Since 1946, the Fulbright Program has been an international educational ambassadorship between the United States and 154 other nations. The goal behind the Fulbright program is to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.
The Fulbright Program was created from legislation written by former late Arkansas Sen. J. William Fulbright. He believed that international relations are improved by the sharing and teaching of cultural knowledge.
According to Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs/Fulbright website, Fulbright said “Educational exchange can turn nations into people, contributing as no other form of communication can to the humanizing of international relations.”
The Fulbright Program offers scholarships, grants, and teacher exchange programs. The Program offers grant assistance for study abroad programs. There are 400 Fulbright teachers visiting the United States in the 2012/2013 school year as instructors in various educational pursuits.
Missouri Western is host to two Fulbright assistant professors currently. Both are here to improve their English teaching skills. Foreign Language (German) assistant professor Dominic Heres, and Foreign Language (Spanish) assistant professor Victoria Perez, are visiting assistant teachers at Missouri Western for the school year of August 2012 to May 2013.
The Fulbright Program is sponsored by the United States Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. In the first 60 years of the program’s inception, there have been approximately 318,000 participants in the Fulbright program, 120,000 from the United States and 198,000 participants from other participating countries.
The Fulbright Program offers 8,000 new grants and scholarships to high school students, college students, graduate studies students, teachers, scholars, and research professionals each year. The Fulbright has a multitude of programs from the arts, to English enhancement to foreign languages and to the health’s’ and sciences.
The Fulbright Program operates on a one year term, future teachers from other countries visit different areas of the United States and work as assistant teachers, much like future American teachers student teach during their last year in college. American participants travel abroad to 154 other participating countries, and stay one full term.
Teachers in other countries such as Germany are considered professionals, comparative to doctors, lawyers, Priests, or, Public and Government Officials. Many European countries require a more elite education to become a teacher.
In the United States, Heres is a participant in the Fulbright program, and works at Missouri Western as a Foreign Languages Assistant, instructing in the German language. However, in Germany, Heres is a student finishing his professional studies to become an educator of English and History.
Part of Heres’ program in education dictates that he instruct for two years as a student teacher. He is honoring part of his two-year commitment while being in the United States. Heres will take his final teacher exams in the Fall of 2013.
In addition to teaching as student teachers this semester, Heres and Perez must also attend a National Convention for the Fulbright Program in Washington D.C., during the month of December.
“I will get to see Washington D.C. a bit when I visit in December for the Fulbright Convention, over 150 nations will be represented there,” Heres said.
Once the 2012-2013 school-year is over Heres and Perez will spend thirty days traveling and touring the United States with the other Fulbright exchanges before returning to their respective countries.
“I would love to go see the West Coast while I am here, but it is too expensive. I will get to visit New York, Chicago and Las Vegas while I am here,” Heres said.
*Statistics and Facts Taken from the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs/Fulbright http://eca.state.gov/fulbright