For one of my international events this semester, I attended Jaci’s informational session about the Fulbright program. My future plans are not concrete enough for me to know if Fulbright is a feasible option for me, but I am intrigued by the program. I attended the informational session because I wanted to know what the Fulbright application process is like, and how best to be a competitive applicant. If I need to apply, I might as well go for it, right? The event itself was very pleasant, and honestly a welcome break from thinking about multi-step syntheses and all other manner of hellish organic chemistry I was attempting to learn.
Jaci presented in detail the necessary elements for applying to each different kind of Fulbright grant. The research project route requires a great deal of planning on the actual research proposal, obviously. That aside, the personal statement seems to be the key to separating very qualified applicants. The graduate study route obviously involves being accepted at the institution at which one wants to pursue a graduate degree. This seems like the route that would best fit my current plans, but honestly I sort of shudder at the thought of pursuing a graduate degree in a non-English speaking country. It would certainly be a challenge, and an adventure – I would be very far outside of my comfort zone for a very long time. United Kingdom, anyone? The third route is to be an English teaching assistant. This does not sound like it would fit in with my plans, but as I sat during the presentation, I began to think about how amazing that experience would be. This past summer I worked for Americorps at a literacy camp in Oklahoma City, and it was an incredible experience. I have a feeling that working as an English teaching assistant would be a similar experience, although in a vastly different location. If, at some point seven years after I graduate, I am able to dedicate an entire year to service, Fulbright would be an awesome option. I’m glad to have that knowledge in the back of my mind.