Bonderman Travel Fellowship


The 2016 Bonderman Travel Fellowship application is closed. All information on this page refers specifically to the 2016 application. Please check back here in autumn 2016 for information about the next application round.

The Bonderman Travel Fellowship offers University of Washington graduate/professional and undergraduate students (from the Seattle, Tacoma, and Bothell campuses) an opportunity to engage in independent exploration and travel abroad. All applicants must be enrolled and in good standing during the quarter the application is due and must hold US citizenship or permanent resident status.

GRADUATE/PROFESSIONAL STUDENTS: All students in graduate or professional degree programs are eligible to apply. (On leave status is not considered “enrolled.”)

UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS: All undergraduate students with senior credit standing AND who also meet ONE of the following criteria are eligible to apply:

  • at least a 3.7 cumulative UW GPA by the start of Winter 2016; OR
  • participation and good standing in the University Honors Program (Interdisciplinary, Departmental, or College Honors) or in UW Tacoma’s Global Honors Program, by the start of Winter 2016. Undergraduates in one of these honors programs DO NOT need to have 3.7 UW GPA or higher to apply, but simply must be in good standing in their respective programs, whatever that may mean.

Ideal Bonderman Fellows have integrity, the capacity for vision and leadership, and the potential for humane and effective participation in the global community. An applicant should demonstrate initiative, commitment, passion, honesty, and creativity in designing the proposed travel plan, but does not need to have a theme or project. The selection committee will consider the student’s experience as well as curiosity and seriousness of purpose.

Bonderman Fellowships enable students to undertake independent international travel to explore, be open to the unexpected, and come to know the world in new ways. Because Bonderman Fellowships are intended to foster independence, Fellows may not:

  • participate in a program or organization;
  • engage in formal study at a foreign university;
  • conduct research or other academic projects; or
  • travel with an organized group while carrying out the obligations of the fellowship.

Additionally, these Fellowships are intended to introduce students to cultures, peoples, and areas of the world with which they are not familiar, therefore:

  • travel to highly westernized areas (such Western Europe, Canada, Australia, or New Zealand) is not competitive;
  • family heritage trips are not competitive;
  • preference is given to candidates without extensive international travel experience.

Applications must be submitted online via Catalyst. A committee of past Bonderman Fellows, faculty, and staff will review applications. Selected applicants will be invited for an interview, with final awards announced during spring quarter.

Each Bonderman Fellow will receive a $20,000 award for eight months of travel. By accepting the award Fellows must commit to travel independently for eight months, exploring six or more countries in two or more major regions of the world. Fellows selected in this round will embark on their journeys between June 2016 and June 30, 2017.  Students who propose to travel beginning later than June 2017 are not eligible for a 2016 Fellowship.


Before applying for a Bonderman Fellowship, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I really want to do this for eight months?
  • Do I really want to go to these countries?
  • Have I already had an extensive international travel experience? What would this give me that a prior experience didn’t?
  • Do I have the fortitude and the passion to complete this responsibility?
  • Do I like to be alone? Do I like self-reflection?
  • How flexible am I? Am I willing to leave behind familiar structures and cultures?
  • Will this allow me to push myself outside of my comfort zone?
  • How is this going to be a challenge for me? Do I like challenges?
  • Is this realistic for me? Am I capable of completing this itinerary?


The Bonderman Travel Fellowship application changes each cycle. Please carefully review the entire application in Catalyst before beginning your application and well in advance of the deadline.

Applications may only be submitted online via Catalyst. DO NOT email or drop off a paper application in person. No late applications will be accepted.