Monday, December 14, 2015

A Foreign Fulbrighter’s Field Experience

A Yemeni Fulbright Student Travels Across U.S. for Summer Project

My name is Aziz, and I am a Yemeni Foreign Fulbright Student studying Conflict Resolution at Portland State University. A unique requirement for my degree program is completing 200 hours of practicum (in-the-field study). I am writing this blog post about my practicum experience, because it was an incredible complement to my studies and my time in the United States as a Fulbrighter.

For my field practice, I knew wanted to experience a new region of the United States. After some research, I located a community relations project near Detroit, Michigan that is managed by Global Impact, a non-governmental organization that specializes in promoting social entrepreneurship and society-based projects. The project in Michigan was perfect fit for my practicum because it involved elements of both human relations and cultural exchange.

“-A unique opportunity to provide students with my own insight into Yemeni culture and current events.” - Aziz

The period of my practicum was summer 2015. During that time, my primary duty was to meet with student volunteers from around the United States and introduce them to life in the small town of Hamtramck, Michigan. This was a fascinating opportunity because I helped these students explore Hamtramck just as I did Portland when I began as a Fulbrighter.  Also, Hamtramck is a diverse area. In fact, a recent survey showed that 26 languages are spoken in the area’s public high schools. One of the largest international communities in the area is Yemeni, which provided me a unique opportunity to provide students with my own insight into Yemeni culture and current events.

Through working in such a diverse community, and with volunteers from around the U.S., I learned that people can come to an understanding and live in peace, no matter their backgrounds, as long as they have the opportunity to interact with one another on a humanistic level. The Fulbright Program created the opportunity for me to live and work in Michigan by giving me the opportunity to study in the United States and also by allowing me the flexibility to conduct my practicum in another area of the country.
Aziz is a Yemeni student studying Conflict Resolution at Portland State University. After graduating in May 2016, Aziz hopes to return to Yemen and implement a teaching curriculum that builds mutual understanding during conflict.

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