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Fulbright Foreign Student Program

Enrichment Foreign Fulbright Fulbright-Millennial Trains Project

Meeting Makaila

July 9, 2015
Fulbright-MTP Participant Mohammad Behroozian, from Afghanistan (right), engages in conversation with American MTP Participant Maceo Keeling from LA on board Millennial Trains Project (MTP) 2015 journey.

Fulbright-MTP Participant Mohammad Behroozian, from Afghanistan (right), engages in conversation with American MTP Participant Maceo Keeling from LA on board the 2015 Millennial Trains Project (MTP) journey

Mohammad Behroozian, a Fulbright Student from Afghanistan, was selected as the Grand Prize winner of the Institute of International Education’s (IIE) New Leaders Group award in recognition of his Fulbright-MTP documentary film project, “Heading South,” for its transformative impact on advancing and exploring cultural diversity between the United States and Afghanistan.

Below, Mohammad reflects on one interview to be included in his documentary.

My most recent Fulbright sponsored adventure involved traveling over 3,000 miles through the Southern United States.

While on the Fulbright-MTP journey, I traveled from Los Angeles to Washington, DC, making stops in San Antonio, Austin, New Orleans, Baltimore and Washington. I interviewed imams and videotaped Islamic centers to learn how they interact with their surrounding American communities. When I departed from my cold host city Boston, I knew the South was going to be warm, and I was prepared for it. What surprised me upon arrival in the South was the level of diversity and intercultural receptiveness I witnessed.

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Enrichment Foreign Fulbright Fulbright-Millennial Trains Project

Heading South

May 27, 2015
Fulbright-MTP Participant, Mohammad Behroozian, in the dome car of the Millennial Trains Project Train.

Fulbright-MTP Participant from Afghanistan, Mohammad Behroozian, in the dome car of the Millennial Trains Project Train

Texas is usually warm, but today’s rain has lowered the heat. It also gives a pleasant scent to the air, the same relaxing scent that enriches Paghman’s air after it rains in Kabul. Writing from the second floor of the Millennial Trains Project is difficult because neither the vastness of these green farms nor the relaxed streets of Austin and its people walking their dogs are easy to overlook.

My name is Mohammad. Thanks to Fulbright, I started my master’s studies in television writing and producing at Boston University. Fulbright has now granted me the opportunity to travel through the Southern United States by train.

On this expedition, I join 24 other young professionals engaged in economic, social and political spheres of their countries to visit Los Angeles, Austin, San Antonio, New Orleans, Atlanta, and Washington DC to research a topic of our interest.

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Enrichment Foreign Fulbright Fulbright-Millennial Trains Project

Fulbright-Millennial Trains Project: Preface

May 24, 2015

Disclaimer: As I write these words, I am in the middle of Texas (between El Paso and San Antonio) after more than 15 hours of enlightening, intense and humbling learning experiences with the MTP class of 2015. So yes, I am extremely tired, but my desire to share these feelings goes beyond my body entering autopilot mode.

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Enrichment Foreign Fulbright Fulbright-Millennial Trains Project

The Power of Networking

May 24, 2015
Fulbright-MTP Participant Pichleap Sok from Cambodia with LA mentor, Rebecca McLauchlan, co-founder and CCO of rhubarb studies that builds tech companies in downtown LA.

Fulbright-MTP Participant Pichleap Sok from Cambodia with Los Angeles mentor, Rebecca McLauchlan, co-founder and CCO of Rhubarb Studios that builds tech companies in downtown Los Angeles

I couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity than the Fulbright-Millennial Train Project, which combines my love of traveling and what I am really passionate about: women in technology. I am very fortunate and honored to be one of the six Fulbrighters on this year’s Millennial Trains Project, joining other Millennial world-changers on board. I was so excited and couldn’t wait for this day to come.

To kick off my Fulbright-MTP project, I needed to arrange interviews with local women in technology. Therefore, I really had to push myself out of my comfort zone to make it happen. I started contacting women in tech organizations in Los Angeles, Austin, San Antonio, New Orleans, Atlanta, and Washington DC. At first, I was so nervous and overwhelmed since I didn’t receive any replies.

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Enrichment Foreign Fulbright Fulbright-Millennial Trains Project

One Year Later: Fulbright-MTP Participants Reflect

May 22, 2015
The Fulbright-MTP Participants after a panel at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in New York City at the end of the 2014 MTP journey. Form left to right, Ammar Mohammed from Yemen; Alyas Widita from Indonesia; Katie Nikolaeva from Russia; Anser Shaukat from Pakistan; Silvia Tijo from Colombia; and Patrick Dowd, Fulbright U.S. Student Program alum and MTP founder.

The 2014 Fulbright-MTP Participants after a panel at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in New York City at the end of the 2014 MTP journey. From left to right: Ammar Mohammed from Yemen; Alyas Widita from Indonesia; Katie Nikolaeva from Russia; Anser Shaukat from Pakistan; Silvia Tijo from Colombia; and Patrick Dowd, Fulbright U.S. Student Program alumus to India (2010-2011) and MTP founder.

The 2014 Fulbright-MTP Participants after a panel at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in New York City at the end of the 2014 MTP journey. From left to right: Ammar Mohammed from Yemen; Alyas Widita from Indonesia; Katie Nikolaeva from Russia; Anser Shaukat from Pakistan; Silvia Tijo from Colombia; and Patrick Dowd, Fulbright U.S. Student Program alumus to India (2010-2011)  and MTP founder.

For the second year, the U.S. Department of State is funding Fulbright participants to join the Millennial Trains Project (MTP) journey as an enrichment component of the Fulbright Foreign Student Program. Last year, five Fulbright Foreign Students joined 20 other riders on the MTP journey to gain an in-depth understanding of life in the United States and to strengthen their leadership, social entrepreneurship and communication skills.

Here, the 2014 Fulbright-MTP participants update us with where they are now and their advice for this year’s six participants:

Silvia Tijo, a Fulbright Foreign Student from Colombia studying at Georgia Institute of Technology (GT) joined the Fulbright-MTP journey to experience sustainable building technologies existing along the train route from Portland to New York. Today, Silvia has finished her second year of Ph.D. studies in Building Construction, where her main interest is conducting research in sustainable building design and development.

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Enrichment Foreign Fulbright Fulbright-Millennial Trains Project

“Arrival in the Big Apple”

September 4, 2014

After arriving at Penn Station in NYC on the evening of Friday, August 15, 2014, after a cross-country journey from Portland, Oregon, Fulbright-MTP Participants spent the weekend in New York City.

From left to right, Alyas Widita, Ammar Mohammed, Silvia Tijo, Jennifer Connor (IIE Staff), Anser Shaukat and Katie Nikolaeva, upon their arrival at Penn Station in NYC at the end of the MTP journey. Photo by Tyler Metcalfe, National Geographic Traveler.

From left to right, Alyas Widita, Ammar Mohammed, Silvia Tijo, Jennifer Connor (IIE Staff), Anser Shaukat and Katie Nikolaeva, upon their arrival at Penn Station in NYC at the end of the MTP journey. Photo by Tyler Metcalfe, National Geographic Traveler.

In the words of Alyas Widita, a Fulbright Foreign Student from Indonesia:

The day was bright, the weather was nice — a beautiful day in New York greeted the Millennial Trains Project participants and staff the day after our 10-day train journey across the country arrived in New York City. It seemed like the momentum was just so perfect: MTP’s journey concluded with, what felt like, the most beautiful day in the year. Shimmering facades of New York’s skyscrapers as we approached the city further articulated the brightness and beauty of the day.

Ammar, fellow Fulbrighter from Yemen, suggested we visit the Statue of Liberty. At first, I was hesitant because I always thought that the statue was too touristy and we might have to spend half of our day in line waiting for the ferry. However, given the momentum I felt in having just completed a cross-country journey, complemented with the beauty of the day, I nodded to Ammar’s offer. Later, Lindsay Patross, MTP Community Director, and Silvia Tijo, fellow Fubrighter from Colombia, also said yes.

We went to the Statue by subway from Columbus Circle. The MTA subway line 1 conveniently connects the 59th St – Columbus Circle station to South Ferry station, the nearest station to the ferry terminal to the Statue of Liberty. As expected, by the time we approached the ferry departure points, the line was crowded with many people who had a similar thought as us: seize the beauty of the day and visit New York City’s landmark. However; as I had friends with me, waiting in line was not an issue. Plus, the location of the ferry terminal is surrounded with a gorgeous park, making the view of buildings behind clusters of trees and the atmosphere of the location a bit similar to my favorite place in the city, Bryant Park, adjacent to New York Public Library.

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