Category Archives: Foreign Fulbright
By Anastasiia Iefanova, 2011-2013, Ukraine
My Fulbright experience started with a Pre-academic Language Program at the University of Arkansas. There, I had an unforgettable experience interacting with students from different countries who became my friends while studying English with me. Meeting people from different parts of the world was one of the highlights of my Fulbright experience as it broadened my world view and helped me to better understand people from different cultural backgrounds. Living with a host family also improved my understanding of American culture as well as my English skills. My host family was very kind and helped me with everything. At the end of my Pre-academic Language Program, my English skills had improved exponentially. These experiences helped me to successfully begin my academic program at South Dakota State University and become more independent while living in the United States.
My master’s program in electrical engineering at South Dakota State University was initially very challenging. Everything was different from my previous school: the academics, how things were organized, and the teaching style. After a couple of months, things became more familiar, and I started to focus more on my research by working with Dr. Mahdi Farrokh Baroughi and his group.
By Yashpreet Bakshi, 2009-2010, Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant (FLTA) from India
My first journey outside of India was to Syracuse, New York in 2009 to attend a summer orientation for my Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistantship (FLTA). My Fulbright experience went smoothly in part because of the guidance I received during the orientation at Syracuse University, and in part because of the mid-year conference in Washington, DC. Being a Fulbright FLTA and cultural ambassador, I interacted not only with people I met and worked with in the United States, but with my fellow Fulbright FLTAs from more than 50 countries. At times during my grant, I felt like a newborn baby being guided at every step by the United States India Educational Foundation, the Institute of International Education, and the School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania. The environment in the United States was filled with different accents, people, manners – but the welcoming diversity around me made me feel at home.
By Fareed Mostoufi, 2009-2010, Fulbright English Teaching Assistant to Argentina
I had just returned home from six weeks of studying in Madrid, Spain, when my sister called to tell me about the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. Traveling to Madrid had been my dream since I applied to college, and I had come back startled by the vastness of the world and the richness of other cultures. She told me that the Fulbright U.S. Student Program was an opportunity to spend approximately a year abroad potentially conducting independent research, or assistant English teaching while developing personally and professionally. While still on the phone with my sister, I looked up the Fulbright U.S. Student Program website and decided instantly to apply…three weeks later.
Yes, I started the application process late. Hungry for resources on how to put an application together, I found out about and attended local information sessions, met with my university’s Fulbright Program Adviser, and searched the all-knowing Internet. I learned that I had to apply selectively to one country. I also learned that for the Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Program (ETA), I had to explicitly outline my teaching style and plans for extracurricular community work in my application. I also learned that professors had to be reminded gently, but regularly, to turn letters of reference in on time!
By Hilal Peker, 2011-2012, Turkey
Since the beginning of my Fulbright experience, I’ve learned a great deal about the United States: its culture, people, and multiculturalism. Being part of the Fulbright Foreign Student Program means not only learning about culture and education, but also interacting with the diverse culture of the United States.
I started my journey with my pre-academic orientation in Vermont. I learned about local values and the U.S. political, health, and educational systems. I also made many wonderful friends whom I visited during winter and summer breaks. As a first-year Fulbright Foreign Student, I had the opportunity to attend a Fulbright Enrichment Seminar in Philadelphia and learn about the U.S. political system in detail just before the 2012 elections, which were brought to life through election simulations. During the seminar, we participated in community service activities and helped to clean up a local community. My election group was then invited to a home hospitality dinner during which we talked about food from all around the world. This experience was one of the most unforgettable of my entire grant.
By Christian Braun, 2012-2013, Germany
Have you ever watched the TV show “Portlandia?” If you have, you’ll know what makes this city so special. For many people, Portland is the city of roses, food carts, beer, and coffee lovers, but it’s also the cycling capital of the United States. Riding my bike around Portland during my year as a Fulbright Foreign Student made me a part of one of the city’s most interesting subcultures. Besides getting to know the Portland area better than many locals, bike racing took me to places as far away as Idaho and Montana, but most importantly, it helped me gain a true cultural experience.
When it comes to cycling, Portlanders have come close to achieving their semi-official goal of “Keeping Portland Weird.” From riding unicycles, to the “World Naked Bike Ride,” cycling is much more than a means of commuting; it is a way of life. Thus, Portland State University (PSU) was a perfect match for me. With my Fulbright grant, I studied political science focusing on American foreign policy. In addition, I worked for the PSU mentor program, which partnered me with a university sophomore to teach general study skills and promote collaborative learning. This experience also gave me an opportunity to meet new people and interact with my fellow mentors.