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U.S. Fulbright

Dear Potential Fulbright Applicant

July 14, 2016
emily yedinak

Emily Yedinak, 2013-2014, Chile

If you were anything like me, you may have heard that a Fulbright grant is an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but that the application process is rigorous and very competitive. Perhaps you are filled with a lot of questions. You may even, like me, be filled with self-doubt. And for that reason, I want to share a small piece of my story.

Fulbright changed my life and I mean it changed my life in a colossal, momentous, and fantastic way. I didn’t know that when I stepped off the plane in Santiago, Chile, I was embarking on the biggest adventure of my life. I had read books about Chilean culture and history in preparation for my departure, but no book would have told me the depth of kindness I found in my peers as I slowly crawled, stumbled, and fell head-first into my Chilean life. I also would have never realized how difficult it was going to be adjusting to an entirely different world. But the incredible thing that I discovered was there were always people willing to help and guide me. The Chileans I met not only accepted me, but treated me like family – whether it was taking care of me when I was sick, helping me grocery shop and cook dinner after I had dislocated my shoulder, or lending me money when my wallet was stolen. The connections I made transcended cultural boundaries.

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Enrichment U.S. Fulbright

Home Is Where the Heart Is

April 4, 2016

Twelve Fulbright Students from around the world gathered in Williamson, WV, to participate in a service-learning program led by Amizade. As our group was warmly welcomed by the local community, I felt an authentic sense of belonging, where conversations flowed freely and friendships ran deep. What impressed me the most was the people of Williamson. Their sense of community, hospitality, pride and unwavering perseverance to succeed, was not only inspiring but contagious. Due to a series of floods, the coal mine collapse, and lack of employment, Mingo County’s population dwindled from 50,000 to 3,000 residents. Despite their misfortune, residents are uniting as a family to breathe not only life but hope back into their community.

This collective passion is what drives a community to become the best version of itself, and encourages others to join in the revolution. In a way, this devastating crisis has presented a blank canvas for Williamson to rebuild the future they desire. Sustainable Williamson has spearheaded this revolution by taking a holistic approach to challenges faced by this Appalachian community. By reimagining what sustainable agriculture, healthcare, education, infrastructure, and tourism paradigms could be, they are transforming a place back into a home.

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U.S. Fulbright

A Marine Biologist Discovering Chilean Hospitality

November 30, 2015
Christopher Knight

Christopher Knight, 2013-2014, Chile (in red shirt, far left), collecting organisms along the rocky shoreline with Manon Sanguinet of France, Rodrigo Uribe Vásquez of Chile, and Dr. Simon Morley of the British Antarctic Survey

Overlooking the sea, I was wandering the dirt roads in the sleepy village of Las Cruces. It was my first week in Chile and I was trying to find the local bodega. I mustered the courage to speak Spanish with a man working in his garden.

-Hola, can you please tell me how to get to Malloco?

-Hi! Sure, it’s really close. How about I just drive you there?

During the short ride, we introduced ourselves. Incidentally, he had a son that recently moved to the United States and he was eager to visit. At the end of the ride, I thanked him and could not help but grin at his hospitality. Little did I know, such kind interactions would become a routine occurrence at my new home.

As a Fulbrighter, I was conducting marine biological research at the Estación Costera de Investigaciones Marinas (ECIM). Along with my advisor, Dr. Sergio Navarrete, and his PhD student, Joan Escobar, I explored how interactions between organisms such as sea stars, crabs, and mussels affect the community structure of the rocky intertidal zone. A typical day might involve collecting organisms for a lab experiment, dodging powerful waves while collecting field data, and on calmer days, ending with a celebratory plunge into the frigid Pacific Ocean.

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Attending SXSW? Learn how the Fulbright Program is the first social network.

March 6, 2012

This Sunday, March 11 in Austin, Texas, the Fulbright Program will present a panel within the very popular SXSW Interactive track entitled “Fulbright: How the 1st Social Network Adapts to Social Media.”  The panel will be moderated by Meg Neff, Public Affairs Assistant, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, U.S. Department of State, Vijay Renganathan, Senior Program Officer, the Institute of International Education, Doug Mitchell, Fulbright Scholar Specialist to Chile and Katie Day Good, Fulbright-mtvU Student to Mexico, 2008-2009, as panelists.  To learn more, please visit the SXSW schedule of events.

Like last year, the Fulbright Student and Scholar Programs will be represented by a booth during the tradeshow from March 12-15.  We hope you will stop by and learn more about Fulbright’s involvement in SXSW!

U.S. Fulbright

Applying to the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, By Katie Ladewski, 2005-2006, Chile

July 13, 2009

I was drawn to the Fulbright Program because I identified with the program’s character. I am an intellectual. I am a civic participant and volunteer. I am a student. I am a family member and a friend. I represent my university and my community wherever I go. I have a strong sense of who I am, and I realized that the Fulbright U.S. Student Program emphasized the values I hoped to cultivate.

There are a lot of exciting opportunities out there for recent graduates and budding intellectuals. We can apply for scholarships to study at top universities around the world. We can volunteer in places from South America to the South Pacific and everywhere in between. The Fulbright Program, however, captured my imagination with its promise of a unique combination of cultural exchange, community involvement, and intellectual growth. I’m sure all of the programs I considered would have been amazing opportunities, but the Fulbright Program’s goals reflected the kind of experience I hoped to have and the kind of person I aspired to be.

It also helped that the Fulbright Program had a thriving exchange program with Chile, a country in which I had a keen interest. I had studied abroad in Santiago and had written an undergraduate honors thesis on the Chilean education system. In the ten weeks I spent in Chile during my study abroad program in Santiago, I had thrown myself into life with my Chilean host family, my classes, and my research. But the time was too short, and I left feeling like I had so much more to give and to learn.

The Fulbright Program offered a unique opportunity for me to return to Chile and pursue a more in-depth research project while immersing myself in Chilean life. I had studied economics as an undergrad and had always been interested in education. Studying Chile’s education voucher system presented an exciting opportunity to merge these two interests. Because one of the most hotly debated issues in Chile is how to improve educational opportunities for vulnerable students around the country, I chose to focus on the inequality in educational resource distribution among students from different socioeconomic backgrounds. I spent three days a week doing quantitative research at a university and two days observing and volunteering in schools throughout Santiago, and later in my project, throughout Chile.

My research was a primary reason for my stay in Chile, but I was heartened to know that spending time with my host family, talking with students and teachers during my research project, volunteering with rural children, and competing on a swim team were all considered respectable and worthwhile. The Fulbright Program valued the parts of my experience I valued – everything.

The Fulbright Program is an intense commitment of time and energy. A successful experience requires hard work, perseverance, patience, flexibility, and a sense of humor. But it is also an experience that will help you evolve into the kind of intellectual, civic participant, volunteer, student, family member, friend and community ambassador you hope to become. If you’re anything like me, I can promise you that the Fulbright experience will change your life.

Photo: Katie Ladewski (right) with students in rural Chile, 2006.