Friday, July 22, 2016

Fulbright Fulfills Professional Dreams

I thought I knew everything about the Fulbright Program, but that was before I began working with Fulbrighters as an intern at AMIDEAST. My first experience with Fulbright actually came while working at Michigan State University’s (MSU) Office for International Students and Scholars. At MSU, I helped Fulbrighters connect to campus and community resources. However, since joining AMIDEAST in May 2016, I have begun to see the administration side of the Fulbright cycle. Every day I am learning new facts about the program that illustrate the level of planning needed to ensure successful Fulbright grants for students. My new role has also allowed me to see how many international Fulbright students have overcome great adversity to come to the United States. This realization compels me to work hard to support Fulbright students in every phase of their Fulbright grants.

Summertime is an exciting period to be an intern at AMIDEAST, as my team is preparing to welcome a new cohort of fall 2016 Fulbright students from 13 countries in the Middle East and North Africa. These students’ academic interests are incredibly diverse---- I’ve seen students enroll in programs as diverse as Aerospace Engineering, Public Health, and Teaching English as a Second Language (TESOL). In addition to welcoming our new students, I’m also looking forward to the award announcements of the new Alumni Community Action Grants and the Alumni Development Grants. These opportunities provide alumni with opportunities to remain engaged with the Fulbright Program, give back to their communities, and in the case of the Development Grants, gain additional learning experiences such as attending educational conferences and conducting collaborative research.

Interning at AMIDEAST has not only provided me with tangible work experience, but also a deep understanding of the Fulbright Program and a strong appreciation for the determination of MENA youth. As a future graduate student in the International Education Program at the George Washington University, my time at AMIDEAST has given me an important hands on perspective of the U.S. higher education system and its impact on international students. For this reason, I look to forward to continuing to support initiatives such as the Fulbright Program in the future and to advance as an international education professional.
Mara Ohorodnik will attend the M.A. in International Education program at The George Washington University in fall 2016, and plans to pursue a career in educational exchange.


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