Fulbright: An Inspirational and Inclusive Community

Are you a U.S. citizen with a disability interested in applying for a Fulbright grant? Attend the webinar for applicants with disabilities on Friday, June 12, 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. ET. More »

Fulbright-Millennial Trains Project Participants

The U.S. Department of State selected the following six Fulbright Foreign Students to participate in the third Millennial Trains Project (MTP) voyage across the United States — leaving from Los Angeles, California on May 21 and ending More »

It Takes a Fulbright Village: My Journey Toward Becoming an Effective Fulbright Program Adviser

I have never been one to shy away from a challenge, but helping students devise the “right strategy” for applying for a Fulbright U.S. Student Program award has been a daunting task. More »

Building a Boy a Bionic Arm: The Spirit of Shared, Open Sourced Technology

I am convinced we live in an ever shrinking world. Following my bachelor’s degree in Aerospace, Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering at the University of Central Florida (UCF), my research professor, Dr. Seetha Raghavan, More »

Livin’ La Vida Caleña

This was it: Thursday night at Tin Tin Deo. I was embracing la vida caleña, or Cali lifestyle, venturing into the “salsa capital of the world” by visiting the legendary salsa bar More »


From Bean to Cup: A Year in a Global Coffee Capital

By Senay Kahsay, 2013-2014, Ethiopia

Senay Kashay

Senay Kahsay, 2013-2014, Ethiopia (left) and friends enjoying a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony alongside Lake Tana, the source of the Blue Nile River in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia

During the 2013-2014 academic year, I was awarded a Fulbright U.S. Student grant to Ethiopia to study the coffee supply chain.

Growing up in two different cities with strong coffee cultures inspired my appreciation for coffee from a young age. As a child in Addis Ababa, I experienced the rich communal process of the Ethiopian coffee tradition. Later, when my family and I moved to Seattle, I observed the meticulous and creative craft of preparing and marketing specialty coffee. This inspired my desire to develop a better understanding of how my favorite drink travels from farm to cup. As a Fulbright Student in Ethiopia, I studied the country’s coffee supply chain. From my base in the capital, I made trips throughout Ethiopia’s coffee-growing regions to develop my understanding of the industry by surveying farmers, processors, cooperatives, traders and exporters. Through these surveys, I outlined the industry’s demand forecast and communication methods and identified opportunities for improvement. I performed these surveys with the help of the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange (ECX)—a recently established marketplace that has revolutionized Ethiopian agricultural commodity markets by providing farmers with price transparency and other market information. My project provided the ECX with better visibility of the coffee supply chain.

The Strands Coming Together: An Indian-American in Mumbai

By Aditya Voleti, 2011-2012, India

Aditya - 1

Aditya Voleti, 2011-2012, India (orange umbrella), joins some IIT-Bombay students in doing some monsoon exploration of the mountains of Matheran surrounding the city of Mumbai, India

My Fulbright year can be described as the culmination of all the disparate strands of my academic career and personal identity. I was an Indian-American double-major in Mathematics and Sanskrit; so it made sense to go to Mumbai (also known as Bombay) and live for a year as an American expatriate in India translating Sanskrit mathematical texts into English.

My application came together through constant talks with professors, their connections, their connections’ connections and so on. I advise potential applicants to tap into their professors’ networks as well. Through my professors, I was connected with a Sanskrit mathematician to host me at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay and with editors who used their deep research and Fulbright knowledge to make my application a winning one.

While I could have gone to one of over 140 different countries on a Fulbright grant, tying my application to India was a conscious decision. Living in Bombay with an independent income, in my own room, while making friends at a university could not have been a more radical departure from my previous experiences in the country, where I was chauffeured around by my family and mainly interacted with my cousins. As one of several Indian-American Fulbrighters, I was able to bring a different, and crucial, element to the cross-cultural exchange. If you find an opportunity in your heritage country, consider it seriously.

Faces of Southern Tech Women

Fulbright-MTP Participant from Cambodia, Pichleap Sok, profiles Southern American Tech Women

Fulbright-MTP Participant from Cambodia, Pichleap Sok (left), interviews Sia Karamalegos, an instructor at Tech Talent South in New Orleans.

Fulbright-MTP Participant from Cambodia, Pichleap Sok (left), interviews Sia Karamalegos, an instructor at Tech Talent South in New Orleans.

“It’s been a great ride so far, but rest assured, the best is yet to come,” said Patrick Dowd, founder and CEO of the Millennial Train Project (MTP). I couldn’t agree more. Even though the train journey came to an end, our individual journey had just begun.

It feels so good to be home again. It feels so good to take a long shower in a non-moving bathroom. It feels so good to be back in my own bed. But, why do I feel so nostalgic for strangers I spent just 10 days with, places I spent less than 24 hours in — and the uncomfortable top bunk, where I continuously hit my head on the ceiling?

It all began with an email offering me a spot on the Fulbright-Millennial Trains Project 2015 journey. One of my 2015 New Year’s Resolutions happened to be traveling to at least 10 cities across America, but being so busy with school barely afforded the time for it. Knowing that I got to travel to six cities across the United States on a train made me jump for joy.

From a Fall to a Fulbright: Navigating Academia with Disability

By Ailsa Lipscombe, 2015-2020, New Zealand

Ailsa Lipscombe

Ailsa Lipscombe, 2015-2020, New Zealand, receiving her Fulbright certificate with U.S. Ambassador to New Zealand Mark Gilbert, and New Zealand’s Attorney-General, the Hon. Chris Finlayson

In honor of the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, today’s post spotlights the story of current Fulbright Foreign Student from New Zealand, Ailsa Lipscombe, who shares how she has come to re-define her disability and pursue a Fulbright grant in the United States.

Changing attitudes towards disability both here in New Zealand and abroad have been invaluable in me gaining the confidence to continue my studies overseas as a young adult living with chronic pain and vision loss. After falling over at high school and developing a rare nerve disorder – Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) – that, among other things, causes constant pain throughout the body, I never dreamed that ten years later I would be preparing to move to the United States of America as part of the Fulbright Foreign Student Program; yet in September, I will move to Chicago where I will be studying towards my Ph.D. in Music at the University of Chicago.

Having completed my Master of Music at the New Zealand School of Music, I am excited to study in a new environment and alongside a new cohort of students, who I know will inspire and challenge me every day. My key research interests are in the way popular music intersects with narrativity and narratology, and in the multiplicity of ways listeners approach, interpret, understand, and share musical experiences. My work here in New Zealand has begun to explore these questions and I am ever grateful to the Fulbright Foreign Student Program for giving me the opportunity to unpack this research in a new academic and cultural context. As a musician and music scholar, I am thrilled to have the chance to study at an institution that values performance and/as research and I can’t wait to immerse myself in Chicago’s dynamic music scene both from inside and outside the classroom.

Impact Begins with the Individual

By Stephanie Herzog, 2012-2013, Fulbright English Teaching Assistant to Romania


Stephanie Herzog, 2012-2013, Fulbright English Teaching Assistant to Romania (left, back row by blackboard) takes some of her students from her English Language Enthusiasts Club at the Alexandru Ioan Cuza University in Iasi, Romania to a local middle school English class to give her university students hands-on English teaching experience

About a year after I had completed my Fulbright English Language Teaching Assistantship (ETA) in Romania, I received an email from a student in one of the literary analysis courses I had taught at Alexandru Ioan Cuza University, Iasi:

“…In the past few days I’ve been rereading Fitzgerald’s ‘Babylon’ revisited and ‘Cathedral’ by Raymond Carver and I actually got myself a copy of S. Anderson’s ‘Winesburg, Ohio’ because I had a very nice time reading the first short story of the collection. I am writing you this email because I really wanted to thank you for the wonderful opportunity you gave us to study these beautiful short stories and for the great way of discussing them in class. Your teaching method, academic and professional yet very warm and good-hearted, had a very high impact on me and made me actually look for more stories from those authors and even others. Thanks to you, I’m a little more into American literature than I was before, and I’m really grateful for that…”

Measuring the impact you have had on the local community you lived in while completing a Fulbright grant is not very easy, but this message reminded me that impact begins on an individual level. Everyone I had encountered and worked with while I was in Romania resulted in a very unique cultural and educational exchange that challenged my own mindset. It was nice to know, from the email above, that I challenged the mindsets of those I had met as well.