When I found out that I was selected for a Fulbright grant to conduct my thesis research in Rwanda in 2013, I was beyond elated. I had studied the Fulbright U.S. Student Program website, solicited feedback from professors, and put forth my best effort into the application. Realizing that I had achieved my goal was an incredible feeling, but I was also terrified. In a few short months, I would be moving to Rwanda with my then nine-year-old daughter. I was not a typical Fulbrighter: I was a single mother who worked full-time through graduate school in order to make ends meet. I would have to quit my job and uproot my child to make this momentous move. I had been to Rwanda before by myself, so I had an idea of what to expect, but bringing a child would be a whole new experience.
I began planning immediately. Online resources were scarce, so I relied on contacts I had made on my last visit and a website designed for the Kigali expat community. I chose an international school for my daughter to attend, researched health insurance options, and hoped to secure a place to live shortly after we arrived. I made sure to talk with my daughter at length about what she could expect for our year in Africa. Bringing your family abroad, whether a child or a spouse, requires a great deal of planning and forethought.