In one of our largest-scale collaborations to date, the Fulbright Diversity Collective and Fulbridge partnered up for a three-part panel series entitled Fulbright Insight Scoop. The panel series centers on discussions of identity at all stages of the Fulbright journey—the application phase, while abroad, and returning home.
The first panel kicked off on April 20 focusing on the experiences of a Fulbrighter while abroad. Our panelists included Ashleigh Brown-Grier representing Fulbright HBCU, Rubi Flores representing Fulbright Prism and Thanh Mai representing Fulbright Lotus. Ashleigh Brown-Grier (Fulbright HBCU), Rubi Flores (Fulbright Prism), and Thanh Mai (Fulbright Lotus) dedicated their time and expertise to speak about their experiences as cultural ambassadors and minorities abroad. Audience members eagerly jumped into the discussion and shared their own diverse experiences as Fulbrighters in countries from Colombia to South Korea. As we discovered through our conversation, everyone’s Fulbright experience is incredibly unique, and our diverse backgrounds impact how we navigate the social norms that vary while abroad. The panelists gave a lot of great advice, including the importance of research! For potential Fulbright applicants, they highlighted questions to consider while researching different countries to apply for, and how to think critically about identity abroad. They emphasized that Fulbrighters should consider their identities and understand what various experiences are like from people who have lived in those countries before. There are many resources out there to start your research. We do recommend connecting with Fulbright HBCU, Fulbright Prism, Fulbright Lotus or Fulbridge with any questions you may have!
The second panel in the Insight Scoop series underscored the value of diverse identities in the Fulbright application process and took place on July 6th, a prime time to connect with people looking to apply for the Fulbright Program. Zuka’a Joudeh and Isra Hussain (Fulbright Salam), Brittany Grady and Katie Kirk (Fulbright Access) and Valerie Simone (Fulbright Families) all came together to provide practical advice to an ambitious group of Fulbright applicants.The panelists delved into specific details and advice about how to create a competitive application and what prospective Fulbrighters can include in their statements. Some tips that were passed on were:
- Don’t be afraid to get personal in your essays
- Get recommendations from organizations outside of academia (like organizations you volunteer for)
- Write multiple drafts of your personal statement and have your Fulbright advisor, a Writing Center, or a Fulbright alumni read your application
- Thoroughly research the location you are applying for to flesh out your essays, appeal to the foreign committees, and exhibit an interest in learning more about foreign cultures
- Demonstrate how you plan to contribute while you are there and when you return
- Think about what you want the selection committee to know about you: how can you talk about your background, experiences, identities in a way that shows your experience and connection back to your purpose of applying for a Fulbright?
- No two applications and applicants look the same, think about what makes you unique!
The audience benefited so much from the insights provided by our experienced panelists. We were lucky to have panelists who shared their writing advice as former employees at their universities’ Writing Center. We encourage you to get in contact with these Affinity Groups at Fulbright Salam, Fulbright Access or Fulbright Families with any questions you may have!
Stay tuned for our next panel which will discuss the experience of Returning home from a Fulbright grant!