Fulbright U.S. Student Program Overview

Fulbright Top Producer Bade 2018-2019 History and Purpose: In 1945, Senator J. William Fulbright introduced a bill in the U.S. Congress that called for the use of surplus war property to fund the "promotion of international good will through the exchange of students in the fields of education, culture, and science."  President Harry S. Truman signed the bill into law, and Congress created the Fulbright Program. From its inception, the Fulbright Program has fostered bilateral relationships in which citizens and governments of other countries work with the U.S. to set joint priorities and shape the program to meet shared needs. The world has been transformed in ensuing decades, but the mission of the Fulbright program remains the same - to increase mutual understanding between people of the U.S. and other countries through exchange. The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, under the auspices of the Fulbright Scholarship Board, administers the Fulbright Programs. Applications are processed and awards administered by the Institute of International Education (IIE). Learn how it works.

Award description: The Fulbright U.S. Student Program offers one year of independent research, study, or assistant-teaching English in about 140 countries outside the U.S. In addition to their grant work, “Fulbrighters” engage with their local communities to learn from those cultures and promote mutual understanding between the U.S. and the host country. Fulbright offers two main types of grants:

Research or Study grant to do independent research or pursue a course of graduate study (one-year master’s degree) in a participating Fulbright country; some countries offer the option of combining research and course enrollment, and some include internships. Study grants are available in numerous countries, with partnership grants offered for over 40 universities in the UK. Applicants interested in UK universities should consult the list of UK universities ranked by subject, to discover a range of universities that have excellent programs in their fields. Under the research grant, applicants may also pursue practice and study in creative and performing arts.

An English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) to assist in teaching English and U.S. culture to non-native speakers in a classroom (elementary or secondary schools or universities) or community setting (American Corners and other educational-focused community centers) in a participating Fulbright country.

Applicants may apply for either a research/study/arts grant or an English Teaching Assistantship (ETA), but not both in the same year. Candidates with some professional experience or graduate education may also be interested in one of the Business grants, Journalism and Communication grants, or Science & Public Health Grants.

For an excellent overview of the Fulbright Program and the grant types, watch these brief tutorials. Then, follow Fulbright’s step-by-step guide to choosing a grant type and destination country.

Funding details: All grantees receive round-trip transportation to host country, room, board, living expenses based on the cost of living in the host country, and health benefits; some grantees may receive a research allowance, and funding for enrichment activities, tuition, language study, pre-departure orientations, and training in ESOL teaching.

Eligibility: U.S. citizens; seniors who will hold a degree by the time the grant starts, and recent graduates (usually within about five years); specific qualifications including fields of study, language proficiency, or teaching experience depend on grant type and destination country; candidates applying for a study grant must apply to universities for acceptance separately, but need not be accepted by the university at the time of Fulbright application; grantees will be required to submit a satisfactory Certificate of Health from a physician.

How to Apply

Enrolled students (seniors) must apply through the Amherst campus process. Alumni may apply at large, but are also invited and encouraged to apply with Office of Fellowships support. Candidates will receive application and essay feedback and guidance from the Office of Fellowships beginning during the spring semester and continuing throughout the summer. They will follow campus timelines for submitting materials in early fall, and have a brief interview with the campus Committee on Student Fellowships or Office of Fellowships staff during the first weeks of the semester, with time to polish materials afterward. The Office of Fellowships will submit your application to Fulbright through their online portal with an accompanying evaluation form highlighting your merits. Endorsements: Amherst may endorse an unlimited number of Fulbright candidates. Amherst's initial deadline is August 31, 2019 at noon.

Application: Application components, including information about recommendation letters and language evaluations are described in detail on the Fulbright Research/Study Application and the Fulbright ETA Application pages.

For Recommenders

Recommendation content and format for the Fulbright application differs depending upon the grant to which the student is applying (ETA or Research/Study grant). Recommenders will receive a link from the Fulbright Online Application portal in response to an email the candidate will generate in their application. The Director of Fellowships will be able to retrieve the letter from the portal. Letters are requested by the AC internal deadline of August 31st so that the Committee on Student Fellowships may review it before the applicant is interviewed. Please see details below on the letter/form content and requirements for the different Fulbright grants.

  • For Research/Study Grants - please discuss the candidate’s ability to carry out the research or graduate study they have proposed taking into consideration research experience, understanding of the field, linguistic preparation, feasibility of project, their potential to adapt to a different cultural environment and represent the U.S. well abroad. If you can address the relevance/importance of the candidate's research within the field, please do so. Fulbright offers further instructions for reference writers here. The Office of Fellowships provides recommendation letter writing suggestions here, and is happy to offer feedback on letters upon request. Format and Submission: Letters (no word limit) should be: typed on institutional letterhead (or, if the writer has no access to letterhead, include the writer's name and mailing address; signed; no longer than two single-spaced pages; and have at the top of page 1 the name of the applicant and country to which they are applying.

  • For English Teaching Assistantships - Note that a traditional letter is not accepted for the ETA. Instead, Fulbright asks writers to respond to five questions that will help them assess the candidate's ability to teach or assistant-teach English in a different cultural and educational setting. Before agreeing to recommend a candidate, writers should review these ETA recommendation instructions to make sure they feel they can fully and enthusiastically complete the recommendation form. Format and Submission: Recommenders complete the form online. Traditional letters are not accepted.

Foundation websiteFulbright U.S. Student Program

Questions? Please contact:
Christine Overstreet, Director of Fellowships
212 Converse Hall, 413-542-2536, coverstreet@amherst.edu
Carter McClintock, Fellowships Specialist
213 Converse Hall, 413-542-5079, cmcclintock@amherst.edu                                 
Mailing address: Office of Fellowships, Amherst College, Amherst, MA 01002; Fax: 413-542-8555

Amherst College Fulbright Winners

Amherst College is a Top Producer of Fulbright Student grantees! See the most recent listing of Fulbright grantees in the Chronicle of Higher Education. Congratulations to all of our students and alums who have been offered grants over the past several years.

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