The Start of an Incredible Journey: The Fulbright Program Application
Being a Fulbrighter is the result of working hard towards a dream I’ve had since I was an undergraduate student. My mother always told me when I was young that one day, I would have the chance to study abroad. As a pediatric physiotherapist, I knew exactly what I wanted to study, and because physiotherapy is one of the leading professions in the United States, the Fulbright Program was my golden ticket to embark on my academic journey and learn from the best. Here I am years later studying with one of the best programs in the world!
The Fulbright Program allows you to try new things that you might not otherwise get to experience. Fulbright gave me the chance to study at Concordia University in Wisconsin, which is providing me with an education I’ve always dreamed of. I can say without a doubt that Fulbright has encouraged me to explore different aspects of life that I haven’t previously, and has made me a more complete person.
When it comes to the application process, it is important to know that the extensive application and wait can be overwhelming, but it’s also exciting. Thoughts of rejection and fear overpowered my mind at times, but I tried to keep focused on the hope of being accepted and fulfilling my dreams to stay motivated. When I did get the acceptance letter, I remember jumping up and down, screaming in front of my family, because I couldn’t contain my happiness! I will remember that moment for the rest of my life.
Because the Fulbright application can be so daunting, it’s important to keep these tips in mind. Always be honest, precise, and straightforward about your accomplishments and aspirations. The selection committee wants to see that you are serious about your passions and what makes you unique.
Another essential part of your application is the letters of recommendation. Make sure that the person you ask for recommendations is either a former employer or professor who knows you well and understands exactly the type of experience you have and how this program will help you in the future. The letter must be authentic and should describe in detail the type of individual you are and how Fulbright will help you succeed.
Then come the personal statements! Try to arrange your statements according to a timeline, and mention what you have accomplished so far in your academic career. It is always a good idea to mention any challenges you’ve faced — whether that be moving to a new city or any other personal challenges you faced, and how you handled it. Overcoming challenges and demonstrating your resilience is key. Mention all the extracurricular activities in which you’ve participated, and how these contribute to who you are and what your dreams are for the future. Fulbright is not only about your academic studies, but it also teaches you how to become a better person through cultural exchange with other students from all over the world. In your statement, talk about how Fulbright will help you grow personally and how you will engage in cultural exchange once in the United States.
Finally, when you’re in the interview, make sure you’ve re-read the papers that you submitted in the application, because the interviewers will ask you about what you’ve written. It is normal to be nervous, but don’t be afraid! Don’t allow your nerves to hinder selling yourself to the committee. If you’re not accepted the first time, you can always apply again. My Fulbright journey was ultimate proof that everything comes at the correct time and in a way that fits us best as individuals.
When you do get to the United States and start your studies, it’s important to keep a piece of home with you. Keep in touch with your family and friends to help you adjust to home sickness towards the beginning. Looking for activities and clubs to join around campus will help you get involved in your new community and engage with new people.
Good luck as you start this incredible journey!
Pretty is an Egyptian Fulbrighter. She is studying Rehabilitation Sciences at Concordia University in Wisconsin.