Fulbright program: beyond the mission

Fulbright program: beyond the mission

Oct 11
Leslie Sweet Myrick, Office of International Programs Media Communications Specialist

I recently witnessed everything the Fulbright program was designed to be – and more – as ACES said goodbye to eight scholars from Lebanon who spent ten weeks with us.

This is the boilerplate I was provided for the official article I wrote:

“The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.”

But what I witnessed at our closing ceremony was more than “mutual understanding” – I witnessed that true friendships and lifelong relationships were formed. I saw hugs and tears and genuine connections.

Although I didn’t spend nearly the time with the scholars as others in my office and their mentors did, I did get the opportunity to provide conversation practice to one scholar. Of course as these things go, I ended up getting as much or more out of these meetings as she did as I learned about her and her country and culture.

The scholars left with great experiences and memories and said they are now “ambassadors for Illinois.” But I can’t help but think we at Illinois benefited just as much as they did.

Read more here.