The Washington Center

The Department of Education and Training makes 12 grants available for Flemish students who wish to do an internship at international organizations or companies in Washington during one semester of the academic year 2022-2023. The funding program is managed and supported by VLUHR-i in collaboration with the Department of Education and Training.

Description

The Washington Center is an independent, non-profit organization that offers internships and academic seminars to students from Flemish universities and colleges. More information can be found by clicking on the links below.

Eligibility criteria

What are the eligibility criteria for the student and the sending institution of higher education?

  • The student is enrolled at a Flemish university or college and has obtained at least 60 credits at the time of the application.
  • There is a cooperation agreement between the sending institution of higher education and The Washington Center.
  • Only students from the following academic fields are eligible for this scholarship program: arts, business and management, world trade, information technology, media and communications, international relations, law, criminology and political science.

Modalities

  • Grants are awarded for expenditure in the academic year 2022-2023.
  • The mobility lasts one semester. The mobility takes place in the first semester (Fall 2022) or the second semester (Spring 2023).
  • Each institution may nominate a maximum of six students for selection at the Flemish level.
  • The mobility relates to internships. The student is actively searching for an internship in consultation with The Washington Center. The internship must be validated by the home institution. Before the visa can be requested, the internship must be determined.
  • The student has a Grade Point Average of minimum 3.0 on a scale of 4.0 (equivalence table).
  • The mobility grant amounts to € 9,000. Students from the under-represented groups receive an additional grant of € 3,000 on top of the mobility grant. Students from under-represented groups are:
    • students who receive a study grant from the Flemish government;
    • students with a disability, recognized by the VAPH (only in Dutch): People with a disability can appeal to the VAPH for support. It is not always clear what is meant by the term disability. That is why the VAPH always uses the following definition:
      Any long-term and significant participation problem of a person that is due to the interplay between functional disorders of a mental, psychological, physical or sensory nature, limitations in performing activities, and personal and external factors.
      This definition makes it possible to examine the situation of each person who submits a request for support separately. If someone's situation meets the definition, the person concerned can be recognized by the VAPH as a person with a disability and receive approval for support;
    • working students in a work program, see the definition of the Flemish government (only in Dutch):
      Working student: a student who meets all of the following conditions:
      1) he is in possession of a certificate of employment in an employment contract of at least 80 hours per month, or he is in possession of a jobseeker's certificate of unemployment and the training fits within the by a regional employment service of job placement proposed trajectory to work;

      2) he is not yet in possession of a second cycle diploma or master's degree;

      3) he is enrolled in a study pathway with specific teaching and learning methods and with specific modalities of supervision and offer, which is registered as such in the Higher Education Register. The separate registration in the Higher Education Register does not imply that this concerns a new study program.


      The data included in the AHOVOKS database is considered the correct data. The reference date is the moment of submitting the application, i.e. April 1, 2022. For files that are still being processed on this date, the final decision of AHOVOKS is awaited. If a file is approved late by AHOVOKS, the student can still be awarded the extra grant of € 3,000.
  • If, due to Covid-19, The Washington Center decides to switch to virtual internships where the student does not travel to Washington DC, the grant amount will be € 3,500 and € 4,300 for a student from an underrepresented group.
  • The student may not cumulate this grant with another grant from the Flemish government.
  • After selection, the student will receive a Code of Conduct, drawn up by The Washington Center.
  • After the mobility, the student reports to the VLUHR via a short essay and questionnaire.

Application

Step 1: The Flemish higher education institution makes an initial internal selection of candidates.

Step 2: If a student has been selected by his / her higher education institution, his / her higher education institution starts the procedure for applying for a TWC grant by creating a file for the candidate in the Mobility-Online tool.

Step 3: The candidate will receive an automatic e-mail from Mobility-Online tool with the notification that he / she has been pre-selected for a TWC grant.

Step 4: The candidate registers in the Mobility-Online tool and completes his / her file before the deadline.

Documents attached to the application:

  • Passport photo
  • CV
  • Scoring list of the current and previous academic years within the current study program
  • Motivation letter with both a personal and professional motivation for a TWC internship (maximum 2 A4 pages)

Step 5: The Flemish higher education institution validates and sends the completed file in the Mobility-Online tool before midnight April 1, 2022 GMT + 1. Files sent after midnight April 1, 2022 GMT + 1 will not be accepted.

Step 6: If the student is selected by the selection committee, then he / she must additionally submit to The Washington Center:

  • Essay
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Certificate of English proficiency (or a certificate issued by the home institution)

Selection

Selection takes place after the application deadline and the eligibility check by the VLUHR. This is carried out by an international selection committee, in collaboration with the Department of Education & Training.

The selection committee consists of experts in the field of higher education and internationalization.

Each file will be read by two independent jury members.

The selection committee consists of experts in the field of higher education and internationalisation. Each application will be read by two independent jury members. During the selection committee meeting every application will be discussed by the two jury members. In case of more than 10% of difference between the scores for the same application, the application file will be reopened and reevaluated. Benchmarks will be built into the selection process, in order to guarantee equal chances for each application.

At the end of the selection committee meeting a final ranking will be made based on the consolidated scores of each application.

The scores are awarded based on the following criteria:

  • the quality of the applicant’s motivation (in connection with the planned learning agreement) (30 points);
  • the applicant’s previous study results (transcripts of records) (30 points);
  • the quality of the candidate's CV (aimed at the US) (30 points);
  • the general profile of the candidate (personality, sense of initiative, work experience and / or commitment, ...) (10 points).

At least 25% of all scholarships will be awarded to students with a low socio-economic background. Students from under-represented groups are:

  • students who receive a scolarship from the Flemish government;
  • students with a disability, recognized by the VAPH. People with disabilities can appeal to the VAPH for support. It is not always clear what is meant by the term disability. That is why the VAPH always uses the following definition:
    Any long-term and significant participation problem of a person that is due to the interplay between functional disorders of a mental, psychological, physical or sensory nature, limitations in performing activities, and personal and external factors.

    This definition makes it possible to examine the situation of each person who submits a request for support separately. If someone's situation meets the definition, the person concerned can be recognized by the VAPH as a person with a disability and receive approval for support;
  • working students in a work program, see the definition of the Flemish government (only in dutch):
    Working student: a student who meets all of the following conditions:
    1) he is in possession of a certificate of employment in an employment contract of at least 80 hours per month, or he is in possession of a jobseeker's certificate of unemployment and the training fits within the by a regional employment service of job placement proposed trajectory to work;
    2) he is not yet in possession of a second cycle diploma or master's degree;
    3) he is enrolled in a study pathway with specific teaching and learning methods and with specific modalities of supervision and offer, which is registered as such in the Higher Education Register. The separate registration in the Higher Education Register does not imply that this concerns a new study program.

The data included in the database of the Ministry of Education will be considered as correct.

If the applications of these categories of Flemish students do not cover at least 25% of all scholarships, the total number of awarded scholarships will be adjusted.

Timing

  • Launch of the call: December 2021
  • Start applications in Mobility-Online: from January 31, 2022
  • Deadline for application: April, 1 2022
  • Selection: April 2022
  • Announcement of selection results: before May 9, 2022
  • Start of mobility: August 2022 (Fall) or January 2023 (Spring)
  • Study grant Fall: June 2022
  • Study grant Spring: November 2023

Costs

As an indication:
The costs associated with an internship at The Washington Center in academic year 2021-2022:

Overheads:

  • Program: $7 998
  • Accommodation: $5 600
  • Application Fee: $125

Additional costs:

  • State Department J-1 visa SEVIS fee: $220 (more information)
  • US Consulate J-1 Visa application aee: $160
  • Estimated monthly health insurance with international short term coverage: $50
  • Estimated weekly living expenses (public transportation, meals, extra): $200
  • Flights

Questions? Contact the VLUHR-i secretariat.