Category Archives: U.S. Fulbright

The Simple Things That Matter

By Charles M. Hornstra, 2012-2013, Fulbright English Teaching Assistant to Malaysia

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Charles M. Hornstra, 2012-2013, Fulbright English Teaching Assistant to Malaysia (sixth from right, in green shirt), with the SMK Indahpura Dodgeball Team posing for a picture in the rain after practice

Living on the outskirts of a jungle, adapting to different spicy foods, eating with your hands, bearing the relentless heat, and being the only foreigner in the community who does not speak the native language were all experiences that quickly became a part of my life while living in Kulaijaya, Malaysia, as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant at SMK Indahpura.

At the beginning of the year, most of the students were excited to see me, but many of them would only stare from afar and avoid interaction for of having to use their English. After a few weeks of embarrassing myself through games, lessons, and many awkward attempts to get a laugh, I finally was able to gain the trust of the students while forming one of the most amazing bonds that I have ever experienced in my life–one that I will never forget.

Building a Boy a Bionic Arm: The Spirit of Shared, Open Sourced Technology

By Albert Manero II, 2014-2015, Germany

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, gave me an incredible opportunity to participate in my first international experience. Just a few weeks later I landed in Köln, Germany, for a 10-week exchange with the German Aerospace Center (DLR). As my first experience immersed in a new culture, my entire view of the world was changed. Our collaboration developed to produce cutting edge research for jet engine blade protective coatings, using X-Rays to look inside the materials while replicating the extreme environments inside the fiery engine.

After earning my master’s degree  in Engineering in Aerospace (MSAE), Aerospace, Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering in 2014, I found myself facing a similar opportunity. Just eight weeks after my graduation and wedding, my wife and I arrived in Frankfurt for our yearlong adventure. The challenge was clear: the Fulbright Program was designed to encourage global innovation and mutual understanding. Learning these skills has proved immensely valuable for my research, but also for my personal life.

Alex Pring first tries his new bionic arm. Photo Credit: KT Crabb Photography

Alex Pring first tries his new bionic arm. Photo Credit: KT Crabb Photography

What I learned in the process is that global innovation and collaboration should continue outside normal business hours. Just days before arriving in Germany, my summer project of building a 3D printed bionic arm was completed and donated to a six-year-old boy. Before knowing the magnitude of the dream we set out on, our story went global and was featured in news media in every corner of the globe (and, more recently Robert Downey Jr. met that same six-year-old boy, Alex Pring, generating a viral video). Then, the requests began to pour in from families in the United States, Brazil, England, India, Australia….and more. As a team, we uploaded our design on the Internet so that people around the world could build their own bionic arm for less than $350 USD. Together, we have shared a very powerful dream: of engineering hope. The spirit of shared, open source technology is beginning to empower children all over the world.

Un Natale Viterbese

By Sara Hales, 2014-2015, Fulbright English Teaching Assistant to Italy


Card games on Christmas at Valentina’s house (clockwise from front center: Sara Hales, 2014-2015, Fulbright English Teaching Assistant to Italy, Alessandro Foti, Giulio Merlani, Alessandro Petricca, Valentina Petricca, Federico Fuser, Chiara Fersini, Daniele Ragni, Cristiano Petrini, Riccardo delle Monache, Cristina Cecchetti I spent Christmas Eve and Day with one of my teachers, Orietta

I’ve been putting off writing this post because I don’t really know where to begin in describing my Italian Christmas experience. Throughout December, I anxiously anticipated my first Christmas away from my family with a mixture of excitement and dread. The holiday itself here in Viterbo, Italy, where I am working as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA), was likewise a mixture of the familiar and the new. As I walked through the bancarelle downtown, I got to see, smell, and participate in the charming European tradition of the Christmas market. But even this became a reminder of the commercialism of Christmas that many in the United States have tried to move away from. Italy is not immune from the commercialization of Christmas, and many that I’ve met here have expressed disdain for the market booths filled with useless trinkets. I was quite pleased, however, to discover a box of Christmas decorations in my apartment, so in true American fashion, I put them up the day after Thanksgiving.

A few days later, a friend came over and was surprised to see my decorations already displayed. Locals decorate for Christmas on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8. So I had jumped the gun, but this was luckily rectified by my adopted family who invited me over to have lunch and help them decorate their home on December 8.

The Deadline for Fulbright-mtvU Applications is Tomorrow!

Fulbright-mtvU applications for the 2015-2016 competition are due tomorrow, Friday, February 27 at 5:00 p.m. EST.

Have last minute questions? Carefully review all guidelines and tips on our website and then contact Susan Muendl at Good luck!


Andrew Magill, 2009-2010, Fulbright-mtvU Fellow to Malawi






“Mo Kapav Koz en Kreol Aster” (I Can Speak in Kreol Now)

By Diana Heise, 2011-2012, Mauritius

Diana Heise

Diana Heise, 2011-2012, Mauritius, filming for “Lame La Kone” (The Knowing Hand) in the sugarcane fields by Barkly

To give a glance into my Fulbright experience in Mauritius, I need to begin with the fact that I am a classically trained singer and it was through my relationship with music that I submerged myself in Mauritian culture. I hadn’t seriously sung for years and did not expect this impact when I was applying. So, as you start your application, I would recommend that you consider all the activities that have defined you, as these interests will help you connect abroad. For me, it was through this latent relationship to music that I became an adopted member of the band ABAIM, the crux of my Fulbright experience and my ongoing research.

ABAIM is a musical atelier with 30 members of mostly young people. Their songs are inspired by Sega Tipik, the lament music of African slaves. Additionally, they are one of the last safeguarding organizations of this musical tradition and who still teach the Ravann – a Mauritian drum and principle instrument of Sega Tipik.

ABAIM also considers itself a development organization, developing the lives of the community through music. On Saturdays, more than 60 children from throughout the island attend. Writing skills and traditional games are taught, children report news of the week during democratic assemblies, conversation can range from recounting birthdays to comments on the Syrian crisis. All in between singing.