How to Get a Fulbright Scholarship

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IES Abroad
April 14, 2016

Calling all of our graduating college seniors and recent graduates—are you familiar with the Fulbright Program?

Fulbright is one of the most prestigious international exchange programs in the world, and we are proud to have had more than 170 of our alumni awarded Fulbright scholarships.

There are five different types of awards in the Fulbright U.S. Student Program to promote international educational exchange—open study/research awards, English teaching assistant awards, public policy fellowships, digital storytelling fellowship, and a critical language enhancement award.

Started in 1946, thanks to Arkansas Senator J. William Fulbright, the Fulbright Program aims to “increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.” The Fulbright Program is supported by the U.S. Department of State and administered by the Institute for International Education (IIE).

Many of our Centers abroad are very involved in helping our students and alumni prepare Fulbright project proposals and applications.

Here are just some of the ways our Centers help our students with getting a Fulbright Scholarship:

  • Center staff and faculty share information about the Fulbright Program (including print materials) in their courses as a way to come back and study in the future.
  • Faculty start to identify potential candidates early on in the semester (for some, this is during the language intensive weeks).
  • Course-related excursions also help faculty target exceptionally gifted students. These excursions allow students to discern their own capacities and interesting research topics.
  • International faculty discuss prospective research topics students may tackle and how to best propose a project.
  • Centers have placed students in internships with the Fulbright Commission.
  • At the end of the semester, staff and faculty assist students in further research for the scholarship. They also coach students on consistency in their Fulbright proposals making sure things flow, and that everything is tied to the student’s goals.
  • Some Center Directors are former Fulbright recipients themselves, and are able to share their personal experiences with the program, and some others attend Fulbright meetings throughout the year.
  • A few Centers invite the Director or Chief of the Fulbright Commission to the Center to answer questions and give advice about how get each type of scholarship. Any IES Abroad alumni who came back with a Fulbright Scholarship are also invited to talk about their experience.
  • Many Center Directors and faculty maintain close connects with the Fulbright Commission and are ready to write meaningful letters of recommendation—one Center Director has written more than 40.

Alumnus Jonathan Carfagno (Berlin, 1999) shared, “My time at IES Abroad Berlin prepared me for a Fulbright Teaching Assistantship in Salzburg, Austria…Without the initial exposure to the art museum world that I received through IES [Abroad] Berlin, it is doubtful that I would have followed the career path I chose. I am grateful to both IES [Abroad] and the Austrian American Fulbright Commission for the opportunities they have provided.” 

The resounding success of IES Abroad Centers in producing Fulbright scholars proves our mission to be the perfect formula—to provide premier study abroad programs for U.S. students that deliver the highest quality education, while simultaneously promoting development of intercultural competence.

Over the last 70 years, more than 360,000 individuals have received funding from Fulbright to study in more than 160 countries. If study abroad changed your life and you have a passion for traveling abroad, apply for one of the 8,000 Fulbright grants awarded each year to further pursue your field of interest. Learn more about the Fulbright Program.

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