt successfully to shifting circumstances during the fellowship, a sense of humor and humility, and a commitment to PiLA’s mission that extends beyond the year of service: an ethos of “paying it forward.”