Category Archives: Foreign Fulbright

We Are the “They” That Can Change the World: My Hult Prize Experience

By Tenele Dlamini, 2015-2017, Swaziland

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Tenele Dlamini, 2015-2017, Swaziland (left), attending the 2016 Hult Prize Regionals in San Francisco, California – the only participating all-female team

I have always been passionate about making a difference in people’s lives. Studying economics as an undergrad exposed me to the field’s power and how it can be used as a tool to transform people’s lives. This passion led me to apply to the Fulbright Program. Now, I’m fortunate enough to be a Fulbright Student enrolled in the Graduate Program of Economic Development (GPED) at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.

This past academic year, I had the honor of representing my university at the 2016 Hult Prize Challenge Regionals, in San Francisco, California. The Hult Prize Challenge is an initiative of The Clinton Foundation. It is an annual case competition open to university students from all over the world that they enter through their universities. Each year presents a new challenge of global concern that students have to solve. The challenge is mostly a way to mobilize social entrepreneurship as a method to solving some of the world’s biggest problems.

Hopping on and off the Train

By Laura Jimenez Morales, 2015-2017, Mexico

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A Detroit worker mural by Diego Rivera

Having had some time to reflect on my Fulbright Millennial Trains Project experience, I have to say that it all seems like a blur. If I had to choose one word to describe it, I would say overwhelming, in the best way. It was overwhelming (and incredibly inspiring) being around so many people with so many ideas and plans. It was overwhelming to travel such a long distance in such a short amount of time. It was overwhelming to process so much new information each and every day. Even off the train, I continue to be overwhelmed by the experience, and hope to eventually be able to process and digest it, bit by bit. I know that many of the lessons I learned, and the advice I received, will continue to come to mind whenever I need it; I know that it will be stored in there for years to come.

One day, while on the back vestibule of the train, I spoke to some of the other participants about how I wished I could  keep some moments alive forever so I could replay them when I needed to recall the way I felt that day, in that moment. Several of them agreed, but someone spoke of the importance of letting go, about how what makes these moment precious is the fact that they don’t last forever, because they are not meant to. I think that is important advice in trying to process this experience. I had so many encounters, so many conversations, learned so many lessons, that I know I will not be able to remember everything that happened. So, I have to trust that the right things will stay in my consciousness, and that they will be there when I feel the need to look back on them. As for the rest, I feel comfortable letting it go.

Around The U.S. In 7 Days For Education Equality

By Jarod Yong, 2015-2017, Malaysia

Fulbrighter Jarod Yong (right), Malaysia, with Millennial Trains Project Founder and Fulbright U.S. Student Program alumnus Patrick Dowd (left).
Fulbrighter Jarod Yong (right), Malaysia, with Millennial Trains Project Founder and Fulbright U.S. Student Program alumnus Patrick Dowd (left).

Fulbrighter Jarod Yong (right), Malaysia, with Millennial Trains Project Founder and Fulbright U.S. Student Program alumnus Patrick Dowd (left).

If I were to summarize my MTP journey into one word, it would be “affirmation.

Prior to my Fulbright, I was a teacher at a secondary school deep within the jungles of Borneo. My students were children from one of the most marginalized people groups in my country. During those six years, I designed and initiated multiple education programs which aimed to holistically develop my students in ways that their homes or the school could never do.

Being a guest to the U.S., I am naturally curious about education programs that exist for children from marginalized communities in this country. Therefore, my project during the MTP journey involved visiting and learning from organizations working to bridge education disparities for at-risk communities in the U.S.

Hope Towards a Collaborative Future

By Yanoa Carrasco, 2015-2017, Peru

MTP Change Journey participants -- 360 degree group photo.
MTP Change Journey participants -- 360 degree group photo.

MTP Change Journey participants — 360 degree group photo.

A few days ago I ended one of the best experiences that I had during my first year as a Fulbright Student. I participated in the Millennial Trains Project (MTP), a once in a lifetime opportunity to travel across the United States while developing a project about how museums engage with their communities.

The experience was so amazing that it’s impossible not to talk about for hours, but if I had to describe the trip in one word it would be “inspirational,” Why did I choose that word? Well I think that it describes the atmosphere that surrounded me during the entire journey.

During the trip I had the chance to meet marvelous young researchers that had similar questions about our society. We realized that despite our different cultural backgrounds we have similar goals in topics related to education, politics, civil rights, and community engagement, among others. Hearing their stories and being able to witness throughout the duration of the journey how they developed their projects to solve those problems, inspired me.

A Need for Responsible Consumerism

By Desiree Barao Garcia, 2015-2016, Germany

Fulbright MTP participant from Germany, Desiree Garcia, right, on Millennial Train Change Journey 2016.
Fulbright MTP participant from Germany, Desiree Garcia, right, on Millennial Train Change Journey 2016.

Fulbright MTP participant from Germany, Desiree Garcia, right, with fellow MTP participant, Leah Elizabeth Edwards, on Millennial Train Change Journey 2016.

Imagine walking around your city. All you see are evacuated stores falling apart, “for rent” signs dominating the view, yet knowing the chances for these spaces to be rented out are slim. Suddenly your memories take you back to a time when the stores were filled with people and all kinds of products. You remember how you, too, used to purchase your things here and you can still recall the smell and warmth of the stores, and the stories you were told by the store owners that were around for generations and knew the neighborhood and its people better than anyone. You find yourself smiling at that thought and then it hits you.

All this is no more. Main Street is dead.

Though I wished this was a fully fictional scene, I am sad to say that we are moving towards this quite quickly.