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Fulbright Scholarship

The Fulbright scholarship programme is available worldwide for citizens of all countries, the Fulbright scholarship allows US citizens to obtain a scholarship and study in any country of the world and citizens from any country of the world to obtain a scholarship and study in the USA, the principle behind the scholarship is to exchange ideas and foster relations between two countries.

The Fulbright scholarship was created after the second world war by United States senator James Fulbright to foster relationships between partner countries involved in the Fulbright scholarship, initial funding for the scholarship came from debts owed by foreign countries to the United States, where the money used in debt repayment to the US was used to fund the Fulbright scholarship, more recently a great many countries are involved in the Fulbright programme and these countries contribute funding to the scholarships.

Pretty much any area of study or learning can be funded by a Fulbright scholarship, except clinical trials which involve patients, all other forms of clinical trial or indeed medicine or any other subject can be researched or studied with a Fulbright scholarship.

Teach English Abroad

The Fulbright scholarship is most commonly used for students to teach English abroad, this might be students from the USA teaching English in Vietnam or students from Vietnam studying English in the USA, a great many other subjects can also be studied or researched including the arts, a musical group could for instance apply for a Fulbright scholarship to travel to another country and study or research music in that country, the group receiving the funding would be required to make blog posts or record their music or in some other way to be agreed with the Fulbright programme document their learning and research.

The Fulbright scholarship is available across most of the world either directly through the Fulbright programme website or through partner institutions in other countries, it is one of the few worldwide scholarships that are open to students and young persons from around the world, the scheme is a way for international students to travel and experience learning or teaching in the USA and for US students to travel and experience learning or teaching in the rest of the world.

Because the scholarship is designed to foster relationships between partner countries there is more emphasis placed on scholarships for US students to study, research or teach in countries where the relationship needs fostering rather than between countries that already have a strong relationship, so for example a scholarship student in the UK wanting to get a Fulbright scholarship to study in the USA would be less likely to be granted a Fulbright scholarship than a student in Thailand looking to study in the USA because the UK and USA already have strong links and common goals whilst the US relationship with Thailand could be improved as less links between the two countries exist.

US and International Students

If you are a US student looking to get a Fulbright scholarship then look for a country that you will be able to foster links with by being granted a Fulbright scholarship rather than wanting to study, research or teach in a country that already has strong links with the USA like the UK.

That's not to say that you cannot get a Fulbright scholarship to teach, research or study in a country that the USA has strong links with, you can, it's just that there will be much more competition between these countries, so to increase your chances of getting a Fulbright scholarship as a US student look to study in a country that has less formal links with the USA and is not an English speaking country and for scholarship seekers from around the world your chances of getting a Fulbright scholarship will be greatly increased if you are from a country that does not have strong links with the USA.

There are a great many programmes that fall under the umbrella of the Fulbright programme, so whether you're looking to study Engineering or ballet your be able to get a Fulbright scholarship, but remember that Fulbright scholarships are not for providing a full scholarship for the completion of an undergraduate or postgraduate degree but for specific areas of teaching, research or study, the Fulbright programme is more for project based activity, typically lasting a year where the student would visit the participating country and conduct that project, this might be research work or teaching or some other less formal way of teaching as in the above example of a musical group wanting to travel to another part of the world to learn about cultural use of music or the arts.

Merit Based Scholarship

The Fulbright scholarship is a merit based programme so it's based on your current qualifications and your general level of intelligence not on whether you need a financial scholarship to be able to go and study in another country, so for example an engineering student looking to undertake engineering research in another country will be compared against similar students also wanting to undertake similar studies in that country.

Choosing a field of study with less competition will greatly increase your chances of getting a Fulbright scholarship so for example a US teacher looking to teach English overseas will find it easier to get a Fulbright scholarship when applying to teach English in Pakistan than they would to teach English in Western Europe, because I am assuming that there is much more competition, more US students applying to study or teach in Western Europe than there are students looking to teach, study or research in less developed Indian or Asian countries or indeed Eastern Europe.

Approximately 150,000 US students have been given a Fulbright scholarship since the Fulbright programme began and 250,000 foreign students (students not from the USA) have been given a Fulbright scholarship so it's very much in the favour of international students, I would strongly encourage any international students looking to teach, study or research in the USA to apply for a Fulbright scholarship, it is free to apply, of course remember that international students can only use the Fulbright programme to get a scholarship to study in the USA, no other country choices are available for international students, this is because the Fulbright programme was originally setup to foster relations between the USA and other countries, so the USA must always be the students originating country or destination country.

Individual or Group Scholarships

You can apply for a Fulbright scholarship either as an individual or as part of a group, if a group then there must be some reason for the group such as a medical research team or a musical group, Fulbright scholarships are most commonly awarded to individuals simply because more individuals apply than groups.

You apply for a Fulbright scholarship from your home country and can do so directly from the Fulbright programme website, you may be directed to a partner agency if your country does not have a direct link with the Fulbright programme, Fulbright scholarships are considered to be very prestigious, if you are able to get a Fulbright scholarship you will generally be considered to be at the top of your game, a high achiever who has achieved much to date, the number of Fulbright scholars who have gone onto achieve Pulitzer prizes or Nobel prizes is quite staggering with over fifty Nobel prize winning Fulbright scholars and over eighty Pulitzer prize winning Fulbright scholars, what this goes to show is how Fulbright scholars are the best in their fields and are able to go on and achieve great things after their Fulbright scholarship, testament to the success of the Fulbright scholarship at instilling values of friendless and communication between host nations.

You don't have to be at university to get a Fulbright scholarship, industry professionals from the developing world can apply to the Fulbright programme to come and learn the latest techniques and thinking in their industry by spending a year in the USA at a partner institution, for example an African professional in accounting might wish to go and study international accounts in a one year course in the USA or a Chinese engineering professional might wish to go to the USA to study the latest engineering practices at a partner institution.

Fostering Relations Between Two Countries

There are so many different programmes within the Fulbright scholarship programme that no matter what your area of expertise or subject that you wish to pursue you will be able to pursue this subject through the Fulbright scholarship, the difference between the Fulbright scholarship and a great many other scholarships available is that it is open to all people from around the world and that those international students and professionals must attend an academic institution in the USA, the Fulbright scholarship is not designed to provide a scholarship for you to undertake a postgraduate or undergraduate degree programme in the USA but to develop relations between the two countries and to provide the scholar with the necessary life skills to gain that understanding of another country and continue to use that understanding throughout their careers.

Because the Fulbright scholarship is designed to foster relations between two countries, scholarship applications that can show how relations between the two countries will be improved are most likely to be successful in getting a scholarship, for example an Indian engineering student studying for a postgraduate degree in an engineering discipline may wish to apply for a Fulbright scholarship to learn the best practices of for example sewage treatment and engineering in the USA, the scholar would establish links between his own educational institution in India and the educational institution in the USA, hopefully opening up communication for teachers from the USA to visit India and Indian students to visit the USA, both learning about different advances in water treatment works as part of an engineering area of study.

Another example might be US art students wanting to research Russian religious art and attend a Russian educational establishment to further their work, the course of study might last anything from two months to a year and would again be used to further the relationship and understanding between the two institutions and therefore the two countries.

Undergraduate and Postgraduate Study

The Fulbright programme is at its best when helping two countries that previously had a lack of understanding or mistrust form better relations with each other, after all the Fulbright programme was initially developed to foster understanding of another country to prevent war, the formation of the Fulbright programme after the second world war is testament to this purpose, indeed war debt paid back by other countries to the USA was used to establish the Fulbright programme.

Whilst the great majority of Fulbright scholarships are not for undergraduate or postgraduate study, that's not to say that UG and PG study are not available on a Fulbright scholarship, they are, but many of the undergraduate and postgraduate scholarship opportunities will be with specific US institutions for specific subjects, the Fulbright programme is unique in that it provides funds for the study of any subject and any discipline, but for undergraduate and postgraduate study you will find that only specific universities and colleges as well as courses are included for undergraduate and postgraduate study, it is still possible to get an undergraduate or postgraduate degree funded by a Fulbright scholarship, but you will have to choose from the list of partner US institutions and courses.

Undergraduate and postgraduate study opportunities on the Fulbright programme include prestigious US academic institutions like Harvard and Perdue as well as partner institutions like Lloyds of London or the Royal College of Surgeons.

Apply Directly Through the Fulbright Website

You can apply for a Fulbright scholarship directly through the Fulbright programme website, the application is made electronically through the website with no need to submit paper copies at the early stages until your application has been processed and you have been notified that there is a good chance that your application might be taken forward and therefore in your interest to prepare the other materials requested to complete the application.

Jim Milan over at the Collections Etc. Blog was kind enough to quote our Fulbright scholarship details on his Money Saving Tips blog post.

With the Fulbright scholarship being available for all international students who wish to study abroad and for all disciplines either as a professional or a student at the undergraduate and postgraduate level of study this is one of the best opportunities an international student has to get a scholarship.