Bonderman Travel Fellowship

The 2020 Bonderman Fellowship application has closed. 

Please check back in November 2020 for information regarding the next cycle.


  • Each Bonderman Fellow will receive a $23,000 award for eight months of travel.
  • Fellows travel independently for eight months, exploring six or more countries in two or more major regions of the world.
  • Approximately 16 Bonderman Fellowships will be awarded each cycle – eight undergraduate and eight graduate/professional.
  • Fellows selected in this round will embark on their journeys between June 2020 and June 30, 2021.  Students who propose to begin traveling later than June 2021 are not eligible for a 2020 Fellowship.


The Bonderman Fellowship offers University of Washington graduate/professional and undergraduate students-from the Seattle, Tacoma, and Bothell campuses-an opportunity to engage in independent international travel. Applicants must:

  • Be University of Washington graduate/professional and undergraduate students.
  • Be enrolled at U.W. and in good standing during the quarter the application is due. Good standing in this regard refers not only to academic but also disciplinary and conduct standing.
  • Hold US citizenship or permanent resident status.
  • Remain in good standing, both academically and as relates to disciplinary/conduct, to receive the award.


GRADUATE/PROFESSIONAL STUDENTS: All students enrolled 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 3.50 cumulative UW GPA by the start of Winter 2020; 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 2020. Undergraduates in one of these honors programs DO NOT need to have 3.50 UW GPA or higher to apply, but must be in good standing in their respective programs, whatever that may mean.


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. 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. Travel plans should be personal, and not about academic research.

 Because this journey is 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 should introduce students to cultures, peoples, and areas of the world with which they are not familiar, therefore:

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


A committee of past Bonderman Fellows, faculty, and staff review applications. Selected applicants will be invited for an interview in late winter quarter, with final awards announced during spring quarter. Undergraduate and graduate/professional applicants will be considered simultaneously but in separate pools.

The Bonderman selection committee will evaluate applications based on the following questions: 

  • Does the applicant demonstrate integrity, maturity, commitment and creativity in their travel proposal?
  • Does the applicant demonstrate the desire and ability to travel independently for eight months?
  • Does the applicant demonstrate the potential for humane and effective participation in the global community?
  • Does the applicant describe goals for personal growth in their proposal?
  • Does the applicant propose a feasible itinerary and journey for themself?
  • Does the applicant have previous travel experience?  If so, how will the Bonderman travel experience be different than their previous travel experience(s)?


All information sessions for the 2020 application cycle have passed. Please check back here in November 2020 for information regarding the next round of applications.


The Bonderman Travel Fellowship application changes each cycle. Please carefully review this page and the entire online application in Catalyst before beginning your application and well in advance of the deadline. The application consists of several components and we recommend that you carefully read all prompts and instructions before beginning the application.

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.