May 05, 2022
On May 3, Ethan Rosenzweig, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Academic Programs at the U.S. Department of State, visited the Fulbright Office in Berlin for a meeting with a group of German and U.S. Fulbright grantees and alumni. The participants of various Fulbright Germany grant programs related their different experiences in their U.S. or German host communities. However, what unites their stories is the continued enthusiasm for the way the Fulbright program has touched and changed their lives in unexpected ways.
All agreed on the important academic or professional benefits gained from the Fulbright Program. But there was also consensus that personal, non-academic experiences determine the long-term impact of Fulbright exchanges. Life lessons, such as overcoming the fear of the unfamiliar, developing an understanding of different values and mindsets, and mustering the courage to step out of one’s “comfort zone,” enable participants to engage with a new culture and build new friendships. The Fulbrighters acknowledged that such challenges allowed them to grow and broaden their academic and cultural perspectives. They emphasized that the Fulbright Program must be made even more accessible to non-traditional student groups, so that their unique potential can further contribute to transatlantic exchanges and enrich the Fulbright community.
Deputy Assistant Secretary Rosenzweig appreciated the lively discussion and thanked the Fulbrighters for their insights. The Fulbrighters themselves expressed their gratitude for the opportunity to share their positive impressions of the Fulbright exchange and their wish that the program continues well beyond the 70th anniversary of its existence.