I arrived in Berlin with a set of expectations: take to the historic city like a travelista; delve deep into the European aspects of my dissertation project on African American feminist transnational activism; volunteer with student organizations at my host university; and improve my German language skills. But adjusting to life abroad took longer than expected, and opportunities to engage my university and neighborhood communities seemed out of reach. In retrospect, this was precisely the opportunity I needed to bring my creative visions for my Fulbright year to life. The first step would be to identify my objectives. The next step would be to articulate my thoughts on paper.
With a renewed spirit of infinite possibilities, I mapped out strategic steps to accomplish my goals, and used professional networks I had established in Washington, DC during my research fellowship in African American History at the German Historical Institute. For me, this meant developing as a public intellectual by connecting my scholarship on the little-known history of African American women cultural ambassadors to my community engagement work advancing diversity and inclusion in study abroad. The first step was accepting an invitation from Universität Halle to share my knowledge of African American history with German high school teachers and provide them with exercises to integrate into their curriculum focused on U.S. history, politics, and culture. By participating in the three-day workshop, I met German scholars and U.S. Embassy Berlin officials with shared interests, thus making myself more visible for future opportunities for collaboration.