Frequently Asked Questions

How do I find out more about the Watson Fellowship?

The best way to get your questions answered is to explore this Web site and the Watson Fellowship Program's website and attend the fall and spring information meetings. You should contact the Puget Sound Watson Liaison, Kelli Delaney with special questions or concerns. Do not attempt to contact the Watson Fellowship Program office directly.

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Have Puget Sound students been successful in the competition for Watson Fellowships?

Yes. Puget Sound was added to the list of Watson Fellowship colleges in 1993-94. See our list of Puget Sound students who have been selected as Watson Fellows.

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May I make a joint application with a friend?

No, the Watson Fellowship is an individual experience. If you are married, of course, your spouse may accompany you, but the project must still be yours.

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May I return for holidays or graduate school interviews?

Unfortunately not. Your family may visit you, however.

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May I apply if I'm a foreign national?

Yes, but you may not return to your home country.

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How will my student loans be repaid?

The Fellowship Program will supply (through reimbursement) an amount equal to twelve-months' payment of eligible federally guaranteed and/or institutional student loans issued in the fellow's name. The purpose of the loan program is to help ease the financial burden of Watson Fellows during their fellowship year, and to provide encouragement for all students, regardless of student loan debt, to apply for Watson Fellowships.

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Is the Fellowship taxable?

Yes, but you can spread the taxes over two years by taking the stipend in two installments.

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Can I make changes to my project after I receive the Fellowship?

If you are awarded a fellowship and discover compelling reasons to alter your project scope, you may propose changes to the program office.

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Can I make changes to my itinerary?

Yes, but major changes must receive written permission from the Fellowship Program. Changes should, however, be true to the essence and focus of the project.

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What about health insurance?

In addition to the stipend, the Watson Foundation will provide each Fellow with an international insurance reimbursement of up to $500. You are responsible for researching and purchasing your own international health insurance.  

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What if I need to learn a foreign language for my Watson Project?

Not all Watson projects require proficiency in a foreign language, but many do. Fellows can undertake language instruction in the United States before leaving for their year abroad, but such instruction is not covered by the fellowship stipend. In some cases, having an intensive summer course before leaving might be necessary for the project. Language study abroad should not consume the bulk of the Fellow's time--by any means.

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Can I travel anywhere on my Wanderjahr?

Well, you can travel almost anywhere. The Watson Fellowship Program has announced that the project must involve travel to areas where the student has not previously lived or studied for significant periods of time. If you have lived, traveled, and studied in France, therefore, it would be unwise to submit a proposal involving travel to France.

The Fellowship Program also wants you to know that you should not plan travel to countries assigned "travel warnings" by the US State Department or that are under embargo. Details about current travel warnings can be found at https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/alertswarnings.html. Applications that rely upon travel to such countries will not be considered. You should also familiarize yourself with information found in the State Department's Consular Information Sheets at https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/country.html.

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With all the problems in the world, how can I justify taking this year for myself?

The Watson Fellowship Program is investing in you as a leader. As Thomas J. Watson, Jr. said, "I think that better leadership is what's going to bring the United States to a kind of realism as to what our problems are and how we may solve them." What we need are more leaders who are self-reflective, well-informed, and mindful world citizens.

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