Research, Teach or Study Abroad with a Fulbright Award
Are you interested in living and working abroad?
Do you want to find ways to learn about new cultures and peoples of the world?
Are you a UA graduate, or soon-to-be graduate who is interested in doing research in a foreign country?
Do you enjoy being in a classroom and want to teach English lessons and share American culture abroad?
The U.S. Congress created the Fulbright Program in 1946, immediately after World War II, to foster mutual understanding among nations through educational and cultural exchanges. Senator J. William Fulbright, sponsor of the legislation, saw it as a step toward building an alternative to armed conflict. Today the Fulbright U.S. Student Program is the largest U.S. exchange program offering students and recent graduates international opportunities to study, conduct research and teach. Each year, approximately 1,600 Americans study or conduct research in over 140 nations with the support of the Fulbright.
Types of Grants
The U.S. Student Fulbright Program is designed to give recent college graduates, graduate students, and young professionals, opportunities for personal and career development and international experience. Most awards are for one academic year. There are two types of grants — Full Grants for Study and Research and Full Grants for English Teaching Assistantships.
Full Grants for Study & Research
These grants are provided for an individual to conduct or study in a host country of their choice for one academic year. Applicants for the Study & Research Grants plan their own programs. Projects may include university coursework, independent research, special projects in the creative or performing arts, or a combination thereof.
Full Grants for English Teaching Assistantships (ETAs)
ETAs are offered in many countries worldwide. Each ETA Program is designed by the host country. ETAs differ from Study & Research grants in that their primary purpose is to engage students in the classroom. ETAs may, however, propose small research projects or community engagement activities that complement their ETA award and fulfills the purpose of the Fulbright program.
Applicants must submit the following:
• General Application form
• Statement of Grant Purpose (2 pages for Study & Research grants, 1 page for the ETA)
• Personal Statement (1 page)
• 3 letters of recommendation
• Foreign Language Report (when applicable)
• Letter(s) of Affiliation from Overseas contact (for Study & Research grants, and in exceptional cases the ETA)
• Official Transcripts
- Email a UA Fulbright Program Advisor
- Dr. Beverly Hawk, Center for Community-Based Partnerships at email@example.com
- Dr. Matthew Feminella, Department of Modern Languages and Classics, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Print and complete the Fall 2019 Student Interest Form and bring it to your first meeting with Dr. Hawk or Dr. Feminella
- Check out the official Fulbright website.
- Attend one or more Fulbright Information Sessions on campus.
Fulbright Program Advisors
Fulbright information sessions are held throughout the year, but especially in August and September every fall. Each session provides a great opportunity for interested students to learn about the application process and the benefits of a Fulbright scholarship. Most information sessions give students a chance to meet former Fulbright winners from UA and hear about their experiences from all over the world.
Fulbright Day information for Spring 2019 is coming!
How to Get Started on the Fulbright Website
Important Notice: If you are enrolled at The University of Alabama you MUST apply through the UA Fulbright Program Advisor. If you are a UA alumni, you are eligible, and encouraged to apply through our office as well.
The Online Application:
1. Create an Embark account. Go to http://us.fulbrightonline.org, click on “Applicants,” and click on “Embark Online Application.” Please create an account and fill in the required information ! Do not submit your application until you are ready. Please email Megan Wagner (email@example.com) if you have any questions about the online application.
The Campus Deadline: The campus deadline is a FINAL deadline. It is Thursday, September 5, 2019. All application materials must be submitted in the on-line application system (Embark) by the campus deadline. For the campus deadline, please do the following:
1. Proofread your online application.
2. Print out your online application.
3. Submit your online application (through the Embark Fulbright site).
4. Once you have submitted, you may sign up for an interview time slot. (More details will be sent to you via email.)
Please make sure you remind your recommenders that their letters are due by the campus deadline. Fulbright requires that recommendation letters be submitted online. Please make sure you have entered your recommenders’ information in the online application system. This will generate an email to them with a username and password, which allows them to upload their letters. Recommenders do not submit hard copies.
It is your responsibly to make sure that all of your letters of reference and foreign language evaluation(s) are uploaded by the campus deadline. Please do not call or email to ask about the completeness of your application. You can check on the Fulbright Embark system to see if letters of recommendation and language evaluations have been uploaded and submitted.
What is the purpose of the campus interview?
The purpose of the campus interview is to provide additional information about your candidacy to the National Screening Committee. The interviews are your only chance to articulate, in person, your reasons for wanting to teach, study or conduct research abroad. Each applicant will be interviewed individually for about 30 minutes by a panel of UA faculty and staff. Panelists may question students on contacts they have made overseas, academic preparation for the study, knowledge of the host country, and language training.
How does the panel evaluate applicants?
The panel’s rating of your application is based on an evaluation of your complete application and the campus interview. A panel of the Screening Committee will assess the content and feasibility of your proposal, your language preparation, your knowledge of the host country, etc., and then complete the Campus Committee Evaluation Form. The panel will rate your candidacy. The campus interview is NOT a mechanism for disqualifying applicants, but it is a mechanism for rating—not ranking—the applicants. Your rating will not be disclosed to you at any time, nor will you be given feedback regarding the confidential Campus Committee Evaluation Form.
PLEASE NOTE: No one is eliminated from the competition at the campus level. UA is asked by IIE (the organization that administers the Fulbright Program) to forward all applications submitted, regardless of the rating given by the campus committee.
What is the makeup of the panel?
In most cases, we try as best as possible to tailor the panels to fit your project and host country. Members may in fact be previous Fulbright recipients, natives of the host country, or an individual in your area of expertise. While we do have a large number of faculty and staff who serve as committee members, it is not always possible to be interviewed by someone in your field. Committee members have often had years of experience in working with Fulbright applications, and they are very aware of what makes a good application. In addition, your application at the national level will not only be read by people specifically in your academic field, but by others who have knowledge of the country or area where you wish to go.
Please do not worry if your campus interview panel is made up of faculty and staff from outside your area of study. In fact, one of the key concepts of the Fulbright is to be able to articulate your proposal to a “lay” audience.
Please be aware that the campus interview is meant to support your application and is not the deciding factor in your application. The interview and evaluation is meant to give the National Screening Committee as much information to work with as possible, and is, thus, very important. The campus level interviews will be your only interview through the Fulbright process, except in a few cases (e.g., the performing arts).
What if I will be away from campus during the fall semester?
Please notify us immediately. Most students who apply for the Fulbright at The University of Alabama have a campus interview in person, but we can accommodate an interview over skype, facetime, or zoom if an applicant is out of town.
*TIPS FOR A BETTER INTERVIEW*
- Be yourself! Do not forget, however, that you are being interviewed in a formal situation.
- Dress code: Dress in a manner which will make you feel comfortable, but dress for a job interview.
- Don’t worry about being nervous. Everyone is. The interviewers just want to challenge you.
- Language Ability: The feasibility of your proposal is very important in the evaluation process. For this reason, foreign language skills are carefully considered, if you are going to a country where the native language is not English. The interviewers may ask you questions in the language of your country. Always reply in the language in which you are asked a question, even if it is to ask the committee member to repeat the question. The committee is not so much looking for fluency, but more for your potential to communicate in the language.
- Know something about the country to which you are applying. Familiarize yourself with current events, politics, literature, cultural events and what is going on in your field in that country. Some interviews will not go into these subjects with much depth, but some will.
- Know something about what is going on in the US (especially issues relevant to what you study).
- Reread your application (including your transcript) before going into the interview. Interviewers may ask you about any and all parts of your application, and you need to be prepared to talk about any statement you have made. It is so easy to forget a seemingly insignificant point you may have made, and it is quite embarrassing to draw a blank concerning an essay you wrote.
- Do not be afraid to state your opinions and argue them. As long as you are able to support your opinions, and do so without becoming angry or defensive, you will do fine. Some interviewers are curious to know how you will react in a situation where your beliefs are being questioned. The same interviewer who presses you to the wall about your thoughts on a particular matter may agree with you completely, so don’t waffle for the sake of agreement. Just be straightforward and stand by your convictions.
- Channel your nervous energy into enthusiasm. Be genuinely enthusiastic about the scholarship and the opportunities it can afford you. Be positive and don’t hesitate to let them know you really want the scholarship.
- Unsure of a question? If you are unsure of what a question is getting at, you can do one of two things: Take a definite line on what you thought the question was, or ask politely and briefly for clarification. Some applicants, when asked an especially tough question, request clarification in order to gain a little time to think.
- Know something about the origin and intent of the Fulbright Program. Read the Fulbright US Student Program Handbook or website for this information.
- How you enter and exit is important. Smile at everyone when you come in and leave time for a casual or humorous comment or two at the beginning. Let them set the pace. Thank them and make a polite exit when they indicate the interview is over, but don’t rush out the door.
The National Screening Process
After the campus process, Fulbright applications are screened in two stages. Applications will first be reviewed by a nationally appointed committee. Except in a few cases (e.g., performing arts, Russia and UK short-listed applicants), you will not be asked for any further interviews. The Institute of International Education (IIE) will notify you via email in January whether or not you have passed national screenings. If you pass (that is, are “recommended”), your application will be sent to the supervising agency in the country to which you are applying, and the final decisions will be made.
You will receive final notification from IIE anywhere from mid-March to late June. Alternates sometimes receive notification as late as July or August. There is no standard timeline by which country committees make their decisions—every year can be different. Please contact us when you receive official notification, as we are often not informed until a later date.
- Make this scholarship application a priority and manage your time well!
- Get everything in on time. Supporting materials can be submitted late, but you should make every effort to have a completed application by the campus deadline. Incomplete applications will reflect poorly on you at the campus and national levels.
- Please contact us with any questions you may have.
2019-2020 NEW Awards Spotlight
Graduate and Doctoral Degree Programs in Taiwan (12): This year, Taiwan added a MBA Program in International Human Resources Development to their list of fully-funded graduate and doctoral degree awards. All graduate degree programs are taught in English and awards in this area are undersubscribed. Other field for graduate degree enrollment in Taiwan include Asia-Pacific Studies, Creative Industries Design, International Communications, and Agricultural Economics.
Uzbekistan ETA (10 awards!): ETA often serve as native speaker resources to remote areas of Uzbekistan and may work with underserved communities. The Public Affairs Section (PAS) of the U.S. Embassy in Tashkent will make all affiliation arrangements. ETAs will complete 20 hours per week of in-classroom assistant teaching, including all class preparation time and additional school-related activities at host institution. ETAs will generally assist in teaching conversational English and some composition to university students and professionals at the host institutions. For an additional five hours per week, ETAs will work extensively with Uzbekistan’s “English for STEM” service providers, as applicable. Under the guidance of PAS, ETAs will also have the opportunity to participate in community outreach and cultural activities, such as directing reading and conversation groups at an American Center, and assisting PAS with a variety of cultural and educational visitors. Experience with either Russian or Uzek languages recommended, but not required.
Timor-Leste ETA (2 awards): Grantees will be placed at either a high school or university setting and work with English teachers to provide conversational English and/or integrate English language courses. A brief description of preference can be highlighted in the statement of purpose. University placement will be in the capital of Dili, Timor-Leste. High school placement may be in Dili or in a rural setting. Grantees will serve as a resource for conversation, vocabulary, reading, writing, and American cultural topics. Schools in Timor-Leste are very crowded and lack conveniences such as air conditioning, hot water, gyms, and Western food. All ETAs will have access to internet connectivity. Candidates must be willing to adapt to local living conditions. Approximately 30 hours per week will be spent in the classroom assisting English teachers and leading English activities. An additional 5-10 hours will be devoted to participating in or leading school-related activities, clubs, teams, etc. Applications should highlight the applicant’s talents/experience in coaching sports, music, theatre, art, and other skills that could be useful for engaging students both in and out of the classroom. Foreign Language Proficiency: Not required
Bama Fulbrighters Blog
Do you wonder what its like to go abroad on a Fulbright grant?
Do you want to apply but can’t decide which country you want to work in?
Are you curious as to what Fulbright winners do while overseas!