Each year some 800 faculty and professionals from around the world receive Fulbright Scholar grants for advanced research and university lecturing in the United States. Also ,Currently operating in more than 155 countries worldwide, the program awards 1,700 grants per year that sponsor various kinds of research and teaching opportunities abroad. ( Please note that this article is written in an international perspective on the fullbright programme.)
Wondering what the Fulbright is?
Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and administered by the Institute of International Education (IIE), the Fulbright program began in 1946 with the aim to “increase the mutual understanding between the people of the U.S. and the people of other countries.”
155 Different Fulbright Programs
The Fulbright application, the process, and program depend entirely on the country. Fulbrighters often say that there are effectively 155 different Fulbright programs because the variation between them all is so great. This means that you must carefully consider which country you are going to choose, your reasoning for this choice, and then you must thoroughly examine the procedure for that specific country before you apply.
1. Study/Research Grant
The broadest of all, the “study/research grant” provides funds for academic research abroad in any discipline and is open to both students and professionals of any age. What sets the study/research option apart from other programs is the lack of a determined final requirement. Basically, you will not be expected to produce a paper or make a presentation at the end. This is not to say that those at IIE and the Fulbright program, specific to your country of choice, have no expectations. You will be asked to complete a mid-term and final report, and you will be held to a very high standard of community engagement throughout your stay. Although the Fulbright program prides itself on the flexibility that it gives to its scholars – providing the space and resources for them to go where the experience takes them without a rigid itinerary – it also emphasizes the fact that this scholarship is not about the individual, it is about the individual’s interactions with his/her surroundings.
2. Creative and Performing Arts Grant
If you are less of a scholar and more of a performer, the Fulbright can still be a means for you to live abroad while studying the art you love. Within the general category of “Creative/Performing Arts,” you can propose a project that focuses on music (mtvU), dance, photography, creative writing, filmmaking, or whatever your area of study may be.
3. Specialized Grant
There are a number of specialized grants. They’re unique both in terms of subject and country. For example, you can apply for a specialized grant in journalism, business, or the sciences; for example you can apply to study the Irish language in Ireland instead of proposing a research topic of your own creation.
4. English Teaching Assistantship
While the first three kinds of grants are all similar in that they necessitate independent research, the English Teaching Assistantship does not. Instead, the focus is education. The I.I.E. highly stresses the difference between the three grants listed above and the ETA Fulbright, where your focus will be on the classroom. It is important to note that:
(a) Your roll will be that of a teacher’s assistant.
(b) The ETA still places a lot of importance on community engagement and expects you to independently participate in academic or community service projects.
If you apply for a study/research grant, it is vital that you find an educational institution or another sponsoring entity to be your “affiliation,” even if you are planning mainly independent research and travel. One of the most challenging parts of the Fulbright application may be finding someone to sponsor you.
If you apply for an English Teaching Assistantship, on the other hand, you don’t need to worry about finding an affiliation. This may sound nice in the context of the application process (one less box on that checklist), but be sure to think about what it will mean for your time abroad. The Fulbright program of your country will set you up with your affiliation, meaning you will have less control over who/what your affiliation is, and therefore where you’ll be living/traveling/etc. There are pros and cons to either type of Fulbright (research oriented or teacher oriented), but if you choose an ETA, be prepared to be flexible when it comes to the affiliation.
If you’re not American, check out the Fulbright for Foreign Students