Last week I received an email asking all of us who were former Fulbright scholars to encourage five people we know to apply. At first I thought, how can I do this? I’m no longer with a college and only teach online for a university.
Then I thought of this blog and realized that some of you who I’ve only met virtually would probably be great candidates for a Fulbright.
I think the Fulbright program is one of the best things going. It’s a grant program sponsored by the U.S. government to send people with a scholarly or creative project to another country for teaching and/or research for anywhere from four months to a year. Living in another country for an extended period of time changes you. You look at the world differently. And the Fulbright gives you enough of a stipend to live on and cover all your costs while there. Plus, if you’re married or have children, it will give you a stipend for their support as well, including school and/or day care fees for children. It’s a fantastic opportunity for your children to experience a new culture as well.
Some grants don’t require affiliation with a college or university, or even an advanced degree, although these things help.
I’ve met some amazing people through the Fulbright program. People I’ll probably keep in touch with for the rest of my life.
Some of the projects people I know have done: learning about the different patterns of handwoven fabrics, photographing women’s rugby, gathering medicinal plants in the Himalayas, working on A.I.D.S. prevention in villages.
My Fulbright was in India and, while I have a particular fondness for Asia, the Fulbright program sends people all over the world.
It does open things up in ways you can’t even imagine. It got me writing a blog which I hadn’t considered before. And when we go out into the world, it becomes a kind of healing thing, in our own souls, and maybe in some small way, it helps others as well.
If you do decide to apply for a Fulbright, start early crafting your proposal. There’s a way to study what works and find a way a way to tailor it to something that is of benefit to you and the larger community. So, if you’ve ever considered spending time in another country, but didn’t think you could afford it, definitely consider looking into the Fulbright program.