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 »

 

Passport to the World

By Christelle Mputu, 2014-2016, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Christelle Mputu

Christelle Mputu, 2014-2016, Democratic Republic of the Congo (second from left), presenting with some fellow volunteers at St. Cloud State University’s “Passport to the World” event

I am Christelle Mputu, a Fulbright Student from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. I am currently pursuing a Master of Science program in Applied Economics from August 2014 to May 2016 at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota.

St. Cloud State University has many international students from a very broad number of countries, ranging from Latin America to Africa, Asia and Europe. Each year, it organizes a great event called “Passport to the World.” This event is free and open to the public, and showcases up to 28 cultures through performances and hands-on activities. Displays of cultural artifacts and song and dance performances from all over the world are showcased.

“Passport to the World” allows people from the city of Saint Cloud, especially youth from different schools, to have a better understanding of different countries and cultures: figuring out which continent is such or such country in, what makes a country different from another, what is its culture, which languages are spoken, their indigenous fauna and flora, etc. My observation from this event was that people tended to learn more by seeing and “experiencing” a country – even if that country is in fact presented only in a booth!

After the Quake: For Former Fulbrighters to Nepal, it’s Hard to Stay Away

By Danielle Preiss, 2008-2009, Nepal

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Danielle Preiss, 2008-2009, Nepal, manning a table at a rehab center flea market, during her Fulbright U.S. Student grant

The first thing I remember about preparing to travel to Nepal on a Fulbright U.S. Student grant to study Kathmandu’s drug rehabilitation system was the Nepal Fulbright Commission’s manual. The inch thick book devoted about half of its space to earthquake preparedness. This seemed excessive. I know now of course that it wasn’t.

I began my Fulbright grant in the fall of 2008. According to the manual, Nepal’s earthquake cycle lasts about 75 years, with the last massive quake in 1934. That put my year smack in the middle of when the big one should come. I also now know how agonizingly imprecise earthquake science can be.

Since 2009, I’ve returned to Nepal often. Once you’ve lived in and loved Nepal, the habit is hard to quit. The threat of a massive earthquake hitting was always in the back of my mind, like it undoubtedly was for most Nepalis. I’d walk through Kathmandu’s gorgeous brick alleys in the shadow of concrete high rises wondering which would hold up better (surprisingly it was the high rises), and peer out from viewpoints over the city already heartbroken for the day when buildings would crumble with lives inside.

Confidence in the Face of Fear: Reflections from a Current Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Malaysia

By Akirah Crawford, 2014-2015, Fulbright English Teaching Assistant to Malaysia

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Akirah Crawford, 2014-2015, Fulbright English Teaching Assistant to Malaysia (third from right), preps her students for the annual Debate Competition. They are the opposition, running up against the government!

My experience thus far as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) at SMK Tan Sri Abdul Aziz secondary school in Malaysia has truly opened my eyes to the importance of cultural exchange for building and maintaining lasting relationships with other countries. I am also realizing the importance of English not merely as a language but also an avenue to opportunity. At times it is clear that my students lack motivation when speaking English, not only because they are uncomfortable speaking it but also because they are unsure of its relevance to their lives. This is where I come in! As an ETA, I like to think of myself as the “Motivator” or “Confidence Queen”. Motivating my students to utilize their newly acquired skills as a means of social empowerment made me realize that my students are powerful in ways in which they do not always recognize themselves.

One of my most rewarding moments thus far was my school’s participation in the English-speaking Debate Competition. We were the opposition going up against the government on the issue that international schools hamper nation building. My students panicked upon realizing their position was the opposition. I remember one student saying, “Teacher, who is going to believe us? We are going up against the government you know”. I chuckled at this remark while immediately dispelling his conceived notions of doubt. “We are going to win,” I said and he believed me. It was in that moment that a seed was planted. On the ride to the competition I had students silently repeat to themselves affirmations including: “I am the best”, “We will win” and “I am the best English speaking student in all of Perak”. I saw their nervous energy transform into a burning desire to win. After much doubt from others and only one day to prepare, my students surprised themselves and their competition! They blew the competitors out of water! Everyone was amazed by how eloquently they presented their arguments in English.

Plasma Fused Cultures in South Korea

By Nathan Taylor, 2013-2014, South Korea

Nathan Taylor

Nathan Taylor, 2013-2014, South Korea (third from right), with his lab coworkers, visiting scholars from Germany in Bukchon Hanok Village in Seoul, South Korea

Prior to my experience as a Fulbright Student, I had almost no connection to South Korea. Before my Fulbright grant, I had been working on my Ph.D. at Drexel University in Philadelphia for the last five years and had never lived outside of my home state of Pennsylvania for any appreciable amount of time. The only tie that I had to South Korea was my research interests and a passion for learning about different cultures. I was introduced the Plasma Bioscience Research Center (PBRC) at Kwangwoon University by my research adviser at Drexel, so I advise any potential applicants to reach out to their advisors for connections as well. After receiving the fellowship, I spent 10 months living and working in Seoul, South Korea.

The people I met in South Korea were some of the most hospitable people that I have ever had the privilege of knowing. From my very first day, I was treated better than I could have imagined. The day that I landed, I was taken from the airport to my house and minutes later (after a 23 hour trip without a shower), went to a dinner with all of the lab members I would be working with and a visiting lab team from Japan. It was quite jarring, but they wanted to make sure that I was introduced as soon as possible and included in the event that was happening.

Volunteering for the Food Fighters: A Weekend at D.C. Central Kitchen

By Sundas Liaqat, 2014-2016, Pakistan

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Sundas Liaqat, 2014-2016, Pakistan, poses at the entrance of the D.C. Central Kitchen, an organization that prepares 5,000 meals daily for smaller homeless shelters, soup kitchens, and NGOs in the DC area

My name is Sundas and I am from Pakistan, a poverty-stricken and underdeveloped country. I am passionate about poverty alleviation, particularly through women’s empowerment and children’s education. To help enact my goals, I am currently a Fulbright Student enrolled in the graduate Social Enterprise Program at American University in Washington, DC. My academic focus is specifically international development.

Because of my goal of becoming a social change agent, and my desire to honor the ideals of what it means to be a Fulbrighter, I volunteered to help prepare meals for the homeless at the D.C. Central Kitchen in December 2014.