Each year, the US government sends thousands of people abroad. These “Fulbrighters” do advanced research, teach (at the elementary, secondary, or college level), or study at the graduate level. Fulbrighers include:
- teachers, professors, scholars
- students and recent graduates
- professionals (e.g., journalists, attorneys, artists)
Fulbright programs vary in length (2 weeks to 12 months) and location (there are 155 countries participating today). They also vary on the level of funding they provide and the subject areas hosted by each country. The core Fulbright Scholar Program, in which I am participating, “sends 800 U.S. faculty and professionals abroad each year. Grantees lecture and conduct research in a wide variety of academic and professional fields.” My position is for a full academic year.
The overall point of the Fulbright program is to increase mutual understanding among nations and help build knowledge as well. It dates back to 1946 when Senator J. William Fulbright asserted that nations could avoid future wars by simply getting to know other. Today’s Fulbright programs are sponsored by the US State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. These programs bring foreign students and scholars to the USA in addition to sending US citizens abroad.
You can identify which programs fit you by visiting the Institute of International Education’s (IIE’s) Fulbright page. As you dig down, you’ll be able to find out what countries host scholars in your areas of expertise and interest, how much funding they provide, and what skills they require. Some positions are much more competitive than others — some require specific credentials while others are open to scholars in any discipline. Some positions require that you can speak your host’s native language.
It’s worth your while to spend a little time today looking over the possibilities… it’s never too early to start planning your own Fulbright adventure!