A few weeks ago, I shared with you that I had decided to apply for a Fulbright scholarship. I have always loved travel and been fascinated by foreign countries and cultures. Lately, I’ve felt a strong urge to get out of the US and explore more of the world. I started talking to colleagues about opportunities to teach over the summer at colleges around the world and decided it was something I wanted to try to do next summer. As I explored summer teaching opportunities, I came across an article about Fulbright scholarships. I guess I never thought something like that would apply to my field or that I would have a chance to get such an award. The more I thought and researched, however, I decided it was exactly what I wanted to do.
When you apply for a Fulbright scholarship as a professor, you choose awards and options specific to certain fields of study and countries. There are teaching awards, teaching and research awards, and research awards. Each country offers different types of awards and may specify a certain field of study (such as social science or history). At first, I thought I wanted to try to go to England or Ireland. I’ve never been to either country, I would not need to learn a new language, and the transition would be fairly simple. I also looked into Japan and Korea because I am fascinated by both of those countries and wanted to learn more about them.
I had not decided on a particular country or award that I wanted to pursue, but all of that changed when I went to an annual academic conference and started talking about my interest in the Fulbright scholarship program. One of my colleagues actually had some contacts in Korea who were looking to have an American come as a visiting scholar. That is when everything started falling into place. I contacted several colleagues in my field of study in Korea, who were so nice and supportive of my desire to visit. I quickly found a university to host me and discovered that some former classmates from my doctoral program were also in Seoul.
All of my application material is due on August 1, so I am working to gather all of the letters and supporting information to go with the application. Getting a Fulbright scholarship is highly competitive, but I am applying for an award to spend 10-11 months in Korea teaching and doing research on housing policy and markets in Korea. I want to make my application as appealing as possible to everyone involved in making the award decisions, so I am also taking classes online to learn more about the Korean economic development as well as conversational Korean. I am really enjoying learning the history of the country and the language. Please keep your fingers crossed as I begin this process, and I will be sure to post updates about the process in the coming weeks.