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 »

 

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.

Memories of Magnitude: Reflections on My Fulbright Experience in India

By Benjamin Simington, 2015-2016, India

Benjamin Simington, 2015-2016, India (left), with several sadhus from different Kabir Panthi monasteries. They visited the famous Mahakaleshwar temple in Ujjain together during the Kumbha Mela pilgrimage.

Memory came to be a major theme of my research, along with my personal experiences with the Fulbright Program in India. My initial research project was titled Mahant with a Message: A Study of Sant Vivek Das Acharya. I wanted to focus on the life, religious activity, and socio-political vision of Sant Vivek Das Acharya, the head of the Kabir Chaura monastery of the Kabir Panth. The Kabir Panth is a monotheistic religious community in India rooted in the teachings of the medieval Indian poet-saint Kabir. The community has an emphasis on ideas of tolerance, personal spiritual practice, and the equality of all human beings.

As I continued with my research, the importance of ideas of memory became more and more salient. I eventually shifted my focus to look at how Kabir is remembered in the Kabir Panth through ritual, the space of the monastery, and through the poetry of Kabir in everyday conversation. The way that Kabir’s poetry functioned as a form of remembrance had great personal significance for me. Studying this facet of memory allowed me to experience the poetry of Kabir in a way that was not simply abstract. I was able to internalize it. Memory remains a vital part of the religious experience of the members of the community.

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.

Connect with us on all of our social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

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Program Update: New U.S. Student Awards to Austria for Graduate Research in STEM

Kelvin Chan of Brooklyn, NY received his BA in Biology from the University of Virginia, VA. In 2013-2014, he studied neuronal migration disorders as a Fulbright U.S. Student at the Institute of Molecular Pathology in Vienna.

The Fulbright Program is pleased to announce up to five new awards for U.S. students to Austria: the Fulbright-Austrian Marshall Plan Foundation Awards for full-time research and/or study in fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). These awards are generously funded by the Austrian Marshall Plan Foundation, which works to support cooperation and the transfer of knowledge between Austrian and American universities and academics.

Applications are being accepted now through October 6, 2017. Ph.D. candidates in STEM disciplines and related fields are strongly encouraged to apply. Applications from highly qualified graduate students and recent undergraduates with strong project proposals in relevant fields will also be considered.

The Austrian Fulbright Commission is particularly excited because these are the first awards targeted specifically at students in STEM fields, an area in which Austria is particularly strong. With up to five grants, this new award will give an unprecedented number of U.S. students the opportunity to conduct fully-funded STEM-related research in Austria with the Fulbright Program.

For more information, please visit the Austria country summary for details. Good luck!

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.