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Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant


Welcome, 2013 Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistants!

August 21, 2013

In preparation for their upcoming year as Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistants (FLTAs) at colleges and universities across the United States, the 2013 cohort of Fulbright FLTAs recently attended an orientation at Columbia University where they received training in not only teaching methodologies, but also best practices on how to navigate U.S. university and academic culture, as well as their role as cultural ambassadors.

Throughout August, seven Fulbright FLTA orientations are being held at the following institutions: the University of Notre Dame, the University of Pennsylvania, Howard University, Michigan State University, Syracuse University, Stanford University, and Arizona State University.

To gain some insight into what the Fulbright FLTA experience is like, watch the video below featuring interviews with former Fulbright FLTAs.

We would like to wish the more than 400 2013 Fulbright FLTAs all the best as they embark on their Fulbright experiences! Good luck!

FLTA Alumni Interviews from FLTA Staff on Vimeo.


The Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant Experience: “Showing” Your Culture and More

July 25, 2013
Juliano Saccomani, 2012-2013, Fulbright FLTA from Brazil (center), participating in the Latin American Festival in Athens, Georgia

Juliano Saccomani, 2012-2013, Fulbright FLTA from Brazil (center), participating in the Latin American Festival in Athens, Georgia

Receiving a Fulbright grant is a very large honor that comes with responsibilities, one of which  is promoting mutual understanding. I received a Foreign Language Teaching Assistantship (FLTA) grant, which means I was a Portuguese language teaching assistant at the University of Georgia from July 2012 to May 2013.

Brazilians are all over the world (you might have seen one already!) and we love to share our culture with others. Can you imagine how exciting it was to be able to do that as part of your job? From discussing small things such as eating pizza with silverware, to talking about Carnaval, or even the dark days of Brazil’s dictatorship,  my Fulbright FLTA grant required a great deal of research for me to effectively share what being a Brazilian is all about. Believe it or not, I actually learned more about my country and myself by doing so!

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U.S. Fulbright

Announcing a New Fulbright Opportunity for Public Policy Students and Young Professionals

November 8, 2011

On behalf of the U.S. Department of State, we are pleased to announce the Fulbright Public Policy Fellowship – a new component of the Fulbright U.S. Student Program and a new opportunity for public policy students and young professionals.

The Fulbright Public Policy Fellowship will allow U.S. citizens to contribute to the strengthening of the public sector abroad by serving in professional placements within foreign government ministries or institutions while simultaneously carrying out an academic research/study project.  The fellowship will help advance public policy research agendas, fosters mutual understanding and builds lasting ties between the U.S. and partner countries. 

Selected Fulbright Students will work side-by-side with the citizens of other countries to tackle the toughest public policy problems of the day.  This new exchange is the vanguard of international public diplomacy, as it leverages the excellence of the Fulbright program to achieve global development objectives.

Fulbright Public Policy Fellows will serve in partner country governments, which include:

  • Bangladesh
  • Cote d’Ivoire
  • The Dominican Republic
  • Guatemala
  • Haiti
  • Jamaica
  • Mongolia
  • Nepal
  • Nigeria
  • Thailand
  • Tunisia

The U.S. Department of State and partner country governments will coordinate professional placements for candidates in public policy areas including, but not limited to, public health, education, agriculture, justice, energy, environment, public finance, economic development, housing and communications.

Candidates must be in receipt of a master’s or J.D. degree by the beginning of the Fellowship (Summer 2012) or be currently enrolled in a Ph.D. program.  Applicants must apply At-Large and have at least two years of work experience in public policy-related fields.  Final selection will be made by the Presidentially-appointed J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.

More information, including complete eligibility requirements, please contact Theresa Granza, or Walter Jackson,  For more information on how to apply, please visit

Applications for the 2012-13 competition will be accepted from November 4, 2011 through February 1, 2012; Fulbright Public Policy Fellows will begin their assignments in summer/fall 2012.

U.S. Fulbright

Teman Selalu/Friends Forever, By Sierra Carter, 2008-2009, Fulbright English Teaching Assistant to Indonesia

July 11, 2011

When I first arrived in Surabaya, Indonesia, as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant I expected to visit the local zoo, learn Bahasa Indonesia (the national language), and become familiar with my new home.  I did not, however, expect to learn how to swim, hike to a waterfall, or encounter people who were genuinely confused about my nationality.  All of this happened — and so much more.

I also met people who changed my life forever. My host family treated me like a daughter and thoughtfully answered my questions about Islam and holidays such as Ramadan and Idul Fitri.  They also taught me about Indonesian culture and cuisine.  Women in my host community shared beauty secrets and lured me, kindheartedly, into getting a makeover.  Family friends whisked me away via motorbike to experience the sights and sounds of Surabaya.  Nevertheless, none of this happened overnight.

When I first arrived, I was often mistaken as someone from Papua or Africa, but never from America.

Word gradually spread that an American—an African-American—was in town and teaching at a nearby school.  That cleared up some confusion.  Residents came to understand that I wasn’t being disrespectful when I did not speak. I simply did not know how to respond to their questions, but I soon learned.

Despite having no background in Bahasa Indonesia, students constantly challenged and encouraged me to learn more and more about the language until I got better.  I demanded the same of them when it came to learning English.

One student in particular kept me on my toes—Ela Munica.  She was a quick study and was always ready to learn more.  When Ela invited me to her home, she introduced me to her English protégé, an eight-year-old girl who lived in the neighborhood.  While there, Ela confided that she was prepping to apply for a scholarship to study in America.  When I left Ela’s home that evening, I was quite inspired by her generosity and continuous drive.  I still am.

Prior to leaving Indonesia, Ela insisted that we go golfing.  I was an awful golfer but Ela did not seem to mind. Then it dawned on me. Every time I taught, I felt more capable and confident in my abilities.  Rarely was I caught off guard when it came to doing something that came naturally to me.  The same standard applied on the golf course.  Ela was the expert; I was the amateur.

To this day, Ela and I continue to keep in touch.  I taught her a thing or two in the classroom and she showed me that while there’s plenty to be taught, there’s so much more to learn.

My advice to future Fulbright English Teaching Assistants is to invite questions.  Be respectfully inquisitive during your Fulbright grant.  Through posing genuine questions and answering them thoughtfully, deep understandings can be reached.  Lastly, be open to teaching, but always be open to listening and learning.  This can lead to invaluable experiences for you — and everyone you meet.

Photo: Sierra Carter, 2008-2009, Fulbright English Teaching Assistant to Indonesia, hops on a motorbike with her student Ela

Questions for Sierra about her Fulbright experiences?  Feel free to email her at