Category Archives: Foreign Fulbright

“Only In Boston”

Fulbright-MTP Participant Anser Shaukat shares his inspiration for his MTP project

As our Fulbright-MTP participants make their way to Portland for tomorrow’s launch of the MTP 2014 journey, they reflect on their Fulbright experience thus far, what they believe are the most pressing issues facing global Millennials today and how their Fulbright-MTP project is a vehicle for enhancing mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.

In the words of Anser Shaukat, a Fulbright Foreign Student from Pakistan:

It’s been two years since that bright eyed lad stepped out of Logan, on what he would later learn, is considered a particularly bright and beautiful day in New England.

As I sit now preparing for my upcoming journey in the Millennial Trains Project, excited about discovering the varying cultural landscapes of the U.S, I can’t help but think about that boy and my first experience in the landscape of Boston.

Anser Shaukat is a current Fulbright Foreign Student from Pakistan.

Anser Shaukat is a current Fulbright Foreign Student from Pakistan.

My plan was to take the bus-tram hybrid, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s (MBTA) Silver Line to South Station and from there transfer to the bus to New Bedford, my final destination. I thought I had done my research, looked up the times and the routes, but I was in no way prepared to handle the unique challenges offered by a new city. I huffed and puffed my three pieces of brand new luggage on the Silver Line, which right up until that moment were my trophies of readiness; Two years of life in the land of the free, packed in two pieces of checked baggage and one hand carry. A hundred and thirty pounds; barely under the weight limit. The inevitability of the situation makes me laugh at that boy and the pride he had in those bags. He had felt ready then, prepared to take on the new world and his new life.

Fulbright-Millennial Trains Project Participants

The U.S. Department of State selected the following five Fulbright Foreign Students to participate in the second Millennial Trains Project (MTP) voyage across the United States — leaving from Portland, Oregon on August 7 and ending in New York, New York on August 17 — as an enrichment component of the Fulbright Foreign Student program. The five Fulbrighters will join 20 other riders on the MTP journey to gain an in-depth understanding of life in the United States and to strengthen their skills in leadership, social entrepreneurship, and communication.

Meet the five Fulbright participants:

Alyas_WiditaAlyas Abibawa Widita is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Iowa. Graduated with Bachelor of Engineering in Architecture from Indonesia’s Gadjah Mada University, as well as attended a one year academic exchange during his senior year at Escuela Tecnica Superior Arquitectura y Geodesia, Universidad de Alcala, Spain. Widita’s research interests focus on the dynamic transformation of built environment and its influence on the way people live, move and behave both in domestic and international settings.

Born and raised in Yogyakarta, a medium-sized city in the center of Java — the most populous island in Indonesia where train is popular choice for intercity passenger transport. Widita has fond memories of railway transport as he used this mode quite regularly during his childhood and looks forward to the MTP journey. Widita’s MTP project, “Millennials and the Future Cities,” is inspired by United Nations research stating that in 2050 70 percent of the world’s population will be city dwellers. Widita believes Millennials cannot be overlooked in the process of urban development as they will inevitably inherit the world’s urban landscape and assume leadership. His project aims to study Millennials’ current engagement in this process and to garner Millennials’ ideas (and concerns) about the future cities. He plans to share his results at the 2015 American Planning Association annual meeting in Seattle.

Katie_NikolaevaKatie Nikolaeva is a Fulbright Student from Russia and studies international economics at Brandeis University in Massachusetts. She is trilingual and fluently speaks Russian, French and English. She also speaks German and is currently studying Chinese.

Nikolaeva is passionate about economics, the only discipline that she believes connects exact science with human behavior. During the MTP journey she will explore small businesses and social innovation across industrial cities in northern American states. Exploring those cities and their small businesses, she will collect and share the best innovative ideas, thus contributing to the development of small business through talking about breakthrough ideas and creative approach to startups. She plans to keep a videoblog of the experience.

From Argentina to Minnesota: My Fulbright Experience

By Laureana Moreno, 2013-2014, Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant from Argentina

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Laureana Moreno, 2013-2014, Fulbright FLTA from Argentina (right), providing information about Argentinian culture to an American student at the University of St. Thomas’ International Fair

When I first learned that I would spend an academic year in St. Paul, Minnesota as a Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant (FLTA), I did not know what to expect. The first thing everybody would tell me after I shared that I was going to Minnesota was, ‘It’s going to be so cold!’ and ‘Be ready for a lot of snow.’ I had no idea what the Twin Cities (St. Paul and Minneapolis) had in store for me. I am a Spanish-language Fulbright FLTA, and I assist students in their linguistic and cultural learning process, as well as professors, usually substituting for them or providing sessions on Spanish culture. I have also been engaged with the campus Spanish Club, helped to organize tango lessons and Spanish conversation groups.

My first few days in the ‘Land of the 10,000 Lakes’ were filled with new people and roommates, different cultures, and sunny, warm weather. As time went by, my new group of friends from France, Italy, Ireland, Spain, Czech Republic, Germany, and the United States grew closer. This unity was enhanced by each of us sharing our unique cultural customs. We organized a dinner and cooked empanadas, a very typical dish in Argentina (whose closest equivalent is an English Cornish pastry or a slightly larger Indian samosa). The filling in the empanadas varied from mince with vegetables to just cheese and sautéed onions. In Argentina, it is customary to make and drink mate while cooking, and that is exactly what we did. Mate is a traditional drink which tastes very similar to tea, but which is drunk in a different manner. Mate is served in a wooden cup which is filled with yerba (similar to black tea typically found in tea bags). Then, hot water (which must not be boiling hot) is poured into the mate so that the yerba gets wet, and through a metal straw, called a bombilla, one drinks the hot water flavored with the yerba.

The Global Scientist: from a Hotel Lobby to the World

By André Filgueiras de Araujo, 2010-2014, Brazil, and Ronan Killian McGovern, 2010-2014, Ireland

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Tamaki Bieri, 2010-2014, International Fulbright Science & Technology grantee from Switzerland, presented how an interdisciplinary approach to coral reef monitoring generates world-class science and art

It had been six years since the launch of the International Fulbright Science & Technology Award and we, as fellows, were sitting in a hotel lobby in Washington, DC. We’d spoken over dinner the previous night of how slick it might be to have a forum where we could write about our science with the freedom to focus only on the big picture. We worked numbers and wrote journal articles by day, but if we could share, with the public, our ideas in a way that changed how they saw the world – that, we thought, would be the ultimate presentation of our research.

We are Ronan and André, S&T Fulbrighters from the 2010 cohort. Ronan comes from Ireland and is doing a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering at MIT, focusing on desalination. André comes from Brazil and is doing a Ph.D. in electrical engineering at Stanford, focusing on computer vision.

The Fulbright experience has led us to many parts of the United States — California, Colorado, Florida, DC, Pennsylvania, Louisiana — exposing us to the spectacular diversity this country is made of. The best part of all is the chance to interact with locals, understanding the challenges they face in their day-to-day lives. We remember vividly the efforts of scientists in New Orleans to avoid future situations like the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, for example.

Spreading Love on the Green

By Hyacinthe Nare, 2013-2015, Burkina Faso

Hyacinthe Nare, 2013-2015, Burkina Faso

Hyacinthe Nare, 2013-2015, Burkina Faso (left), volunteering with Spread the Love on the New Haven Green

I still happily recall the day I became a Fulbright Foreign Student, an opportunity which has allowed me to share my culture and background while benefiting from exposure to people from different nations. As a grantee from Burkina Faso, I am currently pursuing the environmental management program at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. I am majoring in climate change, adaptation, and mitigation, and my interests include climate change and the quest for clean energy, particularly in developing countries.

When I arrived in the United States, I could not wait to become active in the Yale community. The school of forestry and environmental studies offers a unique three-week training module at Yale’s Myers and Great Mountain Forests and in New Haven’s urban areas. For this program, I worked with a group to perform field exercises, took measurements in forests, sampled species in ecosystems, and used orientation tools. I also shared my culture and experience outside classroom activities by working with the breakfast clean-up crews and participating in team sports, while learning from others. For the first time in my life, I played softball and scored a run, but I wish I hadn’t. Not knowing the rules, I only realized my achievement when applause and cheers followed!

What I remember most about the training is the classroom debate and some of the ideas generated by students which revealed how issues can be analyzed from several angles based on different cultural perspectives. As a student in the Master of Environmental Management Program, I actively participate in class projects and witness how students from all corners of the globe work together and roll up their sleeves to address global challenges such as climate change.