David J. Smith, 2003-2004, Fulbright U.S. Scholar to Estonia (right), with his family
I have come to believe that, like the fermenting of a fine wine, a Fulbright opportunity, to be fully appreciated, needs to be considered years after the experience. There is much enthusiasm when one comes back from their time overseas about how one might make a difference in their community. But, I think there is value in looking back years after an experience and taking stock of the difference one has made.
I served as a Fulbright U.S. Scholar in 2003 and taught peace studies at the University of Tartu in Estonia. At the time I was teaching in a community college, as such I represented a minority of scholars. Community colleges have been historically under represented in the program.
Now thirteen years later, I feel I have done justice to the privilege that a Fulbright offered me. I took to heart Senator Fulbright’s goal that an exchange program could make significant impact in promoting world peace. Upon returning to the United States, I dedicated my career to the work of world peace: promoting conflict resolution, peacebuilding, and global education at the U.S. Institute of Peace, teaching in higher education, starting an NGO dedicated to humanitarian training, and working as a consultant.
Dani Francuz Rose, 2015-2016, Fulbright English Teaching Assistant to Poland, presenting to a group of local high school students visiting the American Corner
My husband Tucker and I (both from Georgia State University) have now been in Poland for over three months. We are here as Fulbright English Teaching Assistants and are located in the city of Łódź, in central Poland. During our time here, I am responsible for teaching several classes in the English Philology department at the University of Łódź. In addition to teaching, I am also involved in a weekly conversation club at the American Corner in Łódź and have been able to visit several other schools in the area to give presentations about American culture and the English language. Through these programs and in our daily lives in Poland, we are continuously learning about the people, the culture, and the language of our host country. We also have the unique opportunity to see how people in Poland celebrate the holidays all throughout the year.
Thus far, we have been through several, major Polish holidays, such as All Saint’s Day (a time to remember and celebrate the lives of family members who have passed away) and Andrzejki (a gathering for friends, family, and fortune-telling). We have also shared our American customs for holidays like Thanksgiving as presentations, conversation topics at the American Corner, and in everyday conversations with our new colleagues and friends. However, Christmas is the first holiday that we have in common. And it is a big one.