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 »

 

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.

Life After Chernobyl

By Michael Forster Rothbart, 2008-2009, Ukraine

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Michael Forster Rothbart, 2008-2009, Ukraine, taking photos in the Semikhody graveyard less than a mile from the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant

The following blog post is by alumnus Michael Forster Rothbart, who coordinated the compilation and assembly of the current Fulbright Alumni Photography Exhibit, now showing in The Atrium Gallery at the Ronald Reagan Building, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC, through November 10, 2014. Opening reception and gala to be held at the gallery on Friday, October 17 at 5:30 p.m. Visit the gallery’s Facebook page to learn more.

One month into my Fulbright U.S. Student Program grant to Ukraine, I moved to Sukachi, a village of 1,200, ten miles from the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone.

What’s it like to live near Chernobyl? It depends who you ask. “Is it even safe?” they asked in Kyiv. “Why would you want to live up there, in the middle of nowhere?!” But when people in Sukachi asked where I lived, I said I rented a room from Nina. “Oh, how convenient,” they’d say. “That’s right in the middle of the village!”

I made friends. I drank vodka with my landlord Nina. I drank tea with Viktor. I photographed my neighbors. Sasha, a recovering alcoholic, taught me how to cut hay. Slava, a doctor at the Chernobyl plant, taught me to make borscht. I went to church. I lived my life like the locals as much as I possibly could.

My commitment to this project began when I discovered how most photojournalists distort Chernobyl. They visit briefly, expecting danger and despair, and come away with photos of deformed children and abandoned buildings. This sensationalist approach obscures the more complex stories about how displaced communities adapt and survive.

In contrast, I sought to create full portraits of these communities. I saw suffering, but also joy and beauty, endurance and hope. Living directly in the villages where I photographed gave me access to events and people with an insider’s perspective.

Fulbright U.S. Student Applications Are Due Today. Good Luck to All Applicants!

Submitting a Fulbright U.S. Student Program application today by 5:00 p.m. EST and want to know what happens next? Check out our interactive application timeline that shows you what happens month-to-month, before, during – and after – you’ve submitted your online application.

Have last minute questions? Contact us! We wish this year’s applicants the best of luck!

Competition Timeline

A Son of the Desert in the Middle of the Snow

By Ahmed Alsuleimani, 2013-2014, Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant from Oman

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Ahmed Alsuleimani, 2013-2014 Fulbright FLTA from Oman, enjoying the snow in Lansing, Michigan during his Fulbright FLTA grant and the desert back home in Oman

I am from an Arab gulf country called Oman and I spent nine months at Michigan State University as a Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant (FLTA) teaching Arabic. Michigan was one of the most magnificent places I have ever lived in. Many might know something about my culture having to do with oil and camels. As a Fulbright FLTA, my role was to help educate people I met and worked with about Oman, a very exciting and challenging task.

Changing ideas and stereotypes about my culture was an important responsibility during my Fulbright FLTA grant, and did this by participating in open discussions and through language lessons, which I enjoyed a great deal. When I arrived, I initially went through a difficult time and had some tough decisions to make in order to pursue my grant. The media had given me an unclear message about the United States, but I was shocked by what I actually saw after I settled in. I experienced a completely different environment, culture and lifestyle than what I’d learned through Hollywood movies and the news. I traveled around the country and talked to many Americans in and outside of Michigan State University to develop a better understanding about their lives. I’ve since learned that there is a huge difference between the U.S. portrayed in television and movies, and the real America.