Volunteer Opportunities

Are you interested in a cultural exchange to benefit you, your family, or your organization? Then the Mansfield Center needs you!

Every year the Mansfield Center supports the Missoula community with international educational exchange opportunities for high school students, undergraduates and professionals. Most of these opportunities rely on the generosity of our U.S. and Asian partners for Fellowships and homestays to better foster an understanding of local cultures and practices. There are many opportunities for local community members to become involved with these programs.

Opportunities for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Host Families

Photo of a participant and a host mother each holding up elk antlers in Yellowstone.Homestay Host Families:

Every year, the Mansfield Center at the University of Montana brings dozens of international leaders and scholars to Missoula for educational and cultural exchange programs sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. Host families provide these visitors with a unique Montana experience and integrate them into American family life and culture.

Homestay lengths vary based on program. Homestays are a time for participants to experience community hospitality and cultural immersion. Host families share the things they love about Montana with their international visitors. There is no obligation to engage in specific activities during the homestay weekend. This is an opportunity for participants to experience regular life with an American family, and for Montana families to build connections with people from around the world.

Upcoming Host Family Opportunities:

SUSI Environmental Studies
Homestay dates: Friday, July 7 - Sunday, July 9
Participants from Brazil, Russia, India and China

YSEALI Environmental Studies
Homestay dates: Friday, September 8 - Sunday, September 10
Students and young professionals from Southeast Asia aged 18-24.

Photo of a participant eating dinner with her homestay host family.

How to Apply

For more information and to apply, contact the Mansfield Center at mansfield.center@umontana.edu or call (406) 243-2988.

UM Student Leaders

Photo of participants rafting down a riverThe Program:

Each summer, the Mansfield Center hosts a Study of the U.S. Institute (SUSI) on Global Environmental Issues, an academic fellowship program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. The program selects undergraduate students from five different countries to participate in this institute focused on collaborative approaches to environmental issues.

UM Students can apply to be a part of this program by becoming a part of the UM Student Leadership Cohort, engaging with peers from Brazil, China, India, Japan and Russia during their fellowship in Montana. Not only will you have fun, but you will have an opportunity to enhance your resume with leadership skills and cross-cultural engagement, and to build a network of colleagues across the globe.

Student Leader Responsibilities:

  • Join in cultural activities with the group. This would include things such as a whitewater rafting trip through Alberton Gorge, an outdoor barbecue dinner, an Ospreys baseball game, and other social activities. You might also include our visitors in your Fourth of July activities, or attend the Salish-Kootenai Powwow with the group.
  • Participate in leadership development activities, such as the high and low ropes courses at McCormick Park.
  • Show the students what you love about Missoula – take them on a hike, to the farmer’s market, to hang out with friends, etc.

Your time commitment to the program is what you make of it, with only a minimum ten hour commitment between June 29 – July 24. 

Photo of participants on a climbing wall at McCormick Park

How to Apply

For more information, e-mail Logan Reid by April 14 at michael3.reid@umconnect.umt.edu

U.S. Fellowship Hosts

Photo of Bozeman school children listening to a fellow speakThe Program:

The Professional Fellows Programs of the U.S. Department of State managed by the Mansfield Center bring emerging leaders from around the world to Montana for intensive short-term fellowships designed to broaden their professional expertise. The Fellows are placed in non-profit organizations, private sector businesses, and government offices across Montana to learn first-hand how issues in their fields are addressed in the United States.  Host organizations and partners from a broad range of fields are needed for these programs.

Some U.S. Fellowship Hosts also have the opportunity to travel to their Fellow's home country for follow-on programs to share their own knowledge, experience a foreign culture, and study best practices in their field in a foreign country.

U.S. Fellowship Host Responsibilities:

  • Define the Fellowship. The Fellowship is considered a professional shadowing experience, but the expectation is that the guest will rotate around the business/organization during the Fellowship to gain a comprehensive view of the business/organization. The U.S. partner should expect a significant time commitment in terms of organizing the Fellowship but should plan meetings and job shadows with others within the host organization as well as other relevant organizations.
  • Complete all program requests for information and evaluations by the stated deadlines.
  • Commit the time and the interest to hosting your partner, ensuring that you provide the hospitality and experience that is a hallmark of hospitality standards.
  • Be open to the cultural differences you will experience with your partner.  Represent your organization and community well and respect the differences you may encounter.

Photo of a U.S. Fellow visiting a farm in Thailand

How To Apply:

The Mansfield Center manages a variety of programs focusing on topics like the environment, economic empowerment, civil society development, education, and more throughout the year, with a focus on exchanges in the summer and fall.

To learn more about programs currently seeking Fellowship Hosts that might suit you or your organization, contact Deena Mansour at deena.mansour@mso.umt.edu or (406) 243-2838.