There are many aspects of what it means to be a Fulbrighter. For instance, it changes not only how people identify you, but how you see yourself and the world. The amount of exposure to different cultures and experience that Fulbright provides is immense. The feeling of being a 2012-2013 Fulbright-Nehru Doctoral Research Fellow from India started sinking in the day I attended the pre-departure orientation. Being chosen as a representative of my country was huge. I knew that what I that my experience researching community radio and participatory communication in the United States would be different from my previous experiences in India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, and I was very much looking forward to it.
When I attended the Gateway Orientation at Virginia Commonwealth University, the feeling of ‘going global’ overcame me, and I realized just how huge a responsibility being a Fulbrighter is. During the orientation, I learned much about the American Civil War and also from my fellow Fulbrighters from all over the world.
When I arrived at New York University’s (NYU’s) Department of Media, Culture, and Communication, I knew that as a Development Communication and Extension Specialist from India, NYU was going to be a great place to analyze global development, not just by studying what is happening within the field in the United States, but also by meeting with representatives from different countries. My Fulbright research focuses on community radio stations as models of participatory communication, and I intend to use my findings on American community radio stations’ financial and volunteer management when I return to India. Understanding the similarities and differences between Indian and American models will be particularly helpful in developing an in-depth analysis of global community radio stations’ best practices.
Living in New York City, with its hustle and bustle, noisy subways, and crowds, has helped me to gain a better awareness of what a worldly city is like. My first amazing New York Fulbright experience was when I attended a session on polio eradication during the United Nations General Assembly 2012. Meeting world leaders and being introduced as a Fulbrighter further underscored how huge the opportunity is for those lucky enough to receive a grant.
Another enriching Fulbright experience I had involved conducting research at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Campus Radio. There, I met many student radio enthusiasts in different fields and community radio broadcasters who had been volunteering for decades. This experienced helped me to understand how deeply rooted volunteerism is in the United States and that most American Community Media Systems have been able to develop due to ongoing support from volunteers.
I have loved each and every day of my stay and research in United States. For the traveler, communicator, listener and scholar in me, this has been the best experience of my life!
Happy to see a Fulbright fellow cherishing her intellectual desires with balancing the flavors of social existence. I agree, being Fulbright fellow is always provides a sense of intellectual comfort and a smooth leap towards enriching civic sense as well.
Personally, I am engaged with voluntary services since the age of 9 through Boy Scouts Association, and the notion of volunteerism existed in my soul, and I am happy, that I pursued my academic career through prestigious Fulbright Program, and used all the available voluntary avenues to remain active in social services. Proud to mention, my extended family among Fulbright fellows vis-a-vis American fellows is large enough, and I feel honor about it.
Thanks for write up and best wishes for future endeavors.
So good to see that we have like minded views amongst fulbright community. Thank you for giving me a peak into the work you are involved in. Would love to collaborate someday. Volunteering is the essence of global development, and I am proud and happy when I meet amazing volunteers like you!
I totally agree with your notion about “essence of Global development”, which contributes towards tangible and intangible gains at individual, societal and global scale.
Will be more than happy to invest all possible energies towards any positive venture.
This has been the best experience of my life! My life has changed completely in a very positive way. It gets better every day!!!
“Always believe that something wonderful is going to happen.”
I feel so proud 2 have got a friend like u.
Reading this article reminds me more of you in school days….
always active & enthusiastic 2 participate & having the spirit 2 represent the school.
U made the school proud & now you r making the nation proud of your work.
Keep the spirit up dear:)
Sonali, thanks a lot dear! That was indeed a very deep comment! I wish and hope I continue doing my bit. Thanks for reminding me of school days..