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 »

 

Un Natale Viterbese

By Sara Hales, 2014-2015, Fulbright English Teaching Assistant to Italy

Sara

Card games on Christmas at Valentina’s house (clockwise from front center: Sara Hales, 2014-2015, Fulbright English Teaching Assistant to Italy, Alessandro Foti, Giulio Merlani, Alessandro Petricca, Valentina Petricca, Federico Fuser, Chiara Fersini, Daniele Ragni, Cristiano Petrini, Riccardo delle Monache, Cristina Cecchetti I spent Christmas Eve and Day with one of my teachers, Orietta

I’ve been putting off writing this post because I don’t really know where to begin in describing my Italian Christmas experience. Throughout December, I anxiously anticipated my first Christmas away from my family with a mixture of excitement and dread. The holiday itself here in Viterbo, Italy, where I am working as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA), was likewise a mixture of the familiar and the new. As I walked through the bancarelle downtown, I got to see, smell, and participate in the charming European tradition of the Christmas market. But even this became a reminder of the commercialism of Christmas that many in the United States have tried to move away from. Italy is not immune from the commercialization of Christmas, and many that I’ve met here have expressed disdain for the market booths filled with useless trinkets. I was quite pleased, however, to discover a box of Christmas decorations in my apartment, so in true American fashion, I put them up the day after Thanksgiving.

A few days later, a friend came over and was surprised to see my decorations already displayed. Locals decorate for Christmas on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8. So I had jumped the gun, but this was luckily rectified by my adopted family who invited me over to have lunch and help them decorate their home on December 8.

The Deadline for Fulbright-mtvU Applications is Tomorrow!

Fulbright-mtvU applications for the 2015-2016 competition are due tomorrow, Friday, February 27 at 5:00 p.m. EST.

Have last minute questions? Carefully review all guidelines and tips on our website and then contact Susan Muendl at smuendl@iie.org. Good luck!

AndrewMcGill_Malawi

Andrew Magill, 2009-2010, Fulbright-mtvU Fellow to Malawi

 

 

 

 

 

“Mo Kapav Koz en Kreol Aster” (I Can Speak in Kreol Now)

By Diana Heise, 2011-2012, Mauritius

Diana Heise

Diana Heise, 2011-2012, Mauritius, filming for “Lame La Kone” (The Knowing Hand) in the sugarcane fields by Barkly

To give a glance into my Fulbright experience in Mauritius, I need to begin with the fact that I am a classically trained singer and it was through my relationship with music that I submerged myself in Mauritian culture. I hadn’t seriously sung for years and did not expect this impact when I was applying. So, as you start your application, I would recommend that you consider all the activities that have defined you, as these interests will help you connect abroad. For me, it was through this latent relationship to music that I became an adopted member of the band ABAIM, the crux of my Fulbright experience and my ongoing research.

ABAIM is a musical atelier with 30 members of mostly young people. Their songs are inspired by Sega Tipik, the lament music of African slaves. Additionally, they are one of the last safeguarding organizations of this musical tradition and who still teach the Ravann – a Mauritian drum and principle instrument of Sega Tipik.

ABAIM also considers itself a development organization, developing the lives of the community through music. On Saturdays, more than 60 children from throughout the island attend. Writing skills and traditional games are taught, children report news of the week during democratic assemblies, conversation can range from recounting birthdays to comments on the Syrian crisis. All in between singing.

Congratulations to the 2014-2015 Fulbright Top Producing Institutions!

The 2014-2015 list of #Fulbright Top Producing Institutions has been posted by The Chronicle of Higher Education!

We congratulate all of this year’s Top Producers!

Is your alma mater or current institution on this year’s list?
http://chronicle.com/article/Top-Producers-of-US/151607/

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Beginnings: Making Your First Contact

By Giuseppe Cespedes, 2011-2012, Fulbright English Teaching Assistant to Brazil

Giuseppe Cespedes

Giuseppe Cespedes, 2011-2012, Fulbright ETA to Brazil (left, with guitar), on his first visit to the Universidade Estadual de Santa Cruz, playing music to his then future students, having a casual conversation (in his initially limited Portuguese), and enjoying some delicious Brazilian pastries

When you are applying for Fulbright U.S. Student Program grant, remember that Fulbright is not solely about assistant teaching English or about doing research; you need to dig deeper. Fulbright was my community in Pontal, a small beach town in the city of Ilhéus, Brazil. It was the place where I made my first group of Brazilian friends, where I learned how to dance forró, and where I practiced capoeira. As a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant, Fulbright placed me at the forefront of my first English class at Universidade Estadual de Santa Cruz, a state university where students from all across the state of Bahia came to attend. My students, pushed by their curiosity, unabashedly asked me questions about my life and my perspectives on Brazilian culture. I tried my best to answer with my limited Portuguese. I was teaching while being taught. My students were my most encouraging Portuguese teachers, and the more we learned from each other, the closer we became as a group.

My students weren’t always the most confident English speakers, so I thought to incorporate music into the classroom to ease the tension. It started off with simple classroom activities, but it quickly spawned into a small choir of dedicated students with different levels of English. The choir met outside of class hours, performed at one of our campus-wide presentations, and we even recorded a few songs at the university recording studio. The choir wasn’t anything fancy or professional, but the students took to it and – if only for a moment – they sang without being consumed by self-awareness of their pronunciation.

Fulbright made me appreciate my own uniqueness, and it brought me into another culture I would have never otherwise experienced. If you want to be tourist, there are several ways to travel, but if you want to grow within a community, then Fulbright might be for you.