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 »


Fulbright-Millennial Trains Project Participants

Alyas_WiditaAlyas Abibawa Widita is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Iowa. Graduated with Bachelor of Engineering in Architecture from Indonesia’s Gadjah Mada University, as well as attended a one year academic exchange during his senior year at Escuela Tecnica Superior Arquitectura y Geodesia, Universidad de Alcala, Spain. Widita’s research interests focus on the dynamic transformation of built environment and its influence on the way people live, move and behave both in domestic and international settings.

Born and raised in Yogyakarta, a medium-sized city in the center of Java — the most populous island in Indonesia where train is popular choice for intercity passenger transport. Widita has fond memories of railway transport as he used this mode quite regularly during his childhood and looks forward to the MTP journey. Widita’s MTP project, “Millennials and the Future Cities,” is inspired by United Nations research stating that in 2050 70 percent of the world’s population will be city dwellers. Widita believes Millennials cannot be overlooked in the process of urban development as they will inevitably inherit the world’s urban landscape and assume leadership. His project aims to study Millennials’ current engagement in this process and to garner Millennials’ ideas (and concerns) about the future cities. He plans to share his results at the 2015 American Planning Association annual meeting in Seattle.

Katie_NikolaevaKatie Nikolaeva is a Fulbright Student from Russia and studies international economics at Brandeis University in Massachusetts. She is trilingual and fluently speaks Russian, French and English. She also speaks German and is currently studying Chinese.

Nikolaeva is passionate about economics, the only discipline that she believes connects exact science with human behavior. During the MTP journey she will explore small businesses and social innovation across industrial cities in northern American states. Exploring those cities and their small businesses, she will collect and share the best innovative ideas, thus contributing to the development of small business through talking about breakthrough ideas and creative approach to startups. She plans to keep a videoblog of the experience.

Sweet Home Spain

By Arienne Jones, 2012-2013, Fulbright English Teaching Assistant to Spain

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Ari Jones, 2012-2013, Fulbright English Teaching Assistant to Spain (right), with Global Classrooms participants

I was nervous about going back to Spain. The country held a dear place in my heart, as studying abroad in Granada, Spain was my first international experience. I questioned whether I made the right decision in applying for a grant in Spain. Would my Fulbright experience tarnish my love for the country? Thankfully, it did not. There will never be anything like Granada 2010, but there will also never be another Madrid 2012-2013.

As an English Teaching Assistant (ETA), I taught a variety of subjects at a secondary bilingual institution, IES Parque de Lisboa, in the Comunidad de Madrid region of Spain. I had the opportunity to conduct two lecture series on slavery and the Civil Rights Movement. As a history major, I loved discussing these topics, but I believe (and hope) that they induced my students to think more critically about the role of racial and ethnic diversity in Spain, especially at a time when the country is being urged to take an active stand against racism and xenophobia.

In addition to my traditional classroom teaching, I co-taught Global Classrooms, which encourages students to explore world issues through a Model United Nations simulation. The four months during which my co-worker and I taught fourteen brilliant students about topics ranging from clean water issues to good debating strategies were some of the most rewarding interactions I had in Spain. Watching our students display their hard work at the Global Classrooms conference was beautifully humbling.

Experiencing Life, Business and Education in Mexico

By Joshua Rodriguez, 2013-2014, Binational Fulbright Internship grantee to Mexico

Joshua Rodriguez

(Left to right) 2013 Binational Business Internship grantees Joshua Rodriguez, Alex Honjiyo, Christopher Bergan, and Jeff Macdonald traveling through the Yucatan

When I was first asked to write a piece for the Fulbright Student Program Blog, I was at a loss for words. How could I possibly describe such a life-changing experience? If a picture is a worth a thousand words, then how many words is a year living abroad? Simply put, Mexico has taken my breath away.

As I went to the theater this past weekend, I saw an advertisement that encouraged tourism in Chiapas. The slogan was great, “Chiapasiónate. I started to think to myself if I had to create an advertisement for tourism in Mexico, what would it be? Would it start with the incredible beaches of Zihuatanejo and Cancún? Or, should I start with the Mayan ruins in the Yucatán and Chiapas? I could focus on the gorgeous neoclassical churches in San Miguel de Allende, Querétaro and Guanajuato. But how could I forget the cosmopolitan city that is Mexico City?

Honestly, this blog post cannot suffice to explain my love affair with Mexico. Mexico has 32 UNESCO world heritage sites. It is the birthplace of the New World. The food is out of this world. Mexico is the political, economic and social gateway into Latin America.

Everybody Loves Turtles

By Morrison Mast, 2013-2014, Panama

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Morrison Mast, 2013-2014, Panama, examines a juvenile hawksbill turtle that washed up nearly dead on the shore; a local fisherman has since nursed it back to good health and re-released it into the wild

“Everybody loves turtles,” my father would say. After he went from being an early-career marine biologist to managing an international wildlife conservation organization (Conservation International), this phrase was an indispensable fixture of his speeches at foundations, scientific symposia, and universities.

This was an almost “universal fact,” he would claim, and it was the basis of the Sea Turtle Flagship Program (now SWOT, a program of the Oceanic Society), an extremely successful initiative founded on the concept that when you invest in the conservation of turtles, a charismatic, universally recognized symbol of peace, you’re also necessarily investing in the conservation of marine wildlife and biodiversity as a whole. By addressing climate change, fisheries regulation, beachfront development, and other threats to sea turtles, you’re addressing the needs of marine ecosystems around the world. After having traveled to dozens of sea turtle conservation projects around the globe, I would never have expected the one place where I’ve found my father’s words to be untrue to be the place where people are most effectively accomplishing “conservation.”

The reason my father’s words don’t apply here in Armila, Panama, is because the Guna Indians’ conception of turtles isn’t necessarily based on positive feelings. During my time as a Fulbrighter working in the indigenous Guna Yala region of Panama, near the border with Colombia, I’ve heard leatherback turtles (Dermochelys coriacea) described in local folklore as being “ugly,” “scary,” “intelligent,” and “vengeful.” For this reason, the residents of Armila, home to one of the world’s densest nesting aggregations of this endangered species, have for a hundred years given these turtles the right of way when it comes to nesting; they don’t remove any eggs or kill any adult turtles, both of which are a source of protein that is heavily exploited around the world.

Being Open to the Unexpected: My Fulbright Year in Morocco

By Jacqueline Bishop, 2008-2009, Morocco

Jacqueline Bishop

Jacqueline Bishop, 2008-2009, Morocco, at an exhibition of her patchwork quilts made from Moroccan djellabas and scarves in Morocco

Sometimes you go in search of one thing, and yes, you find that one thing, but you find many other things as well. That is what my Fulbright year in Morocco was like.

I went to Morocco to study the burgeoning lifestyle magazine industry that had sprung up in the country over recent years. Within a very short period of time there were several “du Maroc” (of Morocco) magazines being published in the country – Cuisine du Maroc, Architecture du Maroc, Jardins du Maroc – and I was intrigued by the phenomenon. I wondered: Why are all these magazines now being published in Morocco? In time I came to realize that this all had to do with a burgeoning middle class.

But Morocco held many surprises for me. I discovered, for example, a rich embroidery tradition rooted in the history of Morocco. In time, because I am a visual artist, I started to utilize this embroidery in the creation of a series of patchwork quilts. In these quilts, there is a central embroidery around which I used various textiles often associated with women – scarves and djellabas in particular – both to emphasize the main embroidery and to extend the quilts into patchworks. In effect I was marrying both African American and Moroccan art forms.