Fulbright U.S. Student Program Overview

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History and Purpose: In 1945, Senator J. William Fulbright introduced a bill in Congress to fund the "promotion of international good will through the exchange of students in the fields of education, culture, and science."  President Truman signed the bill into law launching the program, which fosters bilateral relationships between citizens of the U.S. and other countries. The program is under the Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and is run by the Institute of International Education (IIE). Learn how it works.

Award description: The program offers one year of independent research, study, or assistant-teaching English in about 140 countries outside the U.S. Beyond their grant work, “Fulbrighters” get involved in their local communities. To learn about the program overall and specific types of grants, watch these brief tutorials. Here's a bit about grant types: 

Natalie Sun holding moorhen A research or study grant will fund independent research or a graduate degree (one-year) abroad. In some countries, you can combine research and coursework -- even an internship. Study grants are offered in 75+ countries, with specific university partnership grants offered at over 40 universities in the UK and many elsewhere. Interested in the UK? See this list of UK universities ranked by subject to find those that are tops in your field. Research grants include creative and performing arts.

Marco Trevino

An English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) will support you teaching English and U.S. culture to non-native speakers in a classroom (elementary, secondary schools, or universities) or community setting (American Corners and other educational-focused community centers). Many placements do not require extensive teaching experience or training and all grantees are offered an online ESL training course. Consult this chart or this filterable search tool to find a good fit for you. 

Beyond these grants, applicants 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 or the National Geographic Storytelling Award

Funding: 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, and orientations. Eligibility: U.S. citizens; seniors who will hold a degree by the time the grant starts, and recent graduates (within about six years); language and field of study qualifications or teaching experience depend on country; study grant applicants apply to universities separately but may apply to Fulbright before admittance; grantees must submit a satisfactory Certificate of Health.

How to Apply

Seniors apply through Amherst and receive advice on choosing a grant, essay feedback, interview coaching (as applicable) and a campus evaluation/endorsement. Alumni may apply at large, but are encouraged also to apply through Amherst. All those applying through Amherst must follow campus timelines, including meeting the initial internal deadline of September 8, 2021. Latecomers to the process are invited to contact the director of fellowships for a quick consulation about their process.  All applicants use the Fulbright /IIE Online ApplicationEndorsements: All applicants from AC go forward to the national competition.

Application: Applications for the Fulbright differ depending on the type of grant. Application components are described in detail on the Fulbright Research/Study Application and the Fulbright ETA Application pages.

For Recommenders

Recommendation content and format differs depending upon the Fulbright 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 generated by the applicant. The AC director of fellowships can access your letter from the portal. Recommendations are due by the AC internal deadline of SEPT 8, 2021 so that the campus committees may review them before the applicant is interviewed. The form and content for each grant is below:

  • Research/study grants - In a letter format, discuss the candidate’s ability to carry out the proposed research or graduate study taking into consideration their research experience, understanding of the field, linguistic preparation, and feasibility of the project, as well as their potential to adapt to a different culture and represent the U.S. abroad. If you can, also address the relevance of the candidate's research. Fulbright offers further instructions for reference writers here. The Office of Fellowships provides recommendation letter writing suggestions here, and will provide feedback as requested.
    Format and submission: Letters should be typed on institutional letterhead (electronic is fine; if the writer has no access to letterhead they should type their name and mailing address on the first page. There is no word limit, but two pages is sufficient.
  • English Teaching Assistantships - a traditional letter is not accepted. Instead, Fulbright poses five questions in an online form aimed to assess the applicant's ability to assistant/teach English in a different cultural setting. Fulbright offers these ETA recommendation instructions. Forms completed in detail will help the applicant's chances substantially. See sample ETA recommendation form
    Format and submission: Recommenders complete the form online. 

Questions? Please contact:
Christine Overstreet, Director of Fellowships
212 Converse Hall, 413-542-2536, coverstreet@amherst.edu                                 

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!