By Eric Sanchez |Staff Writer|
Harriet Fulbright, wife of the late Sen. J. William Fulbright (D-Ark.) discussed the origins of the Fulbright Program and the importance of studying abroad at the SMSU Event Center on April 27.
The Fulbright Program is a government-funded, international educational exchange that awards approximately 8,000 grants to students and faculty researchers annually to study abroad, according to its website.
Her lecture began with a video about her husband’s life and why he looked for ways to bring people together on an international level. The video also documented how he laid the legislative framework for the United Nations.
Fulbright urged students to study in another country to broaden their views of the world.
“Students need to understand that there are different, equally valid ways of thinking,” said Fullbright in an interview after the lecture.
Here at CSUSB students can study in over 17 different countries and are encouraged to take their opportunities.
CSUSB’s Study Abroad Coordinator Elva Salgado points out that the number of CSUSB students studying abroad is increasing however there still seem to be barriers for many.
“Number one is money, number two is they’re scared,” said Fullbright.
Salgado works closely with the financial aid office to ensure that those that qualify have a package of aid and loans to help them with the costs involved.
Students consider their lives at home in the decision to go, though the idea of exploring and learning about the world is exciting to them.
“Being away from my family and friends, being homesick,” said Geselle Martinez, a student considering studying in Spain. “When I get back will things be the same…those are the things running through my head.”
The CSUSB Spain Summer Program will run from June 21 to July 30 at the University of Valladolid and offers both lower division Spanish language courses as well as upper division courses, its pamphlet states.
Application deadlines for Fulbright grants vary by country and program, but potential applicants are encouraged to apply the year before they plan to study.
“It takes time. It takes energy. But it is worth every, every ounce,” said Rosalie Giacchino-Baker, CSUSB Fulbright Coordinator.
CSUSB Biology Professor Kimberlyn Williams attended the event and recognized the benefits of cross-national research from her own experience.
“Being able to collaborate with scientists in another country who are interested in the same problems you are interested in lets you learn new ways of doing things and makes you take a broader, harder look at the work you are doing,” said Williams..
Williams worked on the restoration of native vegetation in Perth, Australia with Professors Across Borders, a program similar to what the Fulbright Program offers researchers.
Perth and Southern California share a Mediterranean-type climate so her research here works off her work there and she still collaborates with the Australian research team, she said.
Fulbright also held a second lecture on campus April 28 entitled “Working Together for a More Peaceful World: The Role of the Fulbright Program.”
The program was founded in 1946 under legislation introduced by Sen. Fulbright and is sponsored by the Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.