Are international students eligible?

Absolutely. If you’re an international student, you’ll want to make sure that your project doesn’t take you straight back home. It would be best to look on the Watson as a chance to go somewhere else and do something different.

What if I’m going off campus first term?

Please feel free to apply anyway. If you’re selected for an on-campus interview, we’ll be happy to interview you over the phone. We have chosen nominees on the basis of phone interviews, so please don’t worry about that. You may want to get at least some of your application materials ready before you leave for your off-campus program. That way, you won’t have to worry about mailing or e-mailing things in from half-way around the world. One more thing: if you’ve already been overseas, make sure that this trip would be significantly different from the ones you’ve already taken.

Can I return to a country I’ve already visited?

Yes, though you should work hard to distinguish this visit from earlier stays. If you’ve studied in Senegal, for example, and want to go back to Dakar for a few weeks, that’s okay—as long as you’ll be spending most of your Watson year in another country or region. Make it crystal clear, in any case, that this Watson year would be a new and distinctive experience for you.

Do I need to make contacts in the places I’ll be visiting?

Not in this first stage. If you’re chosen as one of our four nominees, you may want to firm up your plans and make some specific contacts. For now, however, it’s much more important to show that you’ve thought through your project carefully. Let’s say, for example, that you want to study alternative medicine and are planning to go to Laos. Can you explain why you’ve chosen Laos and not Vietnam or Cambodia? Which parts of Laos will you be visiting? Are there different healing traditions in different parts of the country? If you’re beginning to nail down answers to such questions, you’ll be in good shape.

How many countries should I be visiting?

It depends on your project. If you scan the list of last year’s winners, you’ll see that one person is spending the entire year in a single country (Russia), while a few people are going to seven or eight different places. Most winners are focusing on three or four different countries. The important thing, really, is to make sure that you can explain why you’d like to visit each place on your itinerary. If it looks like you don’t know much about one or two of your destinations, you can expect some trouble. You don’t need to spend the same amount of time in each place, by the way. If you want to spend three months in destination A, four months in B, and five months in C, that’s fine.

page created by Tim Spurgin -- last modified 8/23/04