Fulbright program sends Aztecs abroad

by Hannah Beausang

02_19_13_News_Fulbright_MLThe Fulbright U.S. Student Program provides an opportunity for San Diego State’s best and brightest academic achievers to travel the world and carry out their dreams firsthand.

From 2014-15, the program will senåd approximately 1,700 students abroad. It features a list of more than 150 diverse countries, ranging from Indonesia to Jamaica.  Grantees will conduct their research or teach in their country of choice for an academic year, which gives them ample time to fully immerse themselves in the native culture.

SDSU Fulbright adviser Pat Huckle called the grant “prestigious” and advocates SDSU student participation. She says recruiters are looking for well-rounded, independent students who demonstrate initiative.

“All the students say it’s a life-changing experience; they learn things they never expected to learn,” Huckle said.

SDSU geography graduate student Zia Salim was awarded a Fulbright research grant to study in Bahrain, a small island in the Persian Gulf.

“I was able to complete my research studies for my Ph.D. and at the same time I was able to have this really awesome cultural experience,” Salim said. “I got to teach at the University of Bahrain, meet Bahrainis and make friendships that will be lifelong while I traveled throughout the region.”

Salim encourages all students to apply for scholarships and to take the application seriously.

“This is not a scholarship like any other,” Salim said. “You have to do a lot of research to figure out what the scholarship is all about. Try to do as much as you can to have the best research question that you can, to try to have the most feasible plan and make it something that is doable.”

The Fulbright scholarship was founded in 1946 to increase multicultural knowledge. Graduate students are given the chance to study, conduct advanced research and teach in elementary schools and universities throughout the world. Since 2005, 50 SDSU students have received the scholarship.

SDSU was noted in The Chronicle of Higher Education as one of the top producing Fulbright institutions for the 2011-12 academic year.

The scholarship is open to graduate students, recent alumni and undergraduates who will be completing their undergraduate degree by August 2014. The last day to turn in an application is at noon on Sept. 23 for the following academic year.

Information sessions will be held in Love Library 430 from 3-4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 27; Thursday, March 21; Monday, April 8; Tuesday, April 23 and Wednesday, May 15.