We Are the “They” That Can Change the World: My Hult Prize Experience

I have always been passionate about making a difference in people’s lives. Studying economics as an undergrad exposed me to the field’s power and how it can be used as a tool More »

A Year of Knee Research and Social Outreach in the Rainbow Nation

My Fulbright in Stellenbosch, South Africa, was divided into two primary areas: research and community outreach. The research portion of my fellowship focused on knee replacement implants and the different tribological properties More »

Detecting Gravitational Waves at Home and Abroad

Two months ago, physicists around the world were set ‘chirping’ with the announcement that gravitational waves had been detected for the first time. The detection is the culmination of decades of work, More »

Faces of Williamson, West Virginia: A Photo Essay

I’ve only been in Williamson, West Virginia for 48 hours and even though it’s not enough time to have a deep sense of everything that is happening in town, I’ve found a More »

 

Being a Cultural Ambassador: Representing Yourself or Your Country?

By Anu Aryal, 2015-2017, Nepal

Anu Aryal, 2015-2017, Nepal, showing some husky spirit during University of Washington Day in Seattle

“I will show my culture during cultural events in school, from our national heritage, to festivals and foods.” When I was answering questions during my Fulbright selection interview back in Nepal two years ago, I was aware that one of the expectations of participating in the Fulbright Foreign Student Program is to fulfill the role of cultural ambassador. But little did I know that the role is not limited to festivals and events, but includes my day-to-day interactions with people in the United States.

Whenever I speak with people within my host institution, the University of Washington, or outside, I realize that not only do I represent myself, but my country as well. During dinners I would say “Sorry, I don’t eat meat, I am a vegetarian”, and the next question would be “Are most people in Nepal vegetarian?” Sometimes, even with strangers, when I am not talking about myself, I would get questions such as “Do people in Nepal speak English well like you?” I appreciated these curiosities and clarified, in my response, that many people in Nepal do eat meat, and not all Nepali speak English. Initially, I didn’t notice this much, but the pattern continued. I would say something about myself and then get asked if I represented a “typical Nepali,” and in most cases my answer was no.

My Fulbright/Millennial Train Journey

By Lakshmi Gopalakrishnan, 2012-2014, India

In the spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, we are re-posting an article from Fulbright Foreign Student from India Lakshmi Gopalakrishnan, who through the Millennial Trains Project, explored the challenges faced by South Asian immigrants in several U.S. cities. We hope that the Fulbright community is inspired by Lakshmi Gopalakrishnan’s – and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s – work in fostering positive change in their host and home communities.

Fulbright U.S. Student alumnus to India, and Millennial Trains Project founder, Patrick Dowd, (2010-2011, left), and Lakshmi Gopalakrishnan, 2012-2014, India (right), near San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge

I came to the United States from India over a year ago on a Fulbright Foreign Student Program grant to pursue a master’s in public health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), the country’s oldest public university. I was given this unique opportunity not just to study public health, but to also experience all the diversity American culture and its people have to offer.

So far, my academic experience at UNC has opened my eyes to limitless possibilities. From classroom discussions, seminars, and volunteer work, to my summer practicum at IntraHealth International, each experience has further solidified my understanding and commitment to public health. Within the field, I am specializing in maternal and child health. My research interests are in program monitoring and evaluation, strengthening existing health systems, improving water quality and sanitation, and health programs for adolescent girls. Upon my return home, I plan to work for a non-governmental organization where I can design and implement programs while enhancing government health systems.

Aside from my studies, I have participated in many multicultural potlucks with other students, celebrated Halloween and Thanksgiving with American and international friends, and engaged in community health issues through a local health clinic. I feel blessed to have experienced a slice of Southern hospitality in North Carolina. My Fulbright grant has also allowed me to dispel myths surrounding Indian-Americans and South Asian immigrants in the United States.

Breaking Down Stereotypes

By Katie Salgado, 2016-2017, Fulbright English Teaching Assistant to Portugal

Katie Salgado, 2016-2017, Fulbright English Teaching Assistant to Portugal, sitting on a tiled stoop in Seia

In partnership with Reach the World (RTW), the Fulbright U.S. Student Program is publishing a series of articles written by Fulbright English Teaching Assistants participating in Reach the World’s Traveler correspondents program, which through its interactive website, enriches the curriculum of elementary and secondary classrooms (primarily located in New York City but also nationwide) by connecting them to the experiences of volunteer Fulbright English Teaching Assistants (ETAs) and other world travelers who are currently studying and living abroad.

It was a misty Thursday morning in Seia. I exited the passenger side door of a silver compact car and looked up at the yellow Instituto Politécnico da Guarda (IPG) School of Tourism building. I was with my coworker, Rita, who had asked me to do a presententation to her management students on American culture. This was my first experience teaching English as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant to a group of students in Portugal, and I was eager to discover what the students knew about American culture and traditions. Rita and I entered the building and prepared the classroom for the day.

By 9:15 a.m., the freshman students shuffled sleepily into the classroom and took their seats. They exchanged confused glances with one another, unsure of whether to speak to me in English or in Portuguese. I stood there in my black blazer and greeted them with “Good morning, everyone.” Rita sat in the back of the classroom and remained there to observe my presentation. Once the last straggler sat down at his desk, Rita smiled and flashed me a thumbs up. It was time to begin.

I introduced myself to the twenty students in the room and began my PowerPoint presentation on where I was from, my academic background and hobbies.

I then clicked to the next slide: an outline of the United States of America with the red, white and blue flag waving in the background.

Top 10 Fulbright Student Posts of 2016


Top 10 Fulbright Student Program Blog Posts of 2016 by Fulbright on Exposure

Have a Fulbright story you’d like to tell? We’d love to hear your story – and from you. Contact us here.

Fulbright 2016 Year in Review

In celebration of the 70th Anniversary of the Fulbright Program, we rounded up Fulbright events from 2016 that span the globe, represent the diversity of our programs, and that have been particularly noteworthy.

We invite you to celebrate #Fulbright70 with a look at the 2016 year through this interactive timeline.

Wishing the Fulbright Community a Happy New Year! We look forward to 70 more years of impact, innovation and inclusion!