With three kinds of awards and more than 140 countries to choose from, it may seem daunting to make a decision of which Fulbright program to apply for. You may wish to keep the following in mind.
Your overall career plans. Do you plan to enroll in a graduate program when you return to the United States? If so, perhaps a research award may be appropriate. If you are interested more in a year of intensive cultural engagement while serving as a native speaker of English – and frequently serving as the first American that learners of English may have met – then the English Teaching Assistant Program may be for you. The funded Master’s programs offer an excellent opportunity to learn about your field from a global perspective.
Your qualifications for a specific award. Each country’s site on the Fulbright U.S. Student Program site lists the qualifications for its awards. The closer the match of your qualifications and the preferred qualifications for each award, the more likely that you will find a site where you can thrive.
Your language abilities. If a language is commonly taught in the United States, it is more likely that the host country will ask for you to have a greater level of proficiency in that country’s language – particularly for Spanish, French, German, Arabic and Russian. Many countries have no language requirement at all, simply because their languages are not commonly taught in the United States, or because English is widely understood in the host country.
Your willingness to put yourself out there. Fulbright is primarily a cross-cultural exchange between the United States and the countries of the world. For you to be successful in any application, you need to be willing to interact with professors, teachers, students and local community members. That may mean learning a new language, living in conditions that may be less comfortable than those at home, and experiencing a new culture on a daily basis – while representing the United States as a cultural ambassador.
Dr. Souders is happy to guide you through the process of choosing the best program that meets your interests and qualifications, as well as those of your potential host country.