Fulbright Scholarship Essays

Fulbright Scholarship Essay Example - English Teaching Assistantship Proposal

Statement of Grant Purpose

Fulbright Scholarship Study Abroad Essay Statement of Grant Purpose Essay

As an English major and Cognitive Science minor, I have focused my course of study on language, the process of language acquisition, the linguistics of the English language, and the literature of the United States and Britain. In addition, through my university’s Take 5 Scholars Program and with the guidance of our Skalny Center for Polish and Central European Studies, I have explored an interdisciplinary study of Central and Eastern Europe, focusing on the region’s history, cultures, politics, and languages. This course of study sparked my interest in Poland. This interest was further fueled by my internship with the U.S. Department of State, where I worked alongside ForeignService Officers who had served in Warsaw and directly observed Poland’s transition to democracy.With my strong background in English literature and Polish studies, I am seeking a Fulbright EnglishTeaching Assistantship to Poland. In addition to my native knowledge of English grammar, I am eager to share my passion for American literature and utilize the works of different authors andpoets—from Nathaniel Hawthorne to Maya Angelou—to open discussion about American history and culture. I will be further aided in this venture by my previous teaching experiences and my strong communicative skills.

In addition to my coursework, my extensive practical experience teaching English prepares me well for the role of an English Teaching Assistant. While studying abroad in Vienna, I interned at an Austrian high school, teaching English grammar and American culture to Austrian adolescents and sharing my country’s literature, songs, foods, holidays, and political system. In the United States, I have volunteered for the past four years as a tutor and classroom assistant at various elementary schools, focusing on working with non-native English speakers—some of whom have known noEnglish at all—to improve their English grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, and reading skills.Furthermore, I am a Writing Fellow at the University of Rochester and a tutor for my peers. I enjoy working with university students, both native and non-native English speakers, and through my tutoring sessions, I utilize a process of questions, discussion, and instruction to help improve their overall writing skills.

As a supplement to my teaching experience, I will engage with the local Polish community by hosting an English-language book club. This book club will aim to involve local residents who might not be university students but who may be interested in improving their English. Furthermore, as research project to more fully utilize the resources around me, I plan to explore the role of local democratic leaders in Poland’s transition to a modern European democracy. Twenty years ago, Poland held the Eastern Bloc’s first truly democratic elections, and the success of Solidarity paved the way for peaceful revolutions in the other European communist countries. Leaders such as LechWalesa and Václav Havel rose to the presidency in their respective countries; however, I am interested in what became of the less well-known regional leaders of Solidarity after the 1989elections. For example, after improving my language skills in a provincial capital such as Poznan orLublin, I would utilize resources such as interviews with local residents, archives, and old newspapers to trace the path of the Solidarity leaders of that specific region and the role that they played in Poland’s democratic transition and trajectory of successful political and economicDevelopment.

On my return to the U.S., I will continue to employ the skills I honed while teaching, my improved knowledge of the Polish language and culture, and the discoveries of my supplemental study. I plan to pursue a career in international relations, focused on the region of Central andEastern Europe with a particular interest in the area of education. My experience teaching English inPoland will be a cornerstone for developing this career.

Original Source: University of Rochester



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The Fulbright Scholarship provides funds sufficient to complete a proposed research or study abroad project for one year. Applicants submit written documents detailing their research or study plans, which may include a year of graduate study, original dissertation research, a creative or performing arts project, or a teaching assistantship. Because the study is undertaken abroad, applicants must have sufficient maturity, character, and literacy to work within the host country.

The Fulbright Scholarship Selection Criteria

Criteria that selectors use to award Fulbright Scholarships include:

  • likelihood of the candidate and project to help advance the program and promote mutual understanding among nations;
  • sufficient written and spoken literacy in the host country’s language;
  • feasibility and specificity of the proposed plan.

A final criterion is the ratio between the number of awards offered in the target country and the number of applications received—i.e., students applying to countries that receive fewer applications have a greater statistical chance of acceptance. Applicants can assess competition statistics and other details for a particular country by consulting the Fulbright website linked at the bottom of this page.

Composing a Personal Statement and Statement of Grant Purpose

The primary written portions of the Fulbright application are a one-page personal statement and two-page statement of grant purpose. As usual, the personal statement is your opportunity to discuss personal motivations, your experience and activities, and future goals. Though your examples should still be concrete, you have the room to reveal your personality—indeed many applicants view this as their chance to let the selectors know them as individually as possible, and they use lightly entertaining anecdotes to set themselves apart from other candidates. In plain terms, the goal is to write an essay that no other person could have written

In writing the statement of grant purpose, begin by making sure not to repeat material from other parts of the application unnecessarily, and present detail tailored as much as possible to the host country. If you can show that you have performed research on (or, better yet, in) the host country already and have made contacts with potential supervisors, you increase your odds of success dramatically.

The Fulbright website cautions writers against the use of discipline-specific jargon, and a good rule of thumb is to define any jargon that you do use in context, keeping the focus of your statement of grant purpose on addressing problems that will provide valuable contributions to society and within your field. Also, practicality and feasibility are principal concerns, so the best applicants provide a timeline, discuss their methodology and goals, and analyze such variables as the host country’s cultural and political climate and resources. Finally, of course, you must demonstrate as necessary your linguistic ability as it applies to the country and your proposed plan, especially if your primary goal is a teaching assistantship.

Evaluation of Written Materials from Two Sample Fulbright Applications

The first sample essays provided in the pdf link below do an excellent job of making the case for the writer’s personal and intellectual readiness for the proposed project. The personal statement focuses on the student’s experiences as inspired by his service-oriented grandparents—members of the Mennonite Church. These role models inspired the student to travel to Peru and contact the Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA). As we learn in the student’s statement of grant purpose, he wishes to work on a grassroots project in Peru related to rice farming, and he shows that he has earned the support of the MEDA Consulting Group, underscoring the feasibility of his plan.

The two essays in the second set of samples are also neatly intertwined, and the writer opens the personal statement with a delightful anecdote about her family puzzling over why a woman would be interested in geological research. The student uses the essay to detail her science background and educational travel, including a month in Thailand, where she plans to do her proposed seismic research. To underscore the urgency of such research, she opens her statement of grant purpose with a poignant narrative and statistics about the devastating effects of a 1999 earthquake in Central Taiwan. Some readers might have valid concerns over whether the statement of grant purpose is too technical at times, and whether its sources should be cited internally, yet these essays remain impressive overall. Indeed, the writer was named as a scholarship alternate.

Click here to download a pdf of two sets of Fulbright Scholarship application essays by former students.

Self-Study

The Fulbright Scholarship program website is extensive, including everything from statistics on the previous year’s competition to advice about how to prepare your personal essay.

Visit the Fulbright Scholarship website.

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