SAGE – NEXT LEVEL PROGRAM (NLP)

Welcome returning MESA Alum! The NLP requires that you:

  • Successfully completed MESA’s first-level US program 2 or more years ago, and
  • Seek to advance your agricultural skills, particularly in management.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does the NLP differ from my first-year MESA program?
The NLP helps returning Stewards gain leadership and management experience. As a NLP Steward, you may start your US program whenever a suitable Host is available, and you may participate for up to one year.

NLP Stewards are invited, but not required, to enroll in MESA’s new Global Partner-facilitated Sustainable Agriculture Education Program (SAEP) courses on Global Food Systems and Global Citizenship (certificate course completion is now required for all first-time Stewards), for a reduced $100 fee. NLP Stewards are also always welcome to join free courses and workshops facilitated by MESA and our US partners, as available annually.

Do I need to find my own Host placement?
No. Some alumni choose to return to their previous MESA Host. Others want to train on a new farm, farm education center, or sustainable supply chain business. If you’ve received an invitation from your former US Host or if you want to join a placement that has not yet joined MESA, please invite them to contact us on your behalf.

What does it cost?
NLP Stewards pay these costs before arriving in the US:

  • $1850 USD MESA Fee: NLP Program and Sponsorship fee: $1850 for 4-12 month training program, or $1250 if your U.S. program is less than 4 months. $500 of your MESA fee is due when you accept a Host invitation and before MESA delivers your visa application. The first $500 is non-refundable. Your NLP fee balance is due only upon visa authorization and prior to your U.S. arrival.
  • SEVIS I-901 fee ($220)
  • U.S. Embassy interview fee ($160)
  • Airfare to/from the major airport closest to your Host placement, plus any ground transportation
  • Optional GP fee: If you need assistance from one of MESA’s Global partner representatives, they may charge additional fees for their services
  • Optional MESA fee: $275 if you request relocation -or- want to extend your U.S. program (up to the 12-month maximum duration)

NLP Stewards are responsible for these costs during the US program:

  • 10-15% estimated for US taxes if you receive wages

Will I receive wages during my program?
Maybe. MESA authorizes US Hosts to offer wages or increased stipends for our successful alumni. However, you may also choose to join an educational and/or non-profit placement that may offer food and housing with little or no stipend.

If your Host does offer an hourly wage or larger stipend, you may need to pay for some of your own US living costs such as food and housing (compensation will be clearly detailed in the Host information that MESA will share with you before you accept the Host invitation). If you receive wages, MESA will authorize temporary employment for your agriculture-related training. We also provide a Sponsor Authorization letter for you to apply for a Social Security number (SSN) upon your US arrival.

What about Health Insurance?
Unless your Host provides separate insurance, MESA will enroll you in a health insurance plan and your Host will reimburse MESA. MESA will maintain your insurance throughout your US training program, and we will assist you with insurance claims if you need medical care.

My previous Host wants me to return! Can he/she help with my travel costs?
If you are returning to your previous Host, they may be willing to contribute toward your flight, SEVIS and/or Embassy fees. Your former host may also choose to loan you the funds which you must pay back during your program. Please be sure to tell MESA if your Host has agreed to help with your visa and/or travel expenses.

Do NLP Stewards pay taxes on US wages?
If the Host pays wages, yes. However, J1 trainees typically pay 10-15% less in taxes than Americans.

Ready to Apply?

 email: nlp at mesaprogram dot org

*If you email us, please describe your:

  1. Host placement preferences
  2. training objectives
  3. desired dates of training