Fulbright Scholar Award

South and Central Asia Regional Research Program

Application Deadline
Thursday, September 15, 2022
Award Code
13476-MC
Activity Type
Research
Research includes activities involving scientific research, qualitative research, quantitative research, and practice-based research, including artistic research. Research can take place in locations such as the laboratory, the field, the archives, or an artist residency. It can be experimental, clinical, or applied. It can include examining policies, systems, theories, methods, interactions, and works of art and music, with the objective to evaluate or develop new knowledge or works. Quantifiable (tangible) outcomes can include publications (books, journal articles, scripts, etc.), conference presentations, artistic and musical compositions, exhibitions, performances, films, and patents.
Degree Requirements
Ph.D. (or other terminal degree) not required
Career Profile
Early Career Academics
Awards are open to those who have been working in the capacity of a teacher or scholar for no more than seven years.
Mid-Career Academics
Awards are open to those who have been working in the capacity of a teacher or scholar for more than seven, and less than 13, years.
Senior Academics
Awards are open to those who have been working in the capacity of a teacher or scholar for more than 13 years.

Number of recipients

Approximately
2
Award Start Period
September 2023
-
May 2024
Award Length
4 months
-
9 months
Flex Option
No
Country
Multi-country
Bangladesh
Bhutan
India
Kazakhstan
Kyrgyz Republic
Maldives
Nepal
Pakistan
Sri Lanka
Tajikistan
Uzbekistan
Multi-Country/Area Award
Yes
Disciplines
Projects are sought in all disciplines
Scholars selected for this award will be required to
Conduct a research project of the applicant’s choosing

In addition to being a prestigious academic exchange program, the Fulbright Program is designed to expand and strengthen relationships between the people of the United States and citizens of other nations and to promote international understanding and cooperation. To support this mission, Fulbright Scholars may be asked to give public talks, mentor students, and otherwise engage with the host community, in addition to their primary activities‎.

Award Activity

The South and Central Asia Regional Research Program provides support for multicountry research. Research projects may be of historical or contemporary focus, comparative or regional in scope and may be conducted in two or three countries in the region: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. 

Projects involving collaboration with host country colleagues and institutions are particularly encouraged. Applicants may incorporate other activities as time permits, such as conducting guest lectures and faculty and curriculum development. 

In Uzbekistan, scholars are required to offer lectures at a host institution in addition to their research project. Contact the Public Affairs Section at the U.S. Embassy for more information. 

Locations
Applicant may propose an appropriate host
Locations Detail

Any appropriate institution in each of the selected countries.

Award Length and Period

Grants may begin any time after July 2023. Grants must be completed by September 30, 2024. Award activity must be undertaken in a single period of residence abroad. Applicants should indicate how long they plan to spend in each country – the minimum time spent in each country is two months and the maximum time spent in each country is four months.

Special Features

South and Central Asia Fulbright Regional Travel Grant

During their grant period, Fulbright Scholars in the South and Central Asia (SCA) region may apply for a regional travel grant to engage in a variety of activities at academic institutions or nonprofit organizations in eligible SCA countries (Bangladesh,India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Nepal, Republic of the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan).  Activities that U.S Scholars may engage in include: faculty and student lectures, graduate or faculty seminars, conferences, curriculum development, public lectures, panel presentations, needs assessment, or some combination thereof. Scholars in the arts may be invited to give master classes or recitals, participate in exhibitions or workshops, or consult with cultural institutions. This grant will cover travel to and from the destination and lodging may be offered by the hosting institution. Scholars may only apply for this grant once in country on their Fulbright grant. As funds are limited, scholars are limited to one such travel grant.

Before traveling to another country on a Regional Travel Grant, it is important to confirm trip details with the U.S. Embassy Public Affairs Section or Fulbright Commission in that country.

Please note: The 2023-24 Fulbright Regional Travel Program will be dependent on global travel conditions. More information will be provided prior to grant departure. 

South and Central Asia Fulbright Midyear Conference

With funding provided by the United States Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the U.S.-India Educational Foundation (the Fulbright Commission in India) invites eligible Fulbright Scholars in the South and Central Asia region to attend the annual South and Central Asia Fulbright Midyear Conference in India in 2023 (usually held in February or March). The conference is an opportunity for current Fulbright U.S. Scholars who are on their Fulbright grants in the SCA region at the time of the conference to gather to discuss each other’s work and educational exchange issues and to invite suggestions for the future development and enhancement of the Fulbright Program. Financial assistance to attend the conference is provided as an additional Fulbright grant benefit.

Please note: The 2023-24 South and Central Asia Fulbright Midyear Conference will be dependent on global travel conditions. More information will be provided prior to grant departure.  

Citizenship/Residency Requirement
Not applicable – all U.S. citizens are eligible to apply, regardless of dual citizenship or residency.
Invitation Requirement
A letter of invitation is preferred.
Invitation Requirement Additional Information

Requirements vary by country. Carefully review instructions for each country. 

Bangladesh: A letter of invitation is preferred. Scholars are responsible for arranging their own affiliations and letters of invitations should be included in the application. However, prospective applicants are encouraged to contact the Cultural Affairs Officer, (Sharlina Hussain-Morgan) at (HussainS@State.Gov) for any assistance.

• Bhutan: Invitation letters are preferred. An invitation letter may help facilitate placement at that institution but is not a guarantee of final placement. The Government of Bhutan will decide and approve all final affiliations in consultation with the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, with preference given for projects outside the capital city of Thimphu. 

• India: Invitation letters are preferred. Scholars are encouraged to make contact with a potential host institution but an invitation letter is not required. Affiliations with think tanks, non-governmental organizations, and research centers in the respective areas of specialization will be considered.  The United States-India Educational Foundation (USIEF) will finalize all affiliations but applicants may indicate a preference. 

• Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, and Tajikistan: Invitation letters are preferred. Consult Fulbright contacts at the U.S. Embassy Public Affairs Section of the host country on appropriate host institutions for each country before seeking an invitation letter. Refer to each country’s U.S. Scholar Fulbright Award description for contact information. 

• Maldives: Invitations letters are preferred. Applicants are encouraged to initiate contact with prospective hosts and local academics during the application process and discuss the parameters of the research they are proposing. Prior contact and communication between the applicant and the host ensure greater buy-in and grantee success once in country.  

• Nepal: Invitation letters are preferred. Candidates must make the effort to obtain them from a Nepali scholar or affiliate institution indicating willingness to collaborate or provide support for the proposed project. However, should the candidate encounter difficulty in obtaining the letter, the Commission can still consider the application. Please contact Rakchhya Maharjan, Senior Program Officer (rakchhya@fulbrightnepal.org.np) of Fulbright Commission in Nepal, for affiliation-related questions. 

• Pakistan: Invitation letters are preferred. Consult the Fulbright commission on host institution affiliation before seeking an invitation letter.  Awards are restricted to Islamabad, Karachi, and possibly Lahore. Applications for other cities or regions of Pakistan will not be considered. The Fulbright commission in Pakistan will finalize all affiliations. 

Sri Lanka: Invitation letters are preferred. Scholars are encouraged to contact a potential host institution and the United States-Sri Lanka Fulbright Commission (US-SLFC) can facilitate the process if applicants indicate a preference.  US-SLFC will finalize all affiliations.  

Uzbekistan: Invitation letters are required. Consult Fulbright contacts at the U.S. Embassy in Tashkent in the Public Affairs Section for guidance on this process. Refer to Uzbekistan’s U.S. Scholar Fulbright Award description for contact information. 

Language Proficiency Requirements
Recommended
Qualified Language Eval Recommended

Applicants are encouraged to register qualified language evaluator, such as a language instructor or a translator, to conduct the external assessment in the application. Being a native speaker alone does not qualify an individual to conduct the assessment.

Applicants who are native speakers do not need to complete an external evaluation.

Additional Language Requirement

Appropriate language proficiency is needed for successful completion of the project. All applicants must submit the Language Proficiency Report: Self-Evaluation, describing all languages used to conduct research, except English. 

If the applicant intends to use a language other than English to conduct their research, they must also submit the Language Proficiency Report: External Evaluation.  

Applicants who are native speakers only need to complete the Language Proficiency Report: Self-Evaluation; they do not need to complete an external evaluation. For applicants without local language proficiency, feasibility of conducting the project must be described clearly in the project statement. 

Additional Comments

Project statement must include a detailed description of proposed research, including justification for each country to be visited, duration and dates in each country, host institutions and planned site(s) to be visited.

Central Asia: Obtaining visas is a challenge. Scholars should be flexible regarding proposed travel between countries. Adjustments may be necessary in order to minimize complications and comply with host country visa regulations and limitations on entering and exiting multiple countries.  

Bhutan: All scholar applications for research projects in Bhutan require official host government approval. Selection of the SCARR award does not guarantee host government approval.  

Turkmenistan: Turkmenistan does not participate in the SCARR program but scholars may apply to visit through the Regional Travel Program.  

Researcher and Professional Project Monthly Allowances
$3470
$10060
Estimated Travel and Relocation Allowance for Grantee

Round-trip, Fly America Act compliant international travel for the grantee will be arranged by an agency designated by IIE, from the U.S. city to the first segment host city and returning from the last segement host city to the U.S.

For travel to the remaining host countries, the Regional Reseasrcher will receive $1,000.00 per country.

Additional Travel and Relocation Allowances will range from $1,500.00 - $3,550.00

Estimated Book and Research Allowance

$500 - $3,570 research allowance.

Additional Dependent Benefits

Additional living and housing allowance is provided for grantees with one accompanying dependent or two or more accompanying dependent. These amounts range from $150/month to $2890/month.

In addition, travel allowances are provided for up to two dependents.

A dependent education reimbursement allowance is provided ranging from up to $6,000 to up to $24,000 depending on the number of dependents and length of the grant. Reimbursement is based on actual cost of tuition and fees only, and is dependent on funding availability.

Dependents must accompany the grantee for at least 80% of the period abroad and a minimum of one semester in order to qualify for additional dependent benefits. Dependent benefits are not provided to Flex grantees.

Special Award Benefits

For Pakistan, grantees are required to live in housing approved by the Fulbright Commission in Pakistan in consultation with the U.S. Embassy's Regional Security Office, and dependents are not permitted to accompany grantees.

Please refer to the figures above for an estimate of total monthly Fulbright award benefits. Benefits may include a monthly base stipend, living and housing allowances, and additional one-time allowances. Benefits may vary based on a scholar's current academic rank (or professional equivalent), the city of placement, the type of award (teaching, teaching/research, or research), and the number of and duration of stay of accompanying dependents. Research-only or Professional Project grantees receive a standard stipend that is not adjusted for academic rank. In most cases, dependent benefits will not be provided to Flex grantees, or to grantees pursuing grants less than four months (or a semester) in length.

Final grant amounts will be determined prior to the start of the academic year and are subject to the availability of funds. The United States Department of State reserves the right to alter, without notice, participating countries, number of awards and allowances.

Countries Overview

The South and Central Asia Regional Research Program provides support for multicountry research. Research projects may be of historical or contemporary focus, comparative or regional in scope and may be conducted in two or three countries in the region: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. 

Projects involving collaboration with host country colleagues and institutions are particularly encouraged. Applicants may incorporate other activities as time permits, such as conducting guest lectures and faculty and curriculum development. 

Bangladesh

What is life like for Fulbrighters in your country?

Bordered by India and Burma in South Asia, Bangladesh is home to the world's largest river delta formed by the Brahmaputra and the Ganges River.  Bangladesh gained its independence through a bloody war with Pakistan in 1971 founded on principles of Bengali language and secularism. The 98% Bengali population includes at least 45 small ethnic groups with their own language, food habits, dress, and music.  A predominantly Muslim country (89%), the second largest group at 10% are Bangladeshi Hindus, followed by Buddhists and Christians (the remaining 1%).  Bangladeshis enjoy and celebrate public holidays recognizing the country’s major religious festivals, including the Islamic Eid holidays, Christmas, the birthday of Gautam Buddha, and the Hindu festival of Durga Puja.  People of Bangladesh, a country of 164.7 million, are known to be resilient, friendly, and hospitable.  The primary spoken language is Bangla (Bengali), although English is widely used especially in academic and business circles.  There are three UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Bangladesh, two cultural and one natural. In addition, five properties are included in the UNESCO Tentative List (see the List of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Bangladesh). 

Bangladesh celebrated its 50th anniversary of independence in 2021 and is a development success story with improvements in social welfare metrics that stand out among South Asian countries.  Millions of Bangladeshis have emerged from poverty as the nation has sustained an average annual economic growth rate of six percent for more than a decade, although the 2020 global pandemic has slowed that pace and posed challenges to sustainable and inclusive growth. A moderate, pluralistic Muslim-majority country, Bangladesh is on a trajectory to make history by reducing its fertility rate to replacement level through voluntary family planning and has met all three eligibility criteria for graduation from LDC status, putting it on the path to graduate as early as 2024 in spite of the pandemic.  Despite the challenges posed by COVID-19, Bangladesh aspires to qualify for middle-income country status by 2024.   

Bangladesh has vibrant intellectual traditions, and its higher education sector is undergoing rapid expansion.  There are 50 approved public universities and more than 108 private universities operating in Bangladesh.  All private universities have adopted the semester system and the academic year begins in September.  However, only a few public universities have adopted this system and their academic session runs from January to December.  Higher education in the public sector is a legacy of the British colonial education system, whereas private universities generally follow the U.S. curricula.  Private universities have been established in response to the fact that public universities have not been able to meet Bangladesh’s increasing demand for higher education given the country’s daunting youth bulge demographics. Nearly half of the total population is under 25 years of age.  The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the challenges facing Bangladesh’s education sector, significantly deteriorating education progress among the least economically secure.  The response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Bangladesh’s education sector has been slow, with the country experiencing some of the longest pandemic-related school closures.  Operating with limited economic and technological resources, the Government of Bangladesh is trying hard to fulfil the educational needs of its citizens, while protecting and managing public health.   

There is no independent or private academic standard accreditation council in Bangladesh.  The Ministry of Education’s University Grants Commission (UGC), the government regulatory body of higher education, assesses needs and maintains standards and quality of public and private universities.   For further information on the education system of Bangladesh, please visit the following links: Ministry of Education: www.moedu.gov.bd, and University Grants Commission: www.ugc.gov.bd.  

Foreign visitors are treated with great respect and past Fulbright Scholars have typically received warm welcomes from their hosts and students.  Following the 2016 Holey Artisan Bakery attack that claimed the lives of 24 victims, all American exchange programs were on hold in Bangladesh until recent days. The Government of Bangladesh enjoys a robust security cooperation with the U.S. Embassy and Bangladesh has not experienced any such attacks since then.  Bangladesh assiduously protects its “friendship to all, malice towards none” mantra, consciously balancing its relationships and agreements with the U.S., China, India, Russia, and Japan to avoid full alignment with any individual country. 

Bhutan

What is life like for Fulbrighters in your country?

Bhutan is an isolated mountain kingdom located between India and China. In 2005, the fourth King of Bhutan announced that the country would change from an absolute to a constitutional monarchy, and the country held its first democratic elections in 2008. Having opened to foreign visitors for the first time in the 1970s, Bhutan welcomed its first Fulbright Scholar in 2009. The country is undergoing vast changes as it develops as a democracy, and through its attempt to change from a donor-based economy to one that is self-sufficient, Bhutan offers scholars an unparalleled opportunity to contribute to the Bhutanese people.

Higher education is administered by The Royal University of Bhutan (founded in 2003), which is comprised of 11 different colleges and institutes. The academic year of the Royal University of Bhutan is divided into two semesters: mid-July to mid-December and February to June. Each semester is made up of a minimum of 15 weeks of teaching.

As Bhutan is still developing its civil service and university system, flexibility, patience and good humor are essential qualities for a successful Bhutan-based Fulbright experience. Placement information is often unavailable until right before the program begins and initial weeks at the universities can be difficult as many staff do not fully understand the Fulbright Program.  That said, Fulbright U.S. scholars are highly valued for their expertise, leadership and professional achievements.

The Fulbright Program in Bhutan is administered by the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi.

India

What is life like for Fulbrighters in your country?

The United States-India Educational Foundation (USIEF), the Fulbright Commission in India, offers more than 50 Fulbright U.S. Scholar grants across four award categories for the 2023-24 academic year. The Fulbright-Nehru Program offers the largest number of scholar grants worldwide.

WHAT IS LIFE LIKE FOR FULBRIGHTERS IN YOUR COUNTRY?

India is the world’s largest democracy, with a vibrant and growing economy, rich history, kaleidoscopic diversity, and an enormous appetite for education. Its education system is among the largest and continues to expand at a rapid pace. India attracts faculty and students to study, teach and conduct research, its expertise extending beyond the technical and business fields to nearly all academic disciplines.

India’s education priorities include increasing access and equity and improving the quality of teaching and research. The Indian higher education system follows the British model, and all instruction is in English. The system is comprised of universities and university-level institutions, colleges, and diploma-awarding institutions (e.g., polytechnics and specialist institutes). Institutions are also categorized by funding sources: central government, state government and private.  Undergraduate admission is highly competitive and is exam-based for most disciplines and institutions.

The expansion of the Fulbright Program in India has been an important development. The government of India became an equal partner in the financial support of the Fulbright Program in 2008, providing significant resources to increase the number of grants and renaming it to the Fulbright-Nehru Program. USIEF administers the Fulbright-Nehru U.S. Scholar Program, providing in-country support for grantees through its five offices (New Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad, and Mumbai).

The academic year in India generally runs from July to April. Some institutions have adopted the semester system and others follow the traditional academic session with grading based on end-of-year examinations.

Fulbright grantees are not permitted to travel to the Union Territory of Jammu or Kashmir.

All grantees receive an in-country briefing upon arrival in India. The Fulbright Commission in India pays careful attention to the safety of grantees, including those with families: spouses and children are welcome.

More information on Indian higher education:

In July 2020, the Union Cabinet of India approved the New Education Policy (NEP), which replaces the National Policy on Education-1986 and aims at universalization of education from pre-school to secondary level. The policy offers a comprehensive framework for elementary education to higher education and is set to bring major changes in the education system of India, such as a new 5+3+3+4 structure, introduction of vocational education training at younger levels, allowing top foreign universities to set up campuses in India, and a move towards institutes turning multi-disciplinary. The policy is based on the pillars of “Access, Equity, Quality, Affordability, Accountability” and aims to transform India into a vibrant knowledge hub. Since education is a concurrent subject (both the Central and the state governments can make laws on it), the reforms proposed can only be implemented collaboratively by the Center and the states. The government has set a target of 2040 to implement the entire policy.

Previous Fulbright Recipients

Click here to view a list of U.S. Scholar alumni to India. Read more about Fulbright Scholar Alumni Ambassador, Professor Jeff Withey, who collaborated with microbiologists at the National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases in Kolkata.

Kazakhstan

What is life like for Fulbrighters in your country?

Kazakhstan is a vast landlocked and ethnically diverse country, which has experienced significant economic growth due to its rich oil and mineral reserves. Kazakhstan is widely recognized for its varied natural landscapes consisting of flatlands, steppes, canyons, hills, deltas, snow-capped mountains, and deserts.

The academic year in Kazakhstan normally lasts 10 months, starting in September and ending in June, including a winter break. The fall semester starts typically starts on September 1 and lasts until late December. The spring semester typically starts on January 20 and ends in late June.

Scholars of all academic ranks (early and mid-career, and senior faculty) or nonacademics with Ph.D. degrees and a minimum of three years teaching experience are welcome to apply. On an exceptional basis consideration may be given to those with relevant master's degrees and extensive teaching and curriculum development experience.

Kyrgyz Republic

What is life like for Fulbrighters in your country?

The Kyrgyz Republic, sometimes called the "Switzerland of Asia," is one of five independent states in Central Asia. Its citizens have worked to build an open and democratic society, exemplified by a peaceful transfer of power between presidents in December 2011 and October 2017. A country slightly smaller than South Dakota, the Kyrgyz Republic shares common borders with China, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. It is known for its unique felt crafts, traditional oral legends, and rich natural history consisting of mountainous regions, the world’s largest natural-growth walnut forest, as well as a number of endangered species, including the snow leopard and Marco Polo sheep. The Kyrgyz Republic hosted the Third World Nomad Games in 2018, a celebration of nomadic heritage that gathers artists, athletes, and visitors from around the world to compete in traditional nomadic games such as horse wrestling, kok boru, and horseback archery.

There are 65 higher education institutes in the Kyrgyz Republic: 32 public and 33 private institutions. Private higher education institutions have increased their role and students' enrollment is increasing due to better quality education. Universities are increasingly interested in Fulbright Scholars who can teach, though Universities offer many research opportunities for scholars interested in Central Asian studies, particularly elements of traditional Kyrgyz culture, including literature, music, history, Kyrgyz and Russian linguistic studies, and post-Soviet politics. While Universities in Bishkek and the southern city of Osh welcome scholars from all disciplines, they recently started to express particular interest in scholars focused on Engineering and Robotics; Computer Science and Information Technology; Instructional Design; Agricultural and Food Security; and Geology and Environmental Science. Likewise, scholars will find their teaching skills in high demand at universities in the following disciplines: Film, Creative Writing, Journalism, and Education. With the small but burgeoning tech industry in the Kyrgyz Republic, university leadership has turned their focus to STEM fields. The mountainous landscape provides an exceptional platform for research and collaboration with Kyrgyz scholars and institutions. Scholars in Business Administration and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields will find themselves in the Kyrgyz Republic during a unique moment in their shift to internationalization of universities and to seeking more international collaborations to strengthen their entrepreneurial and scientific work.

Maldives

What is life like for Fulbrighters in your country?

Maldives has maintained its distinct identity for centuries by speaking the same language and belonging to one religion, Islam, despite the wide geographic distribution of the population. Maldives is a new democracy, with the first multiparty election held in 2008. With a population of approximately 540,000, higher education options have been limited and those who wanted to pursue university degrees generally traveled overseas to do so, mostly to the Middle East, Australia, and elsewhere in Asia, often with generous scholarships.

Maldives National University, inaugurated on February 15, 2011, was previously known as the Maldives College of Higher Education, which was established on January 1, 1999, as part of a restructuring and rationalization of all government-run post-secondary education. Operating under the aegis of the Department of Higher Education and Training, Maldives National University is the only public degree-granting institution in the country. The university offers a range of degrees, diplomas, and certificates with particular emphasis on engineering, health science, education, tourism and management. The enrollment at Maldives National University is approximately 10,000 students in long-term programs that extend over one academic year. 

Villa College is a private college that was founded in 2007. The college has more than 3,000 students at nine campuses throughout Maldives. Undergraduate and master’s degree programs include Accounting, Business, Computer Science, Education, Hospitality, Law, Marine Studies, and Public Health. For more information, visit villacollege.edu.mv.

MI College (MIC) is a private college that was founded in 2006. With almost 2,000 students at the undergraduate and master’s degree levels, MIC has 17 branch campuses throughout Maldives. Degree programs include Business, Management, and Hospitality; Education and Arts; Foundation Studies; and Science and Information Technology. Master’s degree courses include education, inclusive and special needs education, early childhood education, Islamic studies, business administration, public administration, and information technology. For more information, visit micollege.edu.mv.

Maldives continues to rely on foreign workers at many levels, including some at professional levels. The continued development of the country requires the existence of a university-educated population that can contribute to the growth of a professional class.

Fulbright grantees to Maldives will require flexibility, patience, and adaptability in order to help make the most of challenging conditions--including receiving host government approval, finalizing affiliations, and securing housing--in an energized environment. However, Fulbright Scholars have the opportunity to contribute to a new higher education system.

Priorities for the U.S.-Maldivian relationship include supporting democratic institutions and values, economic development, and environmental sustainability.

Nepal

What is life like for Fulbrighters in your country?

Nepal has undergone tremendous political and social change over the past two decades. Politically, the new federal republic constitution was promulgated on September 20, 2015. According to the Government of Nepal's 2011 Population and Housing Census data, 40.33% of the population comprise of youth between 16-40 years of age!  At this significant juncture in Nepal’s history, the educational system is in need of significant improvement so that it may serve Nepal's population well by meeting international standards. This presents exciting possibilities for teaching, research and collaboration between U.S. and Nepali institutions of higher education. 

Key Nepali educational institutions have partnered with the United States Educational Foundation in Nepal (USEF-Nepal) to provide teaching/research opportunities through the Fulbright program in Nepal. Although the facilities available in most institutions of higher education in Nepal are sparse compared with U.S. institutions, U.S. Scholars generally find colleagues who are eager to collaborate and students who are eager to engage contemporary ideas in their fields.

Patience, flexibility, a spirit of adventure and a sense of humor are among the most important qualities required of Fulbright grantees in Nepal.

Although academic calendars vary across institutions, Fulbright U.S. Scholars have historically arrived in Nepal in either July/August or in January. Applicants are encouraged to inquire about the ideal grant dates for the host institution when requesting an invitation letter.

Housing costs vary depending on the location, size and quality of the place- starting from $200 per month for a room with kitchen and more for apartments or houses with amenities. $20 would suffice for day to day expenses for one person, if you cook at home. Eating out would cost $30 per meal at a good restaurant.

Travel for both Nepalese and foreigners, has been made easy due to the advent of ride apps such as Pathao and Tootle. Public transport is much cheaper but congested. Scholars are advised to live near research or host institution location to reduce commuting.

Scholars with dependents, especially children, tend to live near kindergardens and schools such as The Lincoln School and Ullens School. 

Fulbright grantees generally use one of two clinics of international standard in Kathmandu: the CIWEC clinic, operating since 1982 and the Nepal International Clinic, operated by a Nepali physician who is a U.S. Board certified internist. 

Previous Fulbright Recipients

Pakistan

What is life like for Fulbrighters in your country?

Bordered by Iran, Afghanistan, China, India, and the Arabian Sea, Pakistan is at the heart of the Indus Valley. Its complex, multicultural and multiethnic population is the world’s fifth-largest at more than 220 million. The population is predominantly Muslim and more than half is rural. English is the language of higher education in Pakistan as well as an official language of the government of Pakistan.

Among Pakistan’s national priorities are improving access to and quality of education and healthcare, particularly higher education administration and nursing education. Nationwide, there are approximately 200 degree-granting universities. Enrollment and research productivity are increasing. USEFP has strong relationships with reputable higher education institutions in Pakistan and will work closely with the grantee to find an appropriate host institution and initial contacts for their project. With English as the official language of higher education, U.S. scholars in Pakistan find communication with students and faculty relatively easy.

Project clearance from the government of Pakistan is required for all Fulbright U.S. Scholar grantees and has been difficult to obtain in recent years. In addition, due to the overall deteriorating security situation in Pakistan, grants to Pakistan are contingent on the U.S. Embassy’s determination of the security situation and the ability of the scholar to obtain a visa. Scholars should not make any life decisions until a visa appropriate for the Fulbright grant is secured.

Since 2005, Pakistan has had the world’s largest Fulbright Student Program, sending about 150 students per year from Pakistan to the United States for advanced degrees. Pakistan and the United States are committed to increasing the numbers of American scholars teaching and conducting research in Pakistan. By promoting people-to-people engagement through education, the Fulbright Program increases understanding, builds enduring ties between individuals and institutions and enhances the avenues for cooperation on local, regional and global issues of shared importance.

 

Sri Lanka

What is life like for Fulbrighters in your country?

“Rarely have I felt so welcome anywhere as quickly as I have in Sri Lanka.” - Stephen C. Berkwitz, U.S. Fulbrighter to Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka, often referred to as the “pearl of the Indian Ocean”, is a tropical island the size of West Virginia, rich in endemic wildlife, sandy coasts, breathtaking natural beauty, and wealth of cultural heritage and sites of ancient civilizations. For a tiny island-nation, the diversity – social, cultural, geographic and historical, is amazing.  Sri Lanka is a small country with a complex history spanning several thousand years, and under three colonial occupations spanning 443 years – Portuguese, Dutch and British, that defies glib definitions and quick judgments, but which once explored, lures the visitor to revisit and review their personal experiences. Opportunities for teaching, research, and exploring the island in all its diversity abound.

Education is given a very high priority and is a strong cultural aspiration, for parents and students and there is a great demand and interest in higher education.  Sri Lanka’s educational system is modelled after the British system.  Primary and secondary education being 13 years in duration and both public and private schools meet the demands of mandatory education for all children.  Sri Lanka has comparatively high literacy rate of 92.3%. 

Access to tertiary education is highly competitive, given the limited number of public higher educational institutions, and entry is based on high scores received at the Advance Level Examination.   Tertiary level education comes under the purview of the University Grants Commission (UGC) of Sri Lanka.  Other tertiary level educational institutions, recognized by the UGS and other private educational institutions, many not recognized by the UGC and also offering degrees from foreign universities, have emerged to meet the demands for higher education.  Sri Lanka’s educational system has undergone some reforms but further reforms and strengthening and the Fulbright Program in Sri Lanka aims at contributing to these efforts.  Hence keeping up with global teaching and learning methodologies, developing curriculum, students-centered learning that develops critical thinking, exposure to new fields of study/areas of research, et., are all important priorities.

A relatively stable socio-political climate prevails after the end of the decades-long civil conflict. Following the April 2019 Easter attacks, the United States has continued counterterrorism cooperation with Sri Lanka.  Despite the economic challenges faced by the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and a health sector that is not on par with many countries even in the region, Sri Lanka was able to manage the pandemic related health conditions in the country through prevention and mitigation strategies.

Tajikistan

What is life like for Fulbrighters in your country?

Tajikistan is the smallest and most mountainous country of the Central Asian nations.

Interested individuals should understand there was an overall decline in the education system, including university infrastructure and academic standards, following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Furthermore, corruption in the admission and grading systems is also prevalent. As a result, both university administrators and students recognize the benefits of having an American professor teaching at their institution, and welcome the academic and cultural interactions.

The academic year runs from the beginning of September to the end of May.

Most classes are taught in Tajik, although several universities have English departments and groups taught primarily in English. A knowledge of Tajik or Russian is helpful in navigating day-to-day life.

Individual scholars should be prepared to be flexible and to work in a university environment where their Tajik colleagues rely less on technology in the classroom and in university administration. 

A motivated Fulbright Scholar would have an opportunity to make a significant impact during his/her grant period in Tajikistan.

Uzbekistan

What is life like for Fulbrighters in your country?

Home of the ancient Silk Road cities of Samarkand, Bukhara, Khiva, and Tashkent, Uzbekistan provides scholars a unique opportunity to experience a rapidly changing part of Central Asia. 

During the past century, Uzbekistan was stagnant and isolated due to the constraints of communism and Soviet rule, and a further lengthy period of conservative rule. With the 2016 election of a new president, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, a new, more modern, reform-minded nation is developing. Mirziyoyev was elected to a second term in October 2021. Notable reform and reconstruction is happening across the country, foreign investment is welcome, and the economy is rapidly growing. The government is regularly seeking advice and assistance from the United States.

As the most populous country in Central Asia, Uzbekistan offers a dynamic experience for Fulbright Scholars. Reform of the education sector in areas such as curriculum development, research, and internationalization have created an enthusiastic environment for work with visiting American counterparts. The government and educational institutions are seeking to become an “English Speaking Nation,” and educational institutions are regularly demanding native speakers in their classrooms. Students see new opportunities in their rapidly developing country, and are eager and innovative. Fulbright Scholars will provide invaluable assistance to their host institutions, and will be given an opportunity to contribute to the country's continued development.

Additional information about Uzbekistan and the U.S. Embassy in Tashkent can be found on the Embassy's Facebook, Twitter and website.

Visit our Scholar Directory to view and search all Fulbright alumni. You can also learn more about Fulbright Alumni Ambassadors.