A Year in the Fulbright Life: Marwa’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.

September 2021:

I had an amazing dinner with my supervisor and her family! We discussed different global issues and shared our dreams and plans with each other while eating delicious food in a lovely ambiance! Actually, it was amazing!

I was able to visit the Matthei Botanical Gardens with my lovely friend, Shannon! The day we went to the gardens was a beautiful sunny day!

I had such a great time with my friends Rachel and Shannon! The botanical garden was absolutely amazing!

I also enjoyed seeing such a variety of cacti. I hope our academic journey will be smoother than a cactus!

My friends and I decided to get dressed in traditional wear from each of our countries and walk up and down the Diag on the University of Michigan’s campus while showing our cultural heritage! It was so fun to receive some glimpses of people sitting out on the Quad.

October 2021

In October, my friends and I had our first gathering with the Egyptian group at our house, and I also went to a petting zoo with my lab colleagues. I also went to Detroit with my American friends! We visited Belle Isle and we saw Windsor, Canada across the Detroit River!

November 2021

I was extremely delighted to be invited to my American friend Rachel’s house with her husband during Thanksgiving break. They hosted me at Rachel’s family house in Wisconsin, so we did a road trip from Michigan to Wisconsin and passed through Chicago!

Rachel, her husband, and I took pictures in front of the Bean in Chicago!

I walked around Chicago and got to experience the beautiful Christmas lights, including the Christmas tree!

During my trip, I also was able to visit the Chicago side of Lake Michigan!

I can’t get enough of the Christmas lights in Chicago; they’re so beautiful!

I had a wonderful sky walk tour in Milwaukee with Rachel and her family, where I learned more about Milwaukee’s history. I learned that when the Milwaukee City Hall was built in 1895, it was the third tallest building in the country, due to its beautiful bell tower.

I was so excited to celebrate Thanksgiving! I was in charge of making delicious mashed potatoes! Typical Thanksgiving food includes a turkey, mashed potatoes, and of course, pumpkin pie!

Best food and best Thanksgiving ever! I am so happy I got to celebrate and have dinner with Rachel and her family! This was truly an American cultural experience I won’t forget!

I also tried to saw a Christmas tree by myself when we went to get her family’s Christmas tree! I was proud of myself for trying!

During my time in Wisconsin, I got to walk around Milwaukee Lake Park and explore more of the city!

I keep thinking to myself that this photo will be my book jacket photo for my “future” novel, “Time to Explore”! Looking over at the water of Lake Michigan brings me so much peace.

I also visited the “Bronze Fonz” in Milwaukee, which is a tribute to the classic sitcom character, Fonzie!

This holiday I tried a classic holiday treat, apple cider! There’s nothing like celebrating the holidays with a hot cider in hand!

After lots of hard work, I rejoiced when I finished decorating my Christmas tree! It’s so amazing; I love it!

I couldn’t leave Wisconsin without seeing my friend Pretty, a fellow Egyptian Fulbrighter at Concordia University in Milwaukee! Thanks, Pretty, for such a lovely time!

December 2021

My supervisor and I visited New York to take an important calibration exam. However, we didn’t miss our chance to enjoy New York during Christmastime! In December, I also took a pottery class with some American friends. My creation was a Christmas tree!

January 2021

Over winter break, I had an awesome vacation with other Fulbrighters from different states! We all decided to take a trip together to Disney World and Universal Studios in Orlando. It was such an amazing trip! As Egyptian Fulbrighters, we had the chance to get to know each other better and build on our friendship even more.

We had to plan our tickets and accommodation two months in advance, but we all felt strongly about visiting Disney World and Orlando, so we were determined to make it happen! There were some obstacles in the planning process, but we did it! We felt like such kids the entire time. We spent our time there taking pictures with our favorite characters and going on all the rides. We dove into the pools of Volcano Bay and watched the magnificent shows at Magic Kingdom and Universal Studios! It truly was a trip to remember, and I’m so thankful to Fulbright for giving us an opportunity to visit Orlando, the city of my dreams!

Sliding from the highest point of Volcano Bay was such a rush!

I had a great time on Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway Ride, where the laws of physics didn’t apply and we were completely immersed in Mickey and Minnie’s cartoon world!

There were so many spectacular scenes at every turn, including this jungle view!

Even though the weather was warm and sunny, there was Christmas spirit all around!

One of my favorite parts of this trip was getting to see all my favorite characters come to life. I loved having my picture taken with Goofy!

One of the coolest parts of Disney World was going to Epcot and “traveling” all around the world! “Visiting” Epcot France was a lovely experience.

I loved seeing the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and experiencing all of the magic it had to offer!

We put on our brave faces and didn’t skip a single roller coaster ride!

I had the adventure of my dreams at Island Adventures. It was a thrilling trip that I’ll never forget!

February 2022

I won third place on Research Day for the School of Dentistry at the University of Michigan. I was thrilled to present my poster that day and I had lots of support from my wonderful supervisor!

I tried ice skating for the first time. I fell seven times, but falling means I am trying very hard!

I had three surprise parties for my birthday; one of them was from my American friends, Rachel and Shannon, which was so special. I loved their surprise!

My Egyptian friends and I gathered to cheer for the Egyptian team in the Africa Cup final! Unfortunately, we lost, but we still had a blast.

Something new I tried this month was learning how to check maple trees in order to secure syrup from the sap.

I enjoyed ice skating once again on the frozen Walled Lake with my friends. You can see some snow on my jeans, which of course means I frequently fell!

March 2022

We finally had a nice sunny day in Michigan before the rain came back to greet us, so my friends and I enjoyed the outdoors by going to a pretty park in Ann Arbor.

During the first day of Ramadan, my friends and I invited people over for the first day of Iftar. My roommate and I cooked lots of Egyptian dishes for everyone, including mashy, molokhia, ducks cooked with orange sauce, chicken, zucchini, macaroni, goulash, stew, and some salads!

I also had the opportunity to attend the American Association for Dental, Oral, and Craniofacial Research (AADOCR) conference in Atlanta, Georgia. I was able to meet many well-known professors and researchers in the dentistry field and attend lots of interesting presentations! I also had the chance to present my own research!

Apart from being in Atlanta for the conference, I got to visit one of Atlanta’s best tourist attractions, the World of Coca-Cola! I loved the experience and got to taste many Coca-Cola flavors from different countries.

I’m very happy I was able to enjoy the World of Coca-Cola with my lab team. We had a great time taking pictures with the giant Coca-Cola bottle!

We also had a great time exploring new places in Atlanta. We were able to try several different restaurants while we were there.

The spring weather in Atlanta was beautiful! It allowed me to be outside and explore sights like outdoor paths and murals off of roads.

April 2022

I recently had the chance to travel to Chicago and see all the wonderful sites!

I really enjoyed spending time at the Willis Tower and seeing the entire city. It was a spectacular view and a great way to be introduced to Chicago!

I got to visit the Bean for the second time, but this time with a group of my Egyptian friends! I also had the chance to meet up with a fellow Fulbrighter in Chicago.

I really enjoyed seeing the unique Chicago skyline and walking by the water on the Navy Pier.

May 2022

Since I am a non-degree PhD visiting scholar conducting my research in the School of Dentistry at the University of Michigan, I did not have a typical graduation ceremony. However, I decided to celebrate my program’s conclusion my own way! Since I already finished my research, I decided to share my results and participate as a speaker in the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry Conference (AAPD) 2022 in San Diego. It was my dream to attend such a big international conference in pediatric dentistry, and I not only attended but also participated as a speaker! The last five days in May were the celebration of a fruitful and absolutely amazing year. What better place to celebrate than San Diego?

Visiting San Diego meant enjoying the beautiful beaches it had to offer! I had the chance to go to La Jolla and see the seals all over the shore!

I was mesmerized by the beautiful sunset at Sunset Cliff and also really enjoyed seeing the renowned lighthouse and the Cabrillo Monument at Point Loma.

I went on a trolley tour throughout the city where we visited Balboa Park, Coronado Island, Old Town, Little Italy, Seaport Village, and the Gaslamp Quarter.

Finally, I hiked through the amazing and high Torrey Pines!

June 2022

Since I wrapped up my program in May, I was ready to take some time off to relax and explore the United States a little bit more before returning home. I enjoyed sitting by the water at Argo Park!

I also had the chance to go tubing and kayaking for the first time while visiting Argo Park. They were both a blast! After trying new water activities, I loved watching the sunset by the water.

I had one last lunch meeting with my amazing lab mates! I’ll miss working alongside them.

Before leaving, I had the chance to visit Cleveland, Ohio and see some of their unique artistic tourist sites, including the Free Stamp! This monument was part of the Pop Art movement in American history, which takes everyday objects and uses them to make a deeper commentary on society.

Marwa is a 2021 Fulbright student from Egypt. She studied Dentistry at the University of Michigan.

Follow updates from Marwa 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 Marwa does this year!

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