Communities and Rivers in the State Named After the “Great River”

In a local farmers market, colorful t-shirts hang from hooks proudly proclaiming, in the words of William Faulkner, “To understand the world, you have to understand a place like Mississippi.” As a More »

Fulbright Wins a Silver Telly Award!

The Fulbright Program has been awarded a Silver Telly Award for our short film “My Fulbright Life: Brian Rutenberg”! We’re excited that the story of cultural exchange is being heard far and More »

Bridging the Atlantic through Traditional East African Dance and Music

My journey to New York University (NYU) to pursue graduate training in dance education started when I was still young. My artistic creativity, performance dexterity and exposure to dance artistry were nurtured More »

Expecting the Unexpected–Cosmic Ray Physics in Argentina

As a physicist, I study cosmic rays—high-energy particles that zip around the universe. If scientists are lucky, these cosmic rays land on detectors set up on the ground. For my Fulbright grant, More »

Home on the Steppe: My Fulbright in Mongolia

I know there was a time when Mongolia didn’t feel like another home, before I went there on my Fulbright grant, before 2006. But I can’t remember it. Every time I speak More »

 

Going Batty in Oz: Conservation of the Critically Endangered Southern Bent-wing Bat in South Australia

By Kristen Lear, 2011-2012, Australia

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Kristen Lear, 2011-2012, Australia, with a Southern Bent-wing Bat (Miniopterus schreibersii bassanii) in Bat Cave, Naracoorte, South Australia

Happy Halloween! In honor of the Fulbright Program celebrating #BatWeek on Twitter, today’s blog post is from Fulbright U.S. Student Program alumna Kristen Lear, who studied the conservation of the Southern Bent-wing Bat in Australia back in 2011. Enjoy!

The wind stirs as I sit under the bright stars and listen to the rustle of bat wings as they flit past me. The bright screens of my laptop and the thermal imaging camera are the only lights shining in the dark. The stream of bats gets heavier until there are over 1,000 flying out of the cave every minute. I spend most nights like this, sitting outside Bat Cave at Naracoorte Caves National Park, South Australia, taking fly-out counts to determine the population size of Southern Bent-wing Bats (Miniopterus schreibersii bassanii). The aim of my Fulbright project is to monitor the bats at the maternity cave (Bat Cave) and at their overwintering sites throughout South East South Australia.

The Southern Bent-wing Bat was listed as Critically Endangered under Australia’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act of 1999 based on the fact that the sub-species has undergone a reduction in population by about 67 percent over three generations (from about 100,000-200,000 bats in the 1960s to about 30,000 in 2009) and that it has a highly restricted range, relying on only two maternity caves (Bat Cave in Naracoorte and Starlight Cave in Warrnambool, Victoria). During my Fulbright year, I have been taking regular fly-out counts with thermal imaging cameras to monitor population trends at Bat Cave and determine the peak population size, monitor pup health to watch for signs of disease or starvation and conduct overwinter cave surveys in the South East region. The information gathered from this study will help guide management strategies that will aid in the recovery of this species.

Action Inspired by America’s Natural and Community Beauty

Fulbright-MTP Participant Ammar Mohammed reflects on the cross-country U.S. journey

Fulbright-MTP participant Ammar Mohammed, a Fulbright student from Yemen, reflects on the overall feel of the MTP cross-country U.S. journey — highlighting Fulbright connections in Minnesota, and inspirational communities in Portland and Milwaukee.

In the words of Ammar Mohammed, a Fulbright student from Yemen:

I found it really hard to write the last blog for my MTP experience as many memories and thoughts are pushing back and forth wanting to be penned. I have been reflecting on my voyage and sometimes I question if it really happened. It has been a once in a lifetime experience to the outer and inner worlds, as Millennial Trains Project (MTP) offered a 10-day journey of professional and interpersonal growth. It is a learning class on rails!

Fulbrigh Student from Yemen, Ammar Mohammed, left, with other Millennial Train Project participants at the Statue of Liberty in New York City, at the conclusion of their journey. August 2014.

Fulbrigh Student from Yemen, Ammar Mohammed, left, with other Millennial Train Project participants at the Statue of Liberty in New York City, at the conclusion of their journey. August 2014.

In Portland, we met with decision-makers, including the first lady of Portland, and entrepreneurs who shared their inspiring stories with us. I interviewed an African American pioneer in entrepreneurship who gave me a great perspective on social integration through entrepreneurship. Dwayne Johnson, Founder and Executive Director of Center for Inclusive Innovation, explained some of the challenges that African American entrepreneurs face and lessons that can be replicated in the ‘marginalized’ African Yemeni context.Prior to hitting the rails to Seattle, I visited On-The-Move Community Integration. I was stunned by the great effort the volunteers and participants are doing to integrate into the society. This organization, which works with developmentally and intellectually disabled, has taken integration one step further. Instead of inviting the community to the organization, they go out to meet with the community and participate in outdoor activities.

In Seattle, another chapter of beauty and learning was unlocked. We began the morning at WeWork with mentors from Amazon Web Services and Citizen University. One of the best take-aways from Mr. Eric Liu of Citizen University is that “Rigid individualism never builds a community.” This really resonates with me, as I believe in collaboration as a crucial part of building strong, effective and diverse communities. Then I went to the Northwest African American Museum. Indeed, the visit exceeded my expectations. This relatively small but eye-opening museum exhibited how African Americans in Seattle merged with the society through sports, arts and music. I saw original sport outfits, musical instruments, and portrayals of the champions of social justice and equality; including, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr., and John F. Kennedy.Even though we had quite little time in Seattle compared to the rest of the MTP stops, it was a rewarding city to see and learn from.

Curious About What it’s Like to Be a Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant? Check Out This Video of an Orientation at Michigan State University.

The Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant (FLTA) Program provides young teachers of English as a Foreign Language the opportunity to refine their teaching skills and broaden their knowledge of American cultures and customs while strengthening the instruction of foreign languages at colleges and universities in the United States. Learn more about the FLTA program on the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs website.

The Fulbright’s Quintessential Role in Furthering One’s Passion

By Annie Chor, 2012-2013, Spain

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Annie Chor, 2012-2013, Spain, shaking His Majesty the King’s hand post-address

On October 24, 2014, King Felipe VI of Spain will honor the Fulbright Program with the 2014 Prince of Asturias Award for International Cooperation in recognition of the Program’s educational and cultural exchange that has strengthened links and mutual understanding between the world’s citizens. The King, who is the former Prince of Asturias, will present the award at a grand ceremony in Oviedo, Principality of Asturias, in north-west Spain. 

 

In the following article, Fulbright alumna Annie Chor shares her story of meeting and addressing His Majesty the King of Spain about her Fulbright experiences on September 22, 2014.

UPDATE: Tune in today, Friday, October 24 at 12:30 p.m. EDT to watch King Felipe VI of Spain honor the Fulbright Program with the 2014 Prince of Asturias Award for International Cooperation in recognition of how the Program has strengthened links and mutual understanding between the world’s citizens. More info and links to the livestream here: http://go.usa.gov/fsMV

Standing at the podium, preparing to address King Felipe of Spain, U.S. Department of State officials, IIE representatives, and fellow Fulbright students, I take a moment to pause and reflect on my journey thus far.

Post undergraduate studies, I worked in the financial sector in capital markets for several years. As I furthered my professional development, I continually felt an urgency to seek efficient solutions to meaningful change. I began to realize my passion was in finding innovative solutions that merged business and improved societies around the world. At this time, a Fulbright award helped me take that important leap to change and gave me the confidence and support to work towards my passion.

Cross(-cultural) Fit(ness): A Fulbright Experience in London

By MaSovaida Morgan, 2012-2013, United Kingdom

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MaSovaida Morgan (third from top left), 2012-2013, United Kingdom, with fellow athletes at CrossFit London

The summer before I departed for my Fulbright year in London, my head was in the clouds with visions of what my life there might look like. I scoured the internet for any information I could find about my university and the neighborhood I planned to live in. I plotted all kinds of extracurricular activities and made plans to get involved with the local community – and in a city as diverse and dynamic as London, I knew the possibilities for imbibing the local culture were endless.

Fulbright awards to the United Kingdom are unique in that at the postgraduate level, scholars carry out their research within the framework of master’s programs at universities around the country. As the Fulbright-University of the Arts London Postgraduate Scholar, my master’s thesis research at London College of Communication (LCC) explored how an individual’s interaction with screens affects modern reading habits and our relationships with printed books. My time at LCC afforded me the unique opportunity to investigate this nascent subject in an interdisciplinary environment while building bonds with some of the most creative and inspiring individuals in media.

There was never a dull moment during my Fulbright year – I was on the go constantly and found opportunities for intercultural engagement everywhere I went. But of all those occasions, the most consistent occurrences were at my local CrossFit gym, CrossFit London. I began CrossFit right before my move to London – of course, as I was envisioning my life the summer before, I figured that I would keep at it but could not have imagined it would be the source of cross-cultural exchange and camaraderie that it was.