Category Archives: Foreign Fulbright
By Mariana Aguilar, 2012-2014, Mexico
Our Fulbright Programs started with a Fulbright Gateway Orientation. As with any event these days, there was a Facebook group so that grantees could meet and find people who were going to our same host university. Tobi and I met there. We were both going to be studying at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and we started talking online. It was great to meet someone who was going through the same things as I was, and it was comforting to know that I would already have a friend in the city that would be home for the next two years.
August 20, 2012 came fast. It was the day I was to fly from Mexico City to Jackson, Mississippi for my Fulbright Gateway Orientation. It was an exciting time, and I was thrilled to meet so many other grantees. Tobi and I met after the first orientation session, when everyone was just standing around meeting new people. Suddenly, he came up to me and said, “You’re Mariana.” I remember thinking to myself that I really liked him when we went to a Mexican restaurant later and he asked me what to order. I suggested a popular beer cocktail called a Michelada. I didn’t think he would like it because Germans have a specific way they like their beer and that is with, well, just beer. This cocktail had everything from lime juice to hot sauce—he liked it. Success!
By Seanghuoy Ho, 2012-2014, Cambodia
In honor of the United Nations’ International Day of Women and Girls in Science, we are re-sharing Cambodian Fulbrighter Seanghuoy Ho’s post about her journey towards becoming a microbiologist, the research she conducted during her grant at Rutgers University, and how she plans on sharing her work back home in Cambodia.
When I was a little girl, I once watched a science program on TV in which I saw people wearing long white coats and goggles, holding long, round tubes. The tubes contained cloudy solutions and the people were viewing these solutions under machines called microscopes. I learned from that TV show that those solutions contained bacteria and that they were living creatures. Bacteria come in different shapes and colors, and need food, oxygen and specific temperatures in order to survive. As a kid, I was excited to learn more about these tiny creatures, even though at that time, I had no clue as to why people would want to study them. I dreamed about becoming a scientist one day and conducting research on these wonderful, tiny living things.
Now, thanks to a Fulbright Foreign Student grant, I am a master’s degree student in microbiology at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. Since my childhood, I’ve learned a great deal about microbes, specifically bacteria. I realize that I mostly saw bacteria on TV when they caused an outbreak. The majority of bacteria, however, are harmless and even beneficial to human beings. Antibiotics, chemical compounds produced by particular bacteria and used to treat many diseases, are one typical example of their benefits.
A core pillar of American life – from the boroughs of New York to the districts of Los Angeles – remains volunteerism. Through the act of giving back to the local community, participants embrace various kinds of service, build strong relationships, and impact society in innumerable positive ways, both large and small.
The 2016 Atlanta Fulbright Enrichment Seminar, held in Atlanta, Georgia, embodied this ideal of civic duty, in tandem with exploring U.S. electoral processes and traditions, from February 4-7, 2016. Over four engaging days, the 133 foreign Fulbrighters convened to explore U.S. political values, participated in a range of volunteer activities throughout Atlanta, and truly put “Democracy in Action.”
The Fulbright Program drew on the wisdom of Kerwin Swint, PhD, Chair of the Department of Political Science and International Affairs at Kennesaw State University, to guide and inform student discussions. A reputable writer and author, Swint’s work on electoral politics, media studies, and political history has been published on the BBC, Slate, and The Wall Street Journal.
In a U.S. election year, anything can happen. Understanding the processes behind U.S. campaigns, media relations, and voting are not only highly relevant, they’re vital for the next generation of informed global leaders and scholars.
The 2015 Austin Fulbright Enrichment Seminar, held in Austin, Texas, brought exactly these ideas to the forefront of discussion on December 10-13, 2015. Over four exciting days the 132 foreign Fulbrighters convened to explore U.S. political values, electoral process and traditions, the current presidential campaign and the role media plays in politics, specifically related to elections.
The Fulbright program sought out the expertise of the University of Texas-Austin and The Texas Politics Project’s Director, Jim Henson to facilitate discussion and deliver insights from academia and civil service.