You Can Have It All: How I Became an Academic and a Mother with the Fulbright Program
Life always gives people chances; chances to try again and move on, to redirect their path, to stand up again after falling, to discover their strengths, or to figure out their life goals. People either decide to grasp these chances once presented to them, or hesitation intervenes and prevents them from making the appropriate decisions. Being granted the chance to study with the Fulbright Program is an incredible opportunity that I’ll take with me for the rest of my life.
As you can imagine, there are distinct challenges I face as a single mother trying to raise kids in this world. As a single mother from Egypt, I had to work extra hard to provide for my kids and show them that, despite the obstacles I’ve faced, I’ve accomplished a lot to give them the life that they deserve. It’s easy for doubt to creep in when raising kids alone, but I do my best to raise my kids right and give them all the opportunities I can.
On an intellectual level, I was always an ambitious student; I sought the highest grades, received high rankings in my classes, and achieved success by dedicating myself to scientific research. Despite my academic success thus far, I still felt limited in other ways. I wanted to step out of my comfort zone to meet new kinds of people and live in a new country.
I decided to apply for the Fulbright Program not only because it is considered an extraordinary opportunity for my academic career but also to learn new skills from great mentors, become acquainted with a new culture, and get to know people from other places. I had this feeling deep inside of me that expanding my horizons by studying with the Fulbright Program would also help me become a better mother to my kids.
When I was accepted into the Fulbright program, I felt like life was giving me my best chance to grow in every way possible. Studying with the Fulbright Program is a testament for hard work, persistence, and creative thinking. All of this combined with being an international student in the United States empowered me on both a personal and professional level.
In addition to my research, I decided to get involved in different cultural events to meet new people and learn about others’ traditions and cultural backgrounds. Along with these cultural events, Fulbright gives students the chance to attend several meetings that encourage students to broaden our horizons and reflect on how we can become better global citizens.
Apart from these amazing cultural and academic opportunities, I’ve also enjoyed getting to work alongside my professors. Not only did they serve as academic mentors to me, but they also served as aspirational mother figures that I would like to be for my own kids. Getting to know them allowed me to be more confident in my abilities as a mother, and I now have a clearer vision of the type of mother I’d like to be in the future.
I had no doubts that this astounding Fulbright experience would assist me in improving myself in all aspects. I am so thankful for having this chance to participate in this program and become the strong individual that I am today.
Marwa is a first year Fulbrighter from Egypt. She is studying Dentistry at the University of Michigan.