Missy Reif, 2013-2015, Fulbright English Teaching Assistant to Brazil (center), performing with members of Oré Anacã
During my time as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) in Fortaleza, Brazil, it was apparent that my students at the Federal University of Ceará (UFC) had widespread access to American culture. They watched American TV shows and movies, listened to American music. Yet, despite living in the fifth largest city in the country, most of my students had never met an American before I arrived on campus. While this idea made me a little nervous at first, it was an amazing opportunity to show my students that life in the United States is more than American Pie.
ETAs in Brazil fill a number of roles on their university campuses. At UFC, my time was split between giving guest lectures and running my own extracurricular activities on campus. In two years, I led many conversation clubs where we played games and practiced English without the pressure of grades or assignments, and organized weekly cultural seminars on topics including religious and cultural diversity, sports, and American holidays and traditions. All of these activities provided students with opportunities to improve their English, and their confidence, in a fun and laid-back setting. While our activities sometimes focused on aspects of the language—workshops on slang and phrasal verbs were always a hit—I found that the students were most interested in in-depth discussions focusing on distinctions between the United States and Brazil.
Nidhi Sen is Fulbright Student from India pursuing a joint degree master’s program in gender and sustainable international development at Brandeis University.
Driving around the central part of the Appalachian region in early spring, one is struck by the jagged, rocky hills and the bare-leaved trees. All along the winding roads, I saw old and rusting conveyor belts and mining equipment lying abandoned by the wayside. It was a stark reminder of what used to be considered the heart of a billion dollar coal industry and what sustained an entire culture and way of life for generations. It made me aware of how the burden of history looms large over this landscape and its people—one that even visitors like myself cannot escape from.
Arriving in Williamson a few days ago, I was initially struck by the absence of people on the streets and the lack of human activity. It was strangely new to me, and I fell into the immediate trap of comparing it to small towns in India and with familiar images of urban decay. But a few hours into my stay here and after interacting with the dynamic team of Sustainable Williamson, I realised that underneath its “sleepy” mask was a group of passionate and dedicated individuals who are trying to revive the local economy and revitalize the lives of the local community.
Are you interested in applying for a Fulbright U.S. Student grant and have questions about what it’s like to be a Fulbrighter in a particular country or field? Are you a Fulbright Program Adviser (FPA) who would like a Fulbright alum to present on campus and share information about what’s involved in applying to Fulbright and what the experience is like in-country? Reach out to a Fulbright Alumni Ambassador!
The 2016 cohort of Fulbright Alumni Ambassador bios are now available on our website along with each ambassador’s contact information. We encourage prospective applicants and FPAs to contact Fulbright Alumni Ambassadors for tips, testimonial and advice – all throughout the academic year.
Annie Chor, 2012-2013, Spain, shaking His Majesty the King’s hand post-address
On October 24, 2014, King Felipe VI of Spain will honor the Fulbright Program with the 2014 Prince of Asturias Award for International Cooperation in recognition of the Program’s educational and cultural exchange that has strengthened links and mutual understanding between the world’s citizens. The King, who is the former Prince of Asturias, will present the award at a grand ceremony in Oviedo, Principality of Asturias, in north-west Spain.
In the following article, Fulbright alumna Annie Chor shares her story of meeting and addressing His Majesty the King of Spain about her Fulbright experiences on September 22, 2014.
UPDATE: Tune in today, Friday, October 24 at 12:30 p.m. EDT to watch King Felipe VI of Spain honor the Fulbright Program with the 2014 Prince of Asturias Award for International Cooperation in recognition of how the Program has strengthened links and mutual understanding between the world’s citizens. More info and links to the livestream here: http://go.usa.gov/fsMV
Standing at the podium, preparing to address King Felipe of Spain, U.S. Department of State officials, IIE representatives, and fellow Fulbright students, I take a moment to pause and reflect on my journey thus far.
Post undergraduate studies, I worked in the financial sector in capital markets for several years. As I furthered my professional development, I continually felt an urgency to seek efficient solutions to meaningful change. I began to realize my passion was in finding innovative solutions that merged business and improved societies around the world. At this time, a Fulbright award helped me take that important leap to change and gave me the confidence and support to work towards my passion.
The deadline for the 2014-15 Fulbright U.S. Student Program competition is Tuesday, October 15, 2013 (5:00 p.m., Eastern Time)!
If you’re in the final stretches of completing your online application, make sure you’ve fully reviewed the application checklists since components vary somewhat depending upon the type of Fulbright U.S. Student grant you’re applying for.
Have last minute questions that need answering? Feel free to contact Fulbright U.S. Student Program staff or Embark Support.
What happens next? Click here to read about the selection process.
Megan Banick’s Fulbright Public Policy Fellowship placement is in the Guatemalan Ministry of Education as an Educational Researcher consulting on various education topics such as intercultural-bilingual education quality, civic education through student government, and international standardized testing. She is also leading a project for the Ministry on academic disinterest and cultural perceptions in Guatemala. Previously interning at a local NGO, she supported an agriculture and microbusiness training program in the same rural area where her current work will take place. Further, as an observer of a local mayoral candidate’s campaign, she gained a stronger understanding of the complex challenges facing democracy and public participation in rural, indigenous areas.
Ms. Banick has experience in preschool through adult education, having spent time working with bilingual education in Spain, vocational training in Chile, and immigrant/refugee education in the United States. Having recently completed an MA in International Development at the University of Denver, her research interests include education reform and political economic development in Latin America. She received her BS in Modern Languages and Marketing Communications from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. As a Fulbright Public Policy Fellow, she hopes to further her understanding of institution building in a development context, how to support large-scale educational reform, and methods for integrating marginalized populations into public life.
Interested in pursuing a Fulbright Public Policy Fellowship or want to learn more? Click here and here. Also, be sure to sign up for the last two Fulbright Public Policy Fellowship webinars.
Applications will be accepted from November 1, 2012 – February 1, 2013 at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time.