Projects may include university coursework, field and library research, teaching English, or a combination of these areas. The Fulbright began in from a proposal by Sen. Some Fulbright positions require proficiency in the language of the country where the project will take place. Preference is given to students who have not resided or studied for longer than six months in the country to which they are applying. With thousands of applicants each year, the Fulbright is a competitive award.
If you are serious about winning, get started on your application early. For application advice, attend an IIE guidance session, which are held around the country. Talk with a local Fulbright program advisor and your academic advisor as you work on your proposal. When preparing your Fulbright proposal, consider: With whom do you propose to work?
What is unique, new or exciting about your project? Where will you study or research? Why is it important to go abroad to carry out your project? In it you can provide the committee with a sense of your personality and your interests. Ideally, your personal statement will complement your written proposal in some way. There is no one format or approach that will work well for every application. Some applicants choose to write an intellectual autobiography highlighting the key moments in their academic development.
Others discuss their passion for travel, the topic of their proposal, or the host country, detailing the origins of their interest and how it evolved. Many students give an overview of significant experiences and reflections, while others tell one particular story as an example of a larger point about who they are. Keep in mind that engagement with the community in the host county is an important criterion in selection as the primary purpose of the Fulbright Program is to encourage mutual understanding between people from the U.
The personal statement is the best place to include this information.
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Writing a personal statement is an exercise in self-reflection. To write a good statement, you will first need to think about your accomplishments and past experiences. These can be personal, academic, or extracurricular, including any significant insights or experiences that relate to your interest in international exchange, the host country in which you hope to do your work, or the specific project or area of study you plan to pursue.
Your goal in this personal statement is to give the committee a sense of who you are and how you became interested in applying for this particular project in the context of an international exchange. Here are some of her thoughts on the Fulbright program and its application process:. Lots of things! After Fulbright, I plan to work in international development, specifically in post-conflict settings. Teaching university students is an opportunity to improve the way I adapt to new cultural contexts, and to gain a much better understanding of what life is like after conflict—the peace accord may have passed Congress, but do people in Colombia feel that the war is over?
In Williamsburg, I can sit and read about Colombian elections, but what does the political blowback look like in day-to-day life? I speak Spanish and some Portuguese, and these have opened so many doors for me!
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That puts me in a good position to help teach another language, since I am a walking example of the benefits of learning another language. Finally, teaching is related to so many other skills, including communication and interpersonal skills. How and why did you choose your recommenders, and what is your relationship with them like?
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Two of my recommenders are professors who helped to shape the way I approach international development, which is the subject of my personal statement, so that fit in nicely. The last recommender was my supervisor from an English camp in Chile where I volunteered a year and a half ago, so she could speak specifically to my English-teaching.
My language evaluator could also speak to some of my strengths as an applicant, which was handy. It was on my radar from my freshman year because of being a PSA, but there were a few things that made me want to apply. First, the opportunity to get in-country experience in Colombia. I will be working with university students, which mitigates some of those concerns, and the Fulbright program has a great reputation for being more culturally conscious than some other programs out there. Third, Fulbright is focused on cultural exchange, which really separates it from other teaching programs.
I think one-on-one relationships are so crucial for spreading cultural understanding! And everything that I talked about in response to the first question applies here as well. This process did help me to put together some coherent thoughts about international development and my role in that field. What is the most important piece of advice you would give to future Fulbright applicants? Start early.
If you start early, then you will be able to take a week or two off your essays which is crucial!! Plan for several breaks! I hope that Fulbright introduces me to a lot of interesting people and perspectives. The ability to further my research and learn new techniques from a leader in my field should help me a lot downstream in my career. This recommendation was particularly important, as I wrote my Fulbright application as a continuation of the project I began with her. My other two recommenders were John Swaddle and Dan Cristol. I joined their lab as a freshman with the HHMI freshman research program.
I really like the flexibility that a Fulbright research grant gives to explore and grow with prominent PIs. Grant funding is incredibly difficult to cobble together while still a student, and the money behind a Fulbright makes it much more likely that a professor will be willing to accept you as a trainee for a year. After I decided on the general topic I wanted to study overseas, I reached out to my professors. Over the summer, I asked Dr. Goodrich-Blair about her collaboration network. She mentioned a handful of PIs, and the language requirements for each country did a good job of narrowing the list down further.
Then I reached out to my PI in Germany, who was kind enough to email and Skype with me during the application process. I realized that I am an incredible procrastinator. Try to get as much of the application done during the summer, as the school year is always more hectic than you remember it being. If I had to apply to Fulbright again, I would write a few more drafts of my personal statement. I recently reread it and cringed. Here are some of his thoughts on the Fulbright program and its application process:. Kristen Harkness, my former IR professor at St Andrews and supervisor as a research assistant who could demonstrate how IR is my passion and how I would use this position for my further goals in diplomacy.
My friend Elizabeth in the PSA office also encouraged me to apply. I chose Taiwan for a number of reasons. Secondly, I noticed that the award would not require me to have a strong language proficiency beforehand. I would likely have preferred somewhere in the Arab world after learning Arabic during college, but spots were limited in Morocco and Jordan and I knew they received a great deal of applications, so Taiwan seemed like a good alternative. I realized how much of my life had inadvertently led to this position, especially teaching English in Tunisia over the summer when I did not receive a CLS grant to study Bahasa Indonesian.
I also rediscovered my love for East Asia and remembered how accomplished and deserving I really was, no matter the outcome!
I think I was successful at constructing a genuine narrative that demonstrated why I was the right fit for all the teaching aspects, the ambassadorial concerns, and passion for Taiwan, all in two short pages. I think I would have listened more to the directions about the specific requirements of each essay instead of melding them all together! I also wish I knew that the recommendations were so short so I could tell my recommenders not to write full page essays instead.
Or maybe that I should have trusted in myself to succeed and started Chinese study earlier! Be humble but gas yourself up! Do it creatively and show them rather than tell them. Here are some of his thoughts on the Fulbright program and application process:. My hope is that my Fulbright experience will offer me the chance to get to know another culture from the inside out. I spent an amazing semester abroad in Chile, and while I loved the freedom I got to travel and get to know my host family, I missed being involved in the community to the same extent that I am at home.
My hope is that living and teaching in Mexico, as well as working on a community development or research project of some type, will let me understand the Mexican people on an even deeper level. I hope to make close connections with the community and classrooms I work with, and I hope to further use my Spanish to bridge cultural gaps, learn about the incredible depth of culture in Mexico, and form relationships that will not only last for the time that I am there, but in whatever career I pursue after my time as a Fulbright.
I think the most important thing is always to look at the advice Fulbright gives you. I believe the ETA website specifically recommended choosing one or two recommenders who know you in an academic setting, and one who knows you from some other aspect of your life. My last recommender was the director of a non-profit organization in Nicaragua whom I have worked with both remotely and in-country over the past four years, who could speak specifically to my skills as a leader, as an English teacher in a Latin American country, and as part of a community organization abroad.
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I went back and forth for a while on if I wanted to stick to places where I would use my Spanish or if I wanted to try my luck at a different region of the world. At the end of the day, however, I decided that my Spanish ability made me uniquely qualified to go to a Latin American country, and would provide a much more meaningful experience. From there I was deciding between Mexico and Colombia, which are the countries that award the most ETA grants each year for the region. I had a really tough time deciding between the two, but eventually decided that going to Mexico would be more valuable in terms of a future career in the US.
I also already love Colombian culture and know that I really want to go there someday, but I have more preconceived notions about Mexico, and I wanted to challenge those by actually getting to know the country and the people there. I think that the whole point of Fulbright is cultural exchange and working on mutual understanding, and I believe that I will accomplish more in that field in Mexico. A couple of things, some big and some little. I have trouble expressing how I became who I am without second-guessing how it sounds, but you kind of just have to go with it in the essay.