A Year in the Fulbright Life: Bayan’s Story
For the next year, Fulbright MENA will be showcasing a handful of students as they study in the United States with their new series, A Year in the Fulbright Life. Each month, spotlighted students will share an update as they continue on their Fulbright journey.
Saying goodbye is totally different when you are a Fulbright scholar, it’s more as a “Hello” for the new adventure waiting for you.
The first week was challenging. It was not easy to be away from family and friends while trying to adapt with a new culture, lifestyle and even a new educational system, which differs from the Jordanian one. However, I believe that challenges are opportunities to rise and step forward. We should only embrace, defy and conquer them.
I felt thrilled the moment where I stepped into my new journey, at which a new adventure has unfolded, carrying a lot of lessons and experience to learn from.
After the beginning of the semester, I joined the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists(AAPS) student chapter as voluntary member. One of the fun events was a bowlingparty during which professors and students met and talked so students could learn about the research area for each professor as a preliminary step before joining a specific lab.
Another activity AAPS arranged was an interactive session at the Temple University Pharmacy Schoolto host one of the best scientists from one of the top pharmaceutical companies, Janssen, in the world. It was very insightful and enriched the students’ knowledge.
The first thing I did during my winter break was to explore Philadelphia, one of the oldest cities in the United States. First, I saw the Liberty Bell, a symbol of America independence, with its famous crack.
Then I visited the Museum of Art that was chartered in 1876.
I took an exciting trip to Boston, Massachusetts with friends. My first destination in this beautiful city was Harvard University, one of the top universities in the world. Then I visited the site of the Boston Tea Party and listened to the history of political and mercantile protest by the Sons of Libertyin Boston in 1773 just before the American Declaration of Independence I also watched the sunset on a fascinating frozen lake. It was an eye-opening trip.
After Boston, I visited the most populous city in the United States: New York, NY. It’s a fabulous city, although it was crowded. I walked on the Brooklyn Bridge for more than an hour. Afterward, I ended my trip by visiting Central Park.
The most interesting part of this trip was with a Fulbright scholar from Jordan, Rund. She came all the way from Iowa and visited my city, Philadelphia. We explored New York and Boston together. It was an amazing experience.
nuary and February 2020
In January, I volunteered to present one of the most advanced technologies in pharmacology and to lead a discussion between the graduate students and the professors. It was a great experience that enriched my knowledge.
I’ve always wanted to see an ocean and to watch the sunset over the horizon, so I decided to go to the Atlantic ocean on my birthday to enjoy this amazing view.
In February, I started to work on a project on drug delivery of anti-cancer treatments. Being in the lab and turning your ideas into reality is the greatest thing any student can do. I learned a lot on research methodologies and advanced technologies implemented in this field.
In this month, everything changed. Changes require us to adapt, but there is a difference between adapting to cope and adapting to win. I tried to use my time in learning new skills. I have always wanted to learn photography, so I started an online class and applied what I learned in the backyard of my building. It was great to do the things I always wanted to try but never had the time for.
Quarantine continued during April, and since we finished exams this month, I decided to learn how to cook new dishes. I thought it was hard to cook, but it’s really enjoyable to cook for yourself.
Maintaining your mental health during quarantine is challenging. After reading many articles, I found that going for a walk in an open place is a good way to get fresh air and to stay positive during these hard times. I’ve decided to take a walk every other day for 10–15 minutes.
Bayan is a first-year Fulbright student from Jordan. She is studying Pharmaceutical Science at Temple University.