A Year in the Fulbright Life: Fatema’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.
I was lucky enough to start the beginning of the fall semester in the most perfect way: taking quality time to explore New York City with my friend from home before beginning the final year of my degree! It was so magical and mesmerizing, just like the movies!
I’m so grateful to Fulbright for giving me the opportunity to explore amazing places and make lasting friendships along the way!
Fall is my favorite season! It’s a wonderful time of the year where you get to see the leaves turn beautiful colors, visit pumpkin patches, and attend harvest festivals!
My favorite highlight of the fall season this year was learning how to perfectly carve pumpkins for the first time ever!
This Thanksgiving break, I went to Chicago! It was an amazing opportunity to explore somewhere new in the Midwest. It was great to see all the festive holiday lights, the big Christmas tree, and the Thanksgiving parade.
I’m so grateful for this opportunity, and I hope that anyone out there that wants to explore new places in the United States seizes the chance if possible! It’s truly an unforgettable place.
Traveling is my ultimate favorite thing to do during the holidays in the United States. I visited New York City and the beautiful Pacific Northwest once again with my fiancé. The holidays are my favorite time of year with all the colorful lights, decorations, and abundant holiday spirit!
I finally had the chance to visit Universal Studios and got to see the amazing Wizarding World of Harry Potter! I was very excited to see the Wizarding World since Harry Potter has always been a favorite childhood story of mine! It was definitely a blessing to be able to travel and explore more of the United States.
Enjoying the snow is my favorite thing to do in the winter! I took a trip to McCall, Idaho, to see how the snow envelops the city; it made me feel like I was in a fairytale or a movie scene!
Also, I got the chance to see some deer in the wild along the way!
This month we were finally ready to say goodbye to winter! I enjoy the outdoors very much in Boise and use nature as my medium to recharge and feel good — especially during these busy times in the middle of the semester!
I also love attending sports events/games for Boise State University. I seized the opportunity to watch the game with friends because it makes for a nice break and a great way to support our Boise State team.
Spring break gave me some time to relax and travel, so I decided to visit my friend in San Antonio, Texas. I love that I was able to make many valuable friendships along the way ! I had an amazing time exploring Texas. My favorite place we visited was The River Walk in San Antonio and The Oasis on Lake Travis in Austin.
When I returned to Boise, Idaho, it was time to enjoy the spring weather! I loved hanging out with my friends from class and going for walks and hikes around the city.
It’s hard to believe how quickly time flies and how I’m approaching the end of my program. It’s a bittersweet feeling, and I’ve tried my best to make the most of my last days! As COVID-19 restrictions eased up, my classmates and I did the best we could to meet up in-person and enjoy every single moment together! We went on a picnic and had a fun time going bowling! My classmates are more than just classmates to me; they’re friends and a support system that I’m so lucky to have in my life!
During Ramadan, I found it challenging to fast until late in the evening, but what made it so special was being around friends from different cultures and breaking my fast with them. It was definitely a unique experience to spend Ramadan in the United States this year. I’ll always remember it!
I also got the chance to visit the stunning Jump Creek Falls in Iowa. It was a fun day trip away from the city.
This month marks the end of my Fulbright journey! I couldn’t be more grateful for this opportunity that not only taught me so many valuable things but made me grow a lot, as well. It feels like yesterday that I came to the United States! I remember that I felt scared and confused about the uncertainty of the journey, and now I feel like I’m leaving a part of me behind. It definitely feels bittersweet to return home and leave the place that I’ve called home for the past two years.
I couldn’t believe that the day finally arrived; the day that you feel all your hard work has paid off! It’s an incredible and amazing feeling to feel so proud that you overcame all the hardships!
I couldn’t be more grateful for going through this journey with my amazing cohort and my professors from Boise State. They continuously supported me throughout this journey and taught me so much. I felt so empowered and able to overcome a lot of obstacles because of them!
Now I have a place in the United States that I will forever call home, with amazing friendships that will last forever, and amazing memories that I will live to tell my future family! I’m incredibly grateful and lucky for this opportunity of a lifetime. I just can’t wait to come back soon and visit!
Fatema is a 2020 Fulbright student from Bahrain. She is studying Health Science Promotion at Boise State University.
Follow updates from Fatema and other Fulbright students on our Facebook and Twitter pages. Check back here every month for more updates on the blog and Medium Series to see what Fatema does this year!