Did you ever have a family friend or casual acquaintance who ever talked about being a Fulbright Scholar? I have vague recollections of hearing about this program in passing over the years. I even knew a couple of people who had participated but I really didn’t know much more about it. It just sounded like some cool international extension of a college degree program. I hadn’t thought about the program in awhile.

Then I started thinking more about how I will ever get enough legitimate, international work experience without having any experience working internationally – you know that fun work before experience – experience before work cycle I’m sure. I started looking into some options, using ridiculous strings of search phrases in Google to get started and came across a couple of items including the website for the Fulbright Scholar Program.

The program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and you go through a fairly rigorous and competitive application process. If selected, you get to go and do some kind of work in an area that the country is needing in some sort of partnership with a local university for roughly ten months and get paid a stipend and your spouse can come along to most of the places.

(I realize anyone from the program might cringe at this simplistic view, but that is what I walked away remembering.) I started searching through the country catalog to see what countries didn’t have a bizarre language requirement, would let Brian come along and had an area of work that I could/would want to do. I had a list of about 40 places when I was done.

I had the chance to meet some Fulbright staff at their booth at SXSW and ask some more questions, which was very helpful. I think there is more information on the website than I could possible get through alone so I signed up for a free webinar that will take place tomorrow. I am looking forward to it. Things that might be interesting to you:

  • you don’t have to be a student to go 
  • there are lots of countries and disciplines represented 
  • it’s a wonderful way to have paid work experience if you are looking to work or just explore things internationally

I am not planning to apply to go until after school is over in two years, but if you know me at all, you know I like to plan ahead. If you are out there reading and you’ve done this program before, I would love to hear from you. Thanks for checking in!

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