Category Archives: U.S. Fulbright

From West Point to Kathmandu

By Daniel Trusilo, 2014-2015, Fulbright-Clinton Fellow to Nepal

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Daniel Trusilo, 2013-2014, J. William Fulbright – Hillary Rodham Clinton Fellow to Nepal (and West Point alumnus), giving a talk on disaster preparedness at the Rotary Club of Kantipur

Kyanjin Gompa is a small, remote village North of Kathmandu at the far end of Langtang Valley. Only now, weeks after the devastating earthquake that struck Nepal on April 25th has the level of destruction in Langtang become known. I spent several weeks of October last year in Langtang, staying with a Nepali family of five. Every morning Gyalbu, the father, would put a chair in the sun for me to sit on while I scribbled notes in a journal. Gyalbu’s wife, who I called DiDi, meaning older sister, would make delicious yak cheese and vegetable omelets for breakfast while their two daughters would sit on a bench playing with their Barbie dolls and their son would help with chores. Gyalbu and his wife were always generous with their smiles as the sun melted away the mountain chill and their children played happily in puffy down jackets.

I was repeatedly moved by the kindness of Gyalbu’s family who faced adversity without complaint. The remarkable thing is that the generosity and sense of community that I felt with this family was not an isolated event. Having spent the last year in Nepal as a J. William Fulbright – Hillary Rodham Clinton Public Policy Fellow, I witnessed the strong sense of community and boundless generosity of the Nepali people over and over again. When I was not working in an official capacity, I used the time to meet with community leaders via the extensive Rotary Club network across Kathmandu Valley. Discussions on disaster preparedness were an opportunity to meet leaders outside of work and advance disaster mitigation efforts. Community members from the Rotary network were always enthusiastic about improving Nepal in any small way that they could.

Reflections from Indonesia: Life as a “Secret Bule”

By Christina Aguila, 2013-2014, Fulbright English Teaching Assistant to Indonesia


Christina Aguila, 2013-2014, Fulbright English Teaching Assistant to Indonesia (center), attending her surprise farewell party with fellow teachers in batik uniforms, an Indonesian tradition

One year ago, I was living in Manado, Indonesia on the island of Sulawesi as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA). I taught at a local high school, volunteered at a rural community English camp, and organized local English competitions. After four months, I had acclimated to many aspects of Indonesian culture, learned the local language, communicated in an indirect Indonesian manner, and ate extremely spicy food. I also learned to live with limited access to hot showers and reliable Wi-Fi. I developed deeper friendships with teachers at my school and got to know a few of my 300 students more personally. I was fully immersed in an Indonesian community, which taught me to be extremely patient and flexible.

Most importantly, I learned how to handle the process of cultural adaptation. Each stage of cultural adaptation comes with new accomplishments and unexpected challenges. One day I would be feeling confident in my ability to speak Bahasa Indonesia, and the next day I would sometimes feel very frustrated about a misunderstanding at my school.

Applying to Fulbright and Not Quite Sure Where to Start? Check Out Our Online Resources.

Are you in the process of starting a Fulbright U.S. Student Program application and need help? Here are some quick steps to help you get started!

Tutorial – Intro to the Fulbright U.S. Student Program from Fulbright Program on Vimeo.

It’s Earth Day! How Are Fulbrighters Celebrating in Their Host and Home Communities?

Today is Earth Day! We invite all current and past Fulbrighters to share their stories about how they are helping to improve the environment locally – in their home and host communities – and globally. How are you spending Earth Day 2015? Let us know!

Fulbright Foreign Students at DC Seminar 2015

Fulbright Foreign Students participating in the Potomac Watershed Cleanup as part of the 2015 Fulbright Enrichment Seminar in Washington, DC for first-year, non-U.S. grantees



Engaging with Your Host Community During Fulbright

By Sharief El-Gabri, 2010-2011, Fulbright English Teaching Assistant to Jordan

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Sharief El-Gabri, 2010-2011, Fulbright English Teaching Assistant to Jordan, with Ahmed, one of the refugee, high-school students who helped run the sports facility in the Gaza Refugee Camp

If you are thinking about applying for a Fulbright grant, you need to consider how you plan to interact with your host community. After all, Fulbright’s core tenet is cultural exchange. Of course, show off your impressive research proposal or your comprehensive English teaching playbook, but your time as a Fulbrighter will likely be memorialized by serendipitous interactions with your community. Embrace those opportunities because you are prepared and have considered how you would like to carve out your Fulbright experience.

Looking back on my Fulbright experience in Amman, Jordan in 2010-2011, I really cherish my time outside of my primary English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) responsibilities. I had sufficient free time to engage in a substantive community engagement project. Outside of my ETA obligations and studying Arabic, I helped build a sports facility in the Gaza Refugee Camp.