This past April, I was notified that I had been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship. Months later, I’m still in a state of disbelief while most of my friends, family, and colleagues are asking me “what on earth is a Fulbright Scholarship?!”
The following quote from Wikipedia explains the gist of the overall Fulbright Program:
The Fulbright Program, including the Fulbright-Hays Program, is a program of competitive, merit-based grants for international educational exchange for students, scholars, teachers, professionals, scientists and artists, founded by United States Senator J. William Fulbright in 1946. Under the Fulbright Program, competitively selected U.S. citizens may become eligible for scholarships to study, conduct research, or exercise their talents abroad; and citizens of other countries may qualify to do the same in the United States. The program was established to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and other countries through the exchange of persons, knowledge, and skills.
The program that I am participating in is referred to as the Distinguished Awards in Teaching Program (DATP).
So what is the Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Program (DATP)? According to the Institute for International Education (IIE), “the Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Program recognizes and encourages excellence in teaching in the U.S. and abroad. U.S. and international teachers receive grants to study at a university, observe classes and complete a project pertaining to their field of educational inquiry during their time abroad. The program is open to teachers from the United States and selected countries in multiple world regions.”
Obtaining this award has been the culmination of many months of effort with input from so many helpful friends and colleagues. It started with a passion for students within my school coming from refugee and English Language Learner (ELL) backgrounds and hopefully it is students like these who will receive the greatest of benefits from my participation in the DATP.
Beginning in January of 2017 I will spend a semester abroad in the UK learning more about the best practices in British schools that facilitate the integration of students classified as refugees into the education system there. During that time I will be based out of Durham University in the northeast of England. While there, I hope to take classes, complete a small research project, and have the opportunity to work with teachers from local secondary schools.
I’m absolutely thrilled to be able to bring my family along for this adventure. Hopefully my wife’s upbringing in Europe will help both myself and our boys as we explore a new country and cultures.
In 2 weeks the Fulbright Program will be hosting an orientation in Washington D.C. designed to prepare program participants for their times abroad.