Category Archives: Foreign Fulbright

Soccer, Not Football: Sports Help Fulbrighter Experience Cultural Exchange

By Nabeel, 2016-2018

Growing up, I started playing soccer in my neighborhood. We didn’t have proper soccer fields or uniforms, but we enjoyed playing with friends. Since that early beginning, I’ve always enjoyed playing soccer wherever I am. Before becoming a Fulbrighter, I took English classes in the UK, where I played with my classmates. Now, here at the University of Denver, I am the soccer team captain.

Sport is a unique way of connecting with people who have similar interests. I made many friends from different parts of the world including the United States, Brazil, Norway, Nigeria, Iran, Chad, India, and Nepal by playing soccer in Denver. My soccer teammates are special friends to me, with whom I feel we have many things in common. I think soccer is the most common sport in the world and many students love to play it, which makes it a great tool of cultural diplomacy that connects people from different nations and cultures.

My friends here in Denver have taught me that in America, football is not soccer. I think everywhere else in the world, people call it football, but Americans call it soccer. This has not only taught me about American culture but others as well. I always chat with many of my teammates about soccer in their home countries and about other cultural, social, and political topics. They also ask me about the Arab world, and I try to answer any questions they have. On our team, we’re constantly participating in cultural exchange.

Program Update: Consolidation of Fulbright’s Twitter Feeds

Do you follow the Fulbright Scholar Program on Twitter @FulbrightSchlrs?

In order to help you find Fulbright-related content in one place, we are consolidating our Twitter accounts and will be moving Fulbright Scholar Program content from @FulbrightSchlrs to @FulbrightPrgrm beginning September 13, 2017.

Be sure to follow @FulbrightPrgrm on Twitter for all things #Fulbright – including Fulbright Scholar Program news and opportunities for students, faculty, professionals, and universities.

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Lighting Pakistan, One Village at a Time: The Story of a Fulbright Alumnus Changing Lives for the Better

By Hasaan Idrees, 2014-2016, Pakistan

Hassaan Idrees, 2014-2016, Pakistan (right) taking a selfie with kids from the village of Revi ji Dhani, excited to see lightbulbs which will allow them to play and study until late in the evenings.

Hema, an eight-year-old girl, is one of five siblings living in the village of Revi ji Dhani, located close to the Mirpurkhas-Umerkot highway, a perennially drought-ridden area in Pakistan. Every day, she wakes up before the crack of dawn to fetch water from a hand pump at a distance of two miles. It is a winding, nasty route that she has to maneuver in the dark, for there are no streetlights, and snakes and wild dogs run amok in the desert bushes. Panting and sweating on her return, she has to get ready to go to a dilapidated public school situated a mile away. Hema has trouble finishing her homework under the grim gaslight at home: it’s inadequate, expensive, and dangerous. As her father runs a small store in the village, however, she is one of the fortunate few to actually attend school; the vast majority of children in Revi ji Dhani have to assist their families with herding cows or woodcutting to make ends meet.

Hema belongs to an unbelievably impoverished community: more than 46% of people in the Umerkot district, with a population of more than 700,000, live with less than $1.90 a day. Rural female literacy is less than 10% in this district. Access to the grid is limited to the main town and larger villages, and still suffers from daily blackouts. Smaller villages and hamlets have power outages for as long as 18 hours a day or are not connected to the grid at all. With little or no power, the local economy suffers, and life is tough.

PHOTO ESSAY: Williamson, West Virginia, Revisited.

By Jorge Caraballo, 2015-2017, Colombia

Editor’s note: In April 2017, twelve Fulbrighters engaged in a week-long service learning project in Williamson, West Virginia, an Appalachian community with valuable lessons to share about sustainability, perseverance and revitalization. This is one in a series of blog posts from the Fulbrighters who visited Williamson. This post by Fulbright Foreign Student from Colombia, Jorge Caraballo, who accompanied the group as a photojournalist, captures the Fulbrighters’ experiences in Williamson, as well as their engagement with local American community leaders. Visit the Fulbright Amizade 2017 Storify for more details on their journey.

Last year I had to interrupt my first visit to Williamson because of a family emergency. I remember flying over the Appalachians on my way back to Boston feeling a soft window-seat nostalgia: This small city in southern West Virginia reminded me a lot of Colombia, my home country. I also grew up surrounded by mountains and immersed in a culture with a strong sense of belonging. Three days were enough for me to create a strong connection with Williamson and its people.

By Jorge Caraballo, 2015-2017, Colombia

Happy 71st Anniversary, Fulbright!