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.