Have you ever thought about taking your studies overseas? Or getting your master’s degree in a different country? If you have ever thought about these, applying to the Fulbright Program might be for you!

In 1945, Senator J. William Fulbright introduced a bill to the U.S. Congress that would fund the “promotion of international goodwill through the exchange of students in the fields of education, culture, and science.” The next year, President Harry S. Truman signed the bill into law, thus creating the Fulbright Program. The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is the largest U.S. exchange program which offers research, study, and teaching opportunities in over 140 countries to recent graduate and graduate students.

The Fulbright grant has two different types—Study/Research Grant and the English Teaching Assistantship (ETA). Those who choose the Study/Research Grant design their own research project and typically work with advisors at foreign universities or higher education institutions. Fulbright can fund one year of graduate study. 

Nathan Reynoso, a double major in theater technology and creative writing, applied for the Fulbright Research/Study Grant at Queen Mary University in the United Kingdom. Ever since coming to Chapman, Reynoso wanted to attend graduate school but had concerns about funding his education. The Fulbright scholarship was the perfect fit for his future plans.

During his sophomore year, Reynoso studied abroad at the University of Roehampton in London which has inspired his decision to apply to the Fulbright at Queen Mary University.

“The fact that the literary culture is so rich there, dating back to Shakespeare…I just loved it. It was just like my Disneyland in a way. At least that’s how I see it is with theatre and English literature together—I couldn’t find that anywhere else.” 

Reynoso’s plan to apply to the Fulbright has been in the works for two years. After coming back from his study abroad trip, he told his theater advisor how he had a great time, and how he wished he could go back. His theater advisor then told him about Fulbright and since then, he has connected with Julye Bidmead, director of the Center for Undergraduate Excellence (CUE) to plan out his application. 

Dr. Bidmead advises interested students to “meet with [her] even as early as your first year so you can make yourself a competitive applicant while you are at Chapman…the Fulbright is very competitive. Approximately 20% of the applicants are  awarded Fulbrights. But it varies greatly by year, type, and country.” 

In order to apply to the Fulbright Research/Study Grant, applicants must provide three letters of recommendation, two personal essays, relevant professional/foreign experience, and other basic personal information. The essays are perhaps one of the more vital parts of the application, which help frame personal reasons for studying abroad and more. 

“I went through six drafts of my essays and you have to write two papers— one personal and the statement grant. The personal statement was the hardest but it did help me realize why I’m applying to this and what my values are.”

If awarded the Fulbright scholarship, Reynoso plans to pursue a Master of Arts (MA) in English Literature and continue his research. This will hopefully pave the path for his future career, which is to work in American theaters to increase accessibility to communities. 

If you’re interested in learning more about the Research/Study Grant, please visit the official Fulbright website here. Contact Dr. Bidmead at cue@chapman.edu for more assistance on applying. 

Interested in other scholarship and grant opportunities?

Check out our Scholarships/Fellowships page on the CUE website.

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