Saturday, March 31, 2012

Thank you Fulbright

On April 9th, senator Fulbright is remembered (go to http://www.ThankYouFulbright.org for more information, or for submitting a thank you note yourself). I've taken this information from the Thank You Fulbright website:

Senator Fulbright was born on April 9, 1905. The Anniversary of his birth is our one-a-year chance to give thanks.

As Fulbright scholars, our lives and professional careers have benefited because of a Fulbright grant.

Between now and April 9, Fulbright scholars, grantees and alums from around the world can submit their thank you notes to the countries that hosted them or sent them on an international Fulbright experience.

The Fulbright program is funded by governments. In each of us, the governments invested tens of thousands of dollars for our professional development, and our careers benefited from it, so it is appropriate for us to say thank you.



And for the occasion, I've added my Thank You note here as well: To the Ambassador of Belgium to the United States,

How do I even start to express my gratitude towards the wonderful experiences I enjoyed as a Fulbrighter?

In 2008 - 2009, I spent a year in Atlanta, at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Even though I was thrilled to the core for this opportunity, I had no clue of what this year would bring me. I can try to sum it up in this random and widely ranging list: a broader and deeper understanding of my field of study, the passion for research, life-changing travel experiences, the love of my life, a broader perspective of life, the universe and everything - all drenched with large coffees, endless homework notes and random gatherings of all possible nationalities.

It's been a year to remember, and year that shaped me. From the lecture rooms to the coffee places, from the university campus to the heart of the city, from the city to the state of Georgia with its mountains and swamps, from the Southeast to the West coast - I wanted to experience it all, learn from it and grow. To be an ambassador of my quirky surrealist home-country and at the same rate, take in all the sights and sounds of my newer home, became my second nature.
Ever learning, ever trying to deeper understand everything at hand: engineering, but also the vibe of the enormous city that I landed - and from there escaping and setting out to explore even more. I earned my nickname Eva the explorer, and made exploring a purpose itself.

All this, just a fraction, in a nutshell of 365 days only - but enough to leave all previous assumptions touched and questioned. Endlessly I would like to repeat this mantra: "Thank you, thank you"

And again - thank you - for the impact it had on the course of my life is undisputed.

7 comments:

  1. I was a Fulbright scholar... Although ThankYouFulbright.org wasn't around when I was at MIT.

    Thanks for posting this.

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  2. I was on exchange program from Turkey as a teacher of English in1991-1992 in San Diego,USA.It was the toughest year of my life.I didn't realize how much I had grown not only as a teacher but also as person until I entered my classes back at home.My teaching career changed definetely for the better and I became stronger as an individual.That was an amazing experience.I met beautiful people both inside and outside.Thank You Fulbright '

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  3. Thank you for your comments! Great to see how we all enjoyed our Fulbright experience and how it impacted our lives.

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  4. In 1989 - 1990, I spent the academic year at Ripley High School WV, as an exchange Biology teacher. At the time,being the first Fulbright exchange from Turkey at the high school level, made me feel quite apprehensive. But with all the assistance provided at the orientation program in Washington, the conferences and workshops that followed later on during the year made me enjoy a wonderful year.
    I would like to express my gratitude towards the wonderful experiences I and my elder son enjoyed at school and among the Ripley community.
    Thank you for the impact it had on my carrier and my son's life.

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  5. Thank you for your comment - I think the Fulbright program impacts the life of every person joining it

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  6. I was in Northwestern University at Chicago in 2007-2008 (one year). I was there with my wife and two kids. We were all learning. Me was going to school for research, my wife was going to ESL (English as Scend Language) classes, my son was going to UIC (University of Illinois at Chicago) for Master degree, my daugther was going to Oakton Comminity College (Skokie) as transfer student. It was big experience for me. When I return to my university (Gazi, Turkey), I am going to continue to do research about what I learn at Northwestern. My son was transferred to Purdue for PhD, my daugther was transferred to IUPUI (Indiana University Purdue University at Indianapolis) for undergrand degree. Also I got several friends from different countries. I am really happy that I got this change by the help of Fulbright.

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