David L. Boren Awards for International Study

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Boren Fellowship Preferences

2011 Fellow, Jordan

Boren Fellowships are awarded with preference for countries, languages, and fields of study critical to U.S. national security. Preference is also given to students who will study abroad for longer periods of time, and who are highly motivated by the opportunity to work in the federal government.


Boren Fellows may study abroad in Africa, Asia, Central & Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle East. Students may apply to study in any country outside of the United States, Western Europe, Canada, Australia, or New Zealand...

The program will give preference to applicants planning to study in one of the following emphasized countries:

  • Albania
  • Algeria
  • Angola
  • Argentina
  • Armenia
  • Azerbaijan
  • Bahrain
  • Bangladesh* 
  • Belarus
  • Benin 
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Brazil
  • Bulgaria
  • Cambodia
  • Cape Verde
  • Chile
  • China
  • Colombia
  • Congo, Democratic Republic of the*
  • Congo, Republic of the
  • Cote d'Ivoire
  • Croatia
  • Cuba
  • Czech Republic
  • Egypt*
  • El Salvador
  • Eritrea*
  • Estonia
  • Ethiopia
  • Georgia
  • Ghana
  • Guatemala
  • Haiti
  • Honduras*
  • Hungary
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Israel
  • Japan
  • Jordan
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kenya*
  • Korea, South
  • Kosovo 
  • Kuwait
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Latvia
  • Lebanon*
  • Liberia
  • Macedonia
  • Malaysia
  • Mali* 
  • Mexico
  • Moldova
  • Montenegro
  • Morocco
  • Mozambique
  • Nepal
  • Nicaragua
  • Nigeria*
  • Oman
  • Pakistan*
  • Panama
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • Poland
  • Qatar
  • Romania
  • Russia*
  • Rwanda
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Senegal
  • Serbia 
  • Sierra Leone
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • South Africa
  • Sri Lanka
  • Taiwan
  • Tajikistan
  • Tanzania
  • Thailand
  • Timor-Leste
  • Tunisia*
  • Turkey*
  • Uganda
  • Ukraine*
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Uzbekistan
  • Venezuela
  • Vietnam

*You may still apply for a 2017 Boren Award to study in one of these countries; however, you must include a viable alternate plan in another appropriate country for the same language of study.

Note: Boren Fellows may only study in a country with a U.S. State Department travel warning if they are willing to sign a waiver.  In certain countries, further restrictions may apply, including possible outright prohibition on using the Boren Fellowship in a particular country. In such cases, IIE will work with the Fellow to find an alternate program. Information about travel warnings is available on the State Department website.

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All Boren Fellows must study a foreign language appropriate to the country in which they are studying abroad...

The program will give preference to applicants studying one of the following emphasized languages:

  • Akan/Twi - AFLI *
  • Albanian
  • Amharic
  • Arabic
  • Armenian
  • Azerbaijani
  • Bahasa Indonesian
  • Bambara
  • Belarusian
  • Bengali 
  • Bosnian
  • Bulgarian
  • Cambodian 
  • Cantonese
  • Croatian
  • Czech
  • Gan
  • Georgian
  • Haitian 
  • Hausa
  • Hebrew
  • Hindi - SAFLI *
  • Hungarian
  • Japanese
  • Javanese
  • Kanarese 
  • Kazakh
  • Khmer
  • Korean
  • Kurdish
  • Kyrgyz
  • Lingala
  • Macedonian
  • Malay
  • Malayalam
  • Mandarin
  • Moldovan 
  • Nepali
  • Pashto
  • Persian
  • Polish
  • Portuguese - AFLI *
  • Punjabi 
  • Romanian
  • Russian
  • Serbian
  • Sinhala
  • Slovak
  • Slovenian
  • Swahili - AFLI *
  • Tagalog
  • Tajik
  • Tamil
  • Telegu 
  • Thai
  • Turkmen
  • Turkish
  • Uighur
  • Ukrainian
  • Urdu - SAFLI *
  • Uzbek
  • Vietnamese
  • Wolof - AFLI *
  • Yoruba
  • Zulu - AFLI *

* Boren funding for these languages is also available outside of AFLI or SAFLI, and Portuguese can also be studied in Brazil.

French is not a Boren Awards preferred language; however, there is a special option for the study of French under the African Flagship Languages Initiative. Students who have achieved an intermediate high or above oral proficiency level in French are encouraged to apply for a Boren Fellowship under this initiative.

Please note that in most cases, study of French or Spanish is only permissible if the applicant is at an advanced level of competency. Students should focus their Boren application on achieving further language proficiency through academic coursework in French or Spanish. However, students at the intermediate level of French or Spanish who are majoring in the sciences, technology, engineering, or mathematics fields are also eligible. Any award granted for the study of French or Spanish will be made contingent upon verification, through testing, of the student's language level. For more information about evaluating your language proficiency, click here.

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Fields of Study

The program will give preference to applicants planning to study in one of the following fields of study:...
  • Agricultural and Food Sciences
  • Area Studies
  • Business and Economics
  • Computer and Information Sciences
  • Foreign Languages
  • Health and Biomedical Science
  • History
  • International Affairs
  • Law
  • Mathematics
  • Sciences and Engineering
  • Social Sciences
  • Political Science and Policy Studies

As we cannot list all countries, languages, and fields that are critical to U.S. national security, we are interested in applications that fall outside the preferences, if the candidate can make a compelling case that such study can contribute significantly to U.S. national security and the goals of the program.

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Length of Study

Boren Fellowship awards are made for a minimum of 12 weeks and maximum of 24 months. Boren-funded programs can begin no earlier than June 1, 2017 and no later than March 1, 2018. Overseas programs may begin no later than March 1, 2018 and can be no longer than one year...

Boren Fellowships promote long term linguistic and cultural immersion. Therefore, all overseas study must be a minimum of 12 weeks, and preference will be given to applicants proposing overseas programs of 6 months or longer. However, applicants proposing overseas programs of 3-6 months, especially those in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields are encouraged to apply.

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Commitment to Government Service

In exchange for scholarship and fellowship funding, Boren Award recipients commit to working in the federal government for at least one year after graduation. Preference will be given to applicants who demonstrate a longer term commitment to government service...

The NSEP Service Requirement stipulates that an award recipient work in the federal Government in a position with national security responsibilities. The Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, State, or any element of the Intelligence Community are priority agencies. If an award recipient demonstrates to NSEP that no appropriate position is available in one of these agencies, the award recipient must seek to fulfill the requirement in a position with national security responsibilities in any Federal department or agency. Approval of service outside of a priority agency is contingent upon satisfactory demonstration of a full and good faith effort in accordance with conditions established by NSEP. If an award recipient demonstrates to NSEP that no appropriate position is available in the Federal Government, the award recipient may petition NSEP to fulfill the requirement in an education position directly related to the language[s] or area[s] studied by the individual under NSEP support or to another language or area where the individual has demonstrated competency. The education option is available only after exhausting all opportunities to fulfill the requirement in the Federal Government in accordance with conditions established by NSEP.

The duration of the NSEP Service Requirement is one year or the duration of assistance provided under the program, whichever is longer.

Boren Fellows must begin fulfilling the service requirement within two years of graduation. 

For more details and a list of Frequently Asked Questions about the NSEP Service Requirement, click here.

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