Global Impact and the Fulbright Effect



This report was made possible through funding from IIE’s Fulbright Legacy Fund.


Prepared by Evgenia Valuy
Research, Evaluation and Learning Unit, IIE


The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA).

The goals of the Fulbright Scholar Program are to (1) strengthen bilateral ties by demonstrating the cultural and educational interests, developments, and achievements of the people of the United States and other nations and (2) promote international cooperation around educational and cultural advancement.


The purpose of this historic report is to present findings on the medium- and long-term impacts of the Fulbright Program related to knowledge sharing, mutual understanding, changes at the organizational, community, and societal levels. The report speaks to the Fulbright knowledge footprint of Fulbright scholars and how their Fulbright grant affected their work and the impact on others.

In June-July 2018, IIE administered an impact survey to Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program alumni who completed their program between 2005 and 2015. The survey was sent to 7858 scholars with updated contact information. This report analyzes responses of 3142 scholars. The response rate for the survey was 40%. All quotes in the report use the original style of the respondent unless noted otherwise. Throughout the report, we use alumni, scholars, and respondents interchangeably. The findings are representative of all respondents, unless disaggregated by any criteria. Graphics in the report highlight a specific finding and do not include all data points.


Historic Records of U.S. Scholar Alumni. IIE used historic program data to identify alumni records of U.S. Scholars who participated in the Fulbright Program in 2005 – 2015. While the program had some updated records for Alumni, a limitation of our analysis is that some email addresses were outdated.

Self-selection of Alumni. Alumni answered the survey voluntarily; as a result, our analysis is prone to respondent bias. Scholars may have had positive or negative reasons for completing the survey. The analysis that follows reflects the respondent population only and cannot be applied to all program participants.


This section describes the scholars who completed the survey. Where historic demographic data for the overall U.S. Scholar program population during these years was available, the evaluation team compared that data to the final survey population to assess the representativeness of the survey respondents.


Male respondents constituted 56% of survey respondents and female respondents were 44%. At the time of the survey, the age of respondents ranged from 30 to 94 years, with an average scholar being 60 years old. At the time of the program, an average scholar who responded to the survey was 51 years old. Gender proportion and average age of the survey respondents is consistent with the gender proportion and average age of the overall U.S. Scholar program population during 2005-2015.

While all respondents were U.S. citizens, 3% or 84 respondents were born outside of the U.S. 59 respondents (2%) chose their birth country as their host country for the Fulbright grant; 4 of them are still residing in that country after their grant completion. At the time of the survey, 96% of the scholars lived in the U.S.


32% of respondents self-identified as minorities or members of underserved communities in the U.S. The proportion of scholars who self-identified as a racial or ethnic minority varied by the age of the scholar, not by program year. This finding is consistent with the consistency of minority racial and ethnic representation in the U.S. Scholar program between 2005-2015, indicating that the racial composition of the U.S. Fulbright Scholar program has been consistent over time.


93% of respondents represented the core U.S. Scholar Fulbright Program. 5% of respondents participated in the International Education Administrators Seminars, and 2% had Global Scholar Awards, NEXUS or Arctic Initiative grants. 43% of respondents had teaching & research grants, 30% had research grants only, and the remaining 27% had teaching grants.

More than half of the respondents (59%) had one-semester grants that lasted between 2 and 6 months. A third of respondents (35%) had grants longer than 6 months. Survey respondents equally represented all cohorts between 2005 and 2015.

The number of years since the Fulbright program completion was one of the most important factors in the scholars’ ability to achieve institutional-level outcomes, which underscores the fact that institutional changes take a long time to be achieved.

Almost half of scholars (45%) went to host countries in Europe and Eurasia; 17% of these Scholars went to Germany. Of the 17% of scholars who went to host countries in East Asia – Pacific, 21% of scholars went to China and 20% went to Japan. Western Hemisphere was the third most popular host region among scholars; this region had equal numbers of scholars pursuing grants in Brazil, Canada, Chile, and Mexico.

IIE used the demographic and program characteristics of survey respondents to identify any contextual nuances in the survey findings that follow. The findings chapters present outcomes related to the professional growth, behavioral changes, and professional exchanges of U.S. Scholar alumni. Further, the report focuses on institution-level analyses and community analyses of U.S. Scholars.


Participation in the U.S. Fulbright Scholar program affected the scholars’ careers in multiple ways, such as enhancing their existing positions and leading to new leadership opportunities. For some scholars it also resulted in significant changes to their professional trajectories.


At the time of the survey, the majority of scholars (82%) were employed; of these, 92% worked in higher education. 86% of scholars who worked in colleges and universities were faculty: of these, 89% were tenured or on tenure track. An additional 11% of scholars served as emeritus professors, and 5% were retired.

The majority of scholars (96%) were residing in the U.S. Of the scholars that are currently abroad, 47 scholars (1.5%) had moved to their host countries.

Fulbright gave me two grants, one to the University of Tokyo in 1999 and the second to St Petersburg State University in 2004. I used the second grant to make an opportunity to retire in Illinois, and I moved to St Petersburg. I now teach again at St Petersburg State University which was my host during my Fulbright grant.

- Alumnus, Russia, 2005



40% of scholars noted that the Fulbright program had a profound impact on their professional advancement.


95% of scholars experienced increased respect from others in their professional life and noted a positive impact of the Fulbright Program on their professional reputation as a result of their participation in the Fulbright Program. This impact was greater for younger scholars who were still establishing themselves in the field due to their age.

I returned much more fluent in the target language and more familiar with new research materials. This affected my interactions with students and scholars. It added "authenticity" to my role as a teacher and scholar in my field.

- Alumnus, China, 2011

Being that I was able to complete a book from my Fulbright grant experience and I am a worldwide expert in my field, this only enhanced my credibility and in turn was a major benefit to my home institution. Being a Fulbright scholar is always something that my institution champions and uses to their benefit.

- Alumnus, Germany, 2015

I believe I would not have been hired if not for my Fulbright. I'm the first and only American Indian professor at the district, and the only one teaching American Indian history.

- Alumnus, Indonesia, 2009



Participation in the Fulbright program led to further grants, including other Fulbright grants, and recognition through various awards.

I was able to do advocacy for the Roma of Romania and also for the artists of Romania. During my appointment I worked with several advocacy organizations as well as my host institution. Since my appointment I have been able to connect these organizations and was successful in receiving an Andy Warhol Foundation grant in order to host exhibitions about Roma and Romanian arts and civil rights. I received a Tanne Foundation award for humanistic socially engage art.

- Alumna, Romania, 2014


Leadership Roles

78% of scholars felt that they increased their leadership skills during their Fulbright grant. Combined with increased respect, this resulted in more responsible and leadership-oriented roles and promotions for 58% of scholars. Changes related to leadership roles were more likely to occur for younger scholars; perhaps because older scholars may have already held positions of high leadership.

My Fulbright experience motivated me to take a leadership role in our local elementary education system. Shortly after the completion of my grant, I accepted a position on the school board. The understanding I gained during my Fulbright grant helped me to engage board members with an open mind, to respect their diverse perspectives/opinions, and to work as a team.

- Alumnus, Greece, 2013

My first Fulbright (U.K.) led to some op-ed articles and a book (reviewed in the mainstream press) on important public-policy issues. It also involved work in theater that led to a part-time career as a theater director at theaters in the US. My second Fulbright (Bulgaria) led to a second book, also noticed in mainstream publications, and my third (Czech Republic) led to a full-time professorship and directorship of a student theater company in the host country.

- Alumnus, Czech Republic, 2013


New Professional Trajectories

For some scholars the Fulbright grant led to changes in their professional careers. As a result of their participation in Fulbright, some scholars rethought their professional interests in favor or against academic careers, while several scholars had to search for new employment because the previous was discontinued. All of these scholars commented on the value of the experience to their decisions.

Before Fulbright, I wasn't sure I wanted to teach at the university level. After Fulbright, especially conducting presentations via small in-country grants, I decided to pursue a career in higher education. I am now an Assistant Professor. I credit my time as a Fulbright Scholar-I gained valuable higher education experience.

- Alumna, Ethiopia, 2014

My Fulbright experience caused me to change my profession. I never returned to my home community or my home institution. I am no longer focused on research and academic issues, although I occasionally lecture at universities and edit and review articles. Mostly I am engaged in building civil society institutions.

- Alumnus, Bangladesh, 2007

Truthfully, I lost my job because I took the Fulbright and my employer "eliminated my position," if you can believe that! But, if I could do it all again, I certainly would! I currently teach in a high-needs school and many of my students come from the regions where I was for my grant - the Caribbean. I can use my cultural knowledge daily to help to understand where my students come from.

- Alumna, Barbados, 2010

Partly because of my IEA Fulbright experience, I made the decision to pursue a new Ph.D. in Higher Education Leadership.

- Alumnus, South Korea, 2015


462 scholars (15%) established new organizations; some organizations were directly related to or located in their host countries.

I have continued my artistic collaborations over the past 7-8 years since my Fulbright. The first was to remain in the host country as an art teacher at a school, then return to India every year for 6 weeks - 2 months of the year. I started a textile company as a direct result of my research, and teach workshops all across the country.

- Alumna, India, 2011

After my Fulbright I cofounded Alliance for Innovation a nonprofit that is building bridges between Poland and the U.S.

- Alumnus, Poland, 2011

Because of my experiences in the Philippines, I founded NEW Pathways to Enterprise, a 501c3 organization that works in the Philippines to enable women in poor communities to start small businesses so that they can achieve their dreams of a better life for their families. Nearly 400 women have completed our Learning to Livelihood program in the Philippines since we began in 2012. A major impetus for the founding of this non-profit came from my Fulbright SyCip Distinguished Lecturing Award.

- Alumna, Philippines, 2008



Scholars whose families accompanied them on their Fulbright expressed that because of the experience their family members pursued international careers and participated in cross-cultural activities in the home communities.

We have five children who were greatly impacted by the Fulbright experience. Since our return, our oldest has taught in 4 countries, second oldest taught 3 years in Kuwait, third oldest learned a strategic language and now works for the military and the fourth oldest is bilingual and now works in Australia.

- Alumnus, Hungary, 2008

My family and I made community presentations about our host country. We have become more involved in hosting students from my host country. My university hired my wife, who joined me on my Fulbright, to improve my university's social and cultural programming for visiting international students and faculty.

- Alumnus, China, 2014

I'd like to mention that my wife, who was a superb "honorary" Fulbright ambassador during 2011-12, has returned to my/our host country on at least three different occasions to help raise funds for underprivileged children, local hospitals, etc. Her activities have been noted on local TV broadcasts in our host country.

- Alumnus, Montenegro, 2012

My daughter started a non-profit "Dance Another World" teaching English to elementary school children in an after-school program. This was based on work she did when she joined me for 7 months of my Fulbright grant in Vietnam. She taught the students at Dong Thap U. ballet and their English improved dramatically. I've helped her at events.

- Alumna, Vietnam, 2009



Through participation in the Fulbright U.S. Scholar program, scholars enhanced their careers gaining more recognition for their work and taking on new responsibilities. Some scholars expanded their careers to include new directions and organizations. The program has also impacted career choices of the family members who accompanied scholars during the grant. The next chapter reviews the effect the program had on the scholars’ personal growth.



I returned home forever changed, for the better, due to my Fulbright experiences, bringing with me the experiences I had to share with students, colleagues and others in my field of research.

- Alumnus, Morocco, 2010


53% of scholars indicated that the Fulbright program had an impact on their personal growth. The personal growth that scholars referred to included enhancement of their individual interpersonal skills as well as development of a more global mindset, understanding, and abilities to apply both to their work and personal life.

93% of scholars increased their ability to function in a multi-cultural academic environment. They applied these skills to their teaching and to building collaborations after the program.

I gained a good deal of experience in dealing with multicultural student and scientist groups which has improved my ability to deal with similar situations at my home institution. Moreover, the confidence I developed in working in other countries and cultures has allowed me to expand the reach of my institution in countries other than my Fulbright country.

- Alumnus, Slovenia, 2011

I am a consultant no longer affiliated with a college/university. I have however used new skills in working with clients. I think I listen more deeply and pay closer attention to details as a result have having had to do the same in Ghana because of the multiplicity of languages spoken, how English is spoken, because names were unfamiliar and because I closely observed cultural norms.

- Alumna, Ghana 2015


95% of scholars improved their intercultural skills and 85% of scholars have seen changes to their interpersonal skills because of the Fulbright grant. They have been applying these skills to better serve international students, minorities, and underserved groups in their professional and personal communities. Some scholars who identified with these groups have been able to use the intercultural skills to navigate their relationships with the majority group.

My experience as a Fulbright Scholar gave me a more global perspective in my work as a teacher and administrator. It gave me more empathy for international students and allowed me to better understand the value of diversity.

- Alumnus, Lithuania, 2009

[After my Fulbright] I was much more sensitive to cultural differences, not only national differences but all differences. As a result, I was able to help others succeed more than I would have otherwise.

- Alumnus, Panama, 2011

I used my understanding of intercultural relationships to better navigate difficult relationships at my home institution where I am a minority.

- Alumna, Belgium, 2008


Over 40% of scholars indicated that the Fulbright grant impacted their knowledge and appreciation of world cultures. Scholars developed better understanding of their host communities, which later allowed them to recognize and challenge the stereotypes Americans may have had about their host countries and regions. They saw their acceptance of people from cultural backgrounds different from their own increase and were able to better connect with them.

The Fulbright gave me a heightened cultural awareness about Muslims and life in the Middle East. I thought that I would find a more positive encounter than media images that populate our news channels, but I gained more than just that. As a Fulbright scholar I was given the unique privilege to join the community and have a lot of those negative preconceived notions challenged. I went on the Fulbright with and open mind and eager to learn from my environment and the reward was tremendous.

- Alumna, United Arab Emirates, 2014


Scholars, who were born outside of the U.S. had unique experiences coming back to their country of birth on the Fulbright grant, considering their own culture and belonging, and having a changed perspective on their birth/host and home countries.

I was born in my host country, and spent the first 28 years of life there. I spent the last 50 years of my life in the U.S. During this period, I have taken many trips to my (now) host country. I believe there has been a continuum of cultural exchange between the two countries during these trips. The Fulbright program gave me (and my wife) the unique opportunity to further the cause of such cultural exchange over a sustained amount of time (4 months).

- Alumnus, India, 2005


85% of scholars reported that their Fulbright grant increased their self-confidence.

The Fulbright enabled me to make a 30-minute film. It was the first time I worked with such a crew of 6 and the experience was invaluable. I am more confident about initiating ambitious projects.

- Alumna, Ecuador, 2015


66% of scholars improved their foreign language skills. They used their language knowledge to teach their classes, establish better communication with international students, continue research in the host country, and to build cohesive multi-national communities in the U.S. and across borders.

The Fulbright experience in Ecuador impacted my language teaching on my campus (now projected based and entirely in the target language). Since my family traveled with me, the cultural/linguistic impact was dispersed by 5 people, not just one person.

- Alumna, Ecuador, 2007

With my strengthened Spanish skills, I have served as a bridge between immigrant and white native-born members of my city and university.

- Alumna, Venezuela, 2009

In my 2010 Egypt Fulbright, I taught jazz (in Arabic), researched how musical improvisation is taught in Egypt, and studied the oud. Since returning, I have continued to study Arabic music, including taqasim (improvisation), and given many concerts bringing together Arab and American musicians. I also switched academic fields, leaving classical music to teach the Arabic Language. All of these directly grew out of my life-changing Fulbright in 2010.

- Alumnus, Egypt, 2010



Through participation in the Fulbright U.S. Scholar program, scholars developed skills important for international and cross-cultural collaboration. They applied these skills to their professional and personal lives as discussed further in the report. The next chapter speaks to how scholars applied their work at their home institutions using technical skills gained during the program in addition to intercultural skills.

As Chair of the council of faculty in my college, I spend a great deal of time sharing an international research and teaching perspective in part gleaned from my time as a Fulbright scholar.

- Alumnus, France, 2008


During the program, scholars learned new teaching and research methods and expanded their knowledge of their professional area. This chapter explores in detail how scholars applied that knowledge to benefit their home institution.


As the majority of Fulbright scholars are academics, teaching, advising, and mentoring students and junior colleagues are significant components of their career. The Fulbright Program contributed to improvements in the scholars’ skills in these areas: 70% improved their lecturing skills and 57% learned new teaching methods. Scholars who had grants with a teaching component experienced higher increases  in the lecturing skills and knowledge of teaching methodologies than scholars with just research grants.













Over 75% of scholars of all grant types taught undergraduate or graduate students in the past 12 months. An average scholar has taught 4 classes to 122 students in the past 12 months. Overall, during that time, scholars reached at least 278 thousand students through over 10 thousand classes. Considering that some scholars completed their Fulbright program 13 years ago, over the years they could have taught 74,000 courses to over 2 million students.

As a result of their Fulbright experience, 1935 scholars (62%) adapted more inclusive teaching practices  in their work, and 278 scholars (13%) had new teaching methodologies implemented across their home institution. Because during their grant, scholars found it challenging to teach students with whom they shared different language and cultural references, they had to adjust their content and delivery to be applicable under the circumstance. Upon returning to the U.S., they realized that making these kinds of adjustments to their teaching at home will improve their classes and make them more inclusive for students with diverse backgrounds.

Furthermore, working in and living in another country, scholars increased their understanding and empathy of the diverse students on their campus, including international students, students whose first language is not English, and students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

In teaching Chinese students, I gained insights into the experience of a variety of students, not just international ones, who might feel out of place. I needed to adapt teaching methods to a very different type of learner, and that made me think more about how to reach different students.

- Alumna, Hong Kong, 2009

Teaching in a different country made me re-evaluate the taken-for-granted ways that I structure courses, grade, and interact with students. Upon returning to my home institution, I revamped my courses, incorporated different pedagogies, and recognized ways to avoid grade inflation.

- Alumna, Canada, 2015

After spending months working in the field and lab with students in Brazil who had never had access to a "modern" molecular biology lab, I realized that many of my teaching methods and protocols were unnecessarily complicated and expensive. I am now much better at teaching people from all sorts of research backgrounds.

- Alumna, Brazil, 2014

Teaching to students for whom English was a second language was challenging. I developed new materials to make concepts clearer and that did not rely on students' having background cultural knowledge. I found that these new methods greatly increased my ability to convey information to an increasingly diverse student population at my home institution.

- Alumnus, Austria, 2009

My work with the charter school is one of the "ripple effects." I brought back a new understanding of how to help children from a different culture to succeed in school. What I learned and brought back has made a difference in students' and teachers' lives. It's not simply a recipe. It's about respecting and having expectations that these children can be successful regardless of their family's standing in the dominant culture. They can learn to love reading if materials are meaningful to them.

- Alumna, South Africa, 2009



Scholars also applied their grant experiences to changes in their approaches to advising students in their home institutions. Almost 90% of scholars formally and informally advised and mentored students in the past 12 months. During that time, they advised at least 47,256 undergraduate and 22,084 graduate and post-graduate students. Considering the number of years that some scholars had since completing their Fulbright program, the total number of the students advised and mentored over the years could be at least 380,000 for undergraduate and 150,000 for graduate students.










Teaching in Rwanda enabled me to experience what it is like to be a member of a visible minority. This is very different from being a person of color in the US, but nevertheless gave me narrow window into what that experience is like. It's deepened my empathy for minority and international students at my home institution, and I think has made me a more effective advisor for these students.

- Alumnus, Rwanda, 2012



The Fulbright Program impacted scholars’ understanding of their professional field. Over 90% of scholars gained a deeper understanding of their discipline and research area and valuable field-specific knowledge. 88% of scholars were exposed to new ideas and concepts in their field during their grant. This progress resulted in changes to various areas, including course content in their home institutions and their approach to research.

It was very helpful to understand the nuances of energy and environmental policy compared to conventional knowledge and preconceptions I had prior to my Fulbright experience. My research assumptions about policy effectiveness changed substantially as a result of this experience.

- Alumnus, Norway, 2015



In addition to gains in technical knowledge, almost 80% of scholars with research grants and 50% of scholars with teaching grants gained new skills to conduct research.

As a result of their Fulbright experience, 53% of scholars made changes to their research methods. Almost 20% of scholars developed almost 800 new research programs for faculty and students, and 10% had new research methods implemented across their home institution.





I was able to take the knowledge learned, in this case, a particular experimental method, and apply this to my research topic back home and able to cite my Fulbright experience to support my cause in my extramural funding applications.

- Alumnus, Taiwan, 2014

This experience has enriched my knowledge on research methodology. Since the completion of my Fulbright Program, I have developed a new course on research methodology. I have used many of my [Fulbright] research materials for this course.

- Alumna, China, 2011

The data set that I collected during my Fulbright has been used by my home institution for 10 years now to develop statistics labs with a cross-cultural component. This aids my US students with both statistics and exposure to data from different cultures.

- Alumna, Norway, 2008



As a result of their Fulbright experience, 78% of scholars adapted content of existing courses or curricula and 66% developed new courses or curricula based on developments in their understanding of their discipline.








I reworked my core course on U.S. history to reflect what I learned teaching in Brazil. The class was completely reworked because I felt that the presentation to people outside the U.S. was a more satisfying way of presenting the arguments I wanted to make.

- Alumnus, Brazil, 2010

I taught a class on the American civil rights movements in Turkey that I had taught in the US. I was in Turkey after Gezi Park and Tacsim Square, so the work was sadly relevant. I learned how the two countries were different and the same and allowed my students to educate me on how they saw what was different and what was the same. This conversation I was able to take back to my classes in the US.

- Alumna, Turkey, 2014


Some scholars leveraged their grant experience to support undergraduate and graduate programs.


My Fulbright experience has been helpful in demonstrating my department's worthiness to be granted a new MA program. This, in turn, will help teachers and other people in my region in their professional development. My region is traditionally recognized as provincial and culturally impoverished. My grant has contributed to the changing perception of my region.

- Alumnus, Spain, 2014


Scholars applied the knowledge they learned during their Fulbright experience to introduce innovative practices and propose innovative approaches which in many cases were recognized and awarded additional grant funding.

Through Fulbright, I learned about a best practice to connect students with working professionals, to increase student understanding of the world of work. After returning to the US, I successfully applied for a grant from the state of CA to develop a pilot of this model - the first such pilot in the US.

- Alumna, United Kingdom, 2015

This collaborative teaching and research method that I practiced in Romania resulted in NSF funding which supported the development and research of a new teaching method. Two NSF grants supported a nanotechnology and a robotics class to be taught with this teaching by design method in the following two years.

- Alumnus, Romania, 2009

After returning from my Fulbright fellowship, I applied for (and was awarded) a National Institute of Health (National Institute on Aging) 4-year R01 grant that was over $2 million. The pilot data and experiences I collected while a Fulbright scholar directly impacted my ability to be competitive for this grant.

- Alumna, Finland, 2010



Scholars used their enhanced technical and intercultural skills to their teaching, research, and creative work at their home institution. Through these changes they better supported their students and introduced new developments into their professional field. The next chapter discusses how scholars applied their increased understanding of the value of international exchange to internationalize their campuses.



My experience as a visitor in a foreign country made me much more interested in providing a positive experience for international visitors to my own academic institution. Ever since, I have been extremely active in hosting our foreign visitors, providing them with a positive social experience, and helping them in any way I can with their academic projects.

- Alumnus, Canada, 2012


68% of scholars became more involved with international education on their campus upon return from the Fulbright Program. They engaged with international students and faculty, advocated for international exchange programs, in particular for Fulbright programs, and developed opportunities for study abroad and hosting of international academics.

As a result of the efforts described in this chapter, 50% of scholars witnessed increased institutional support for international programming and 36% of scholars observed their institutions dedicate more resources to implementing international programs.

Furthermore, these efforts led to increased campus internationalization through further student and scholar travel abroad, supported by the home institution, and through international students and academics.

Support for study and teaching abroad has increased. We now have a number of international programs which take students and faculty to all areas of the world. These programs vary from summer programs, to full semester and full year study programs, and they take place in all parts of the world. There are also a number of ways that students who wish to participate in these programs can get financial support.

- Alumna, Mexico, 2005


See chapters on Home Institution Impacts and Cross-Cultural Understanding for other avenues of campus internationalization such as incorporating international perspectives in the daily teaching.


85% of scholars encouraged their students to study abroad. Some communicated the value of studying abroad and others inspired their students by sharing their Fulbright experience.

My home institution students are often from small rural white communities. I infuse anecdotal information gleaned from my Fulbright. They have commented on evaluations about how this helped their learning. One student said she planned to teach abroad due to this.

- Alumna, Georgia, 2013



Scholars felt motivated to create international exchange opportunities for their students and faculty. They joined existing or started new initiatives related to international exchange and, as a result, generated interest and developed more opportunitiesfor international students to study at their home institutions. 
One example of using knowledge and understanding gained during my Fulbright grant to improve my home community was the effort I made to bring international awareness to my home campus. Since then we have started an International Programs office and are in the process of setting up study abroad courses.

- Alumnus, Germany, 2009

I am now the Graduate Admissions Committee Chair in my department. My Fulbright experience has allowed me to expand significantly my vision of recruiting, mentoring and guiding foreign graduate applicants from that region.

- Alumnus, Costa Rica, 2014

Worked collaboratively with local and national experts to revise academic advising and enrollment efforts to increase student engagement in general, and student participation in study abroad activities - specifically first-generation college students, students of color and Pell-grant eligible students who attend two-year colleges.

- Alumnus, Germany, 2012


Scholars who participated in the IEA Seminars felt well-equipped to guide their home institutions in international exchange. They have been able to better advise students and create institutional advising support for students interested in study abroad programs.

As an exchange program administrator, I was able to use my Fulbright experience to advise students on potential study abroad opportunities and I felt like I had a much better grasp of how the German (and European) higher education system works.

- Alumna, Germany, 2008

After returning from an IEA seminar, I've resurrected a reciprocal exchange for our institution (in the host country) and also organized & led two trips to the host country for undergraduate students, including taking faculty who had not been there previously. I was and am the lead on these initiatives, and students receive academic credit at my home institution for participating in each.

- Alumna, United Kingdom, 2013



The Fulbright experience gave me the courage and the skills to carry out these programs.

- Alumna, Egypt, 2006


36% of scholars developed over 2200 new student exchange programs and study abroad programs and 21% developed over 900 new faculty exchange programs. Scholars who completed their Fulbright programs earlier had more years to develop such programs.









Home Institution: Study Abroad Programs

At their home institutions, scholars organized and led the student study abroad programs themselves. Additionally, some scholars have been able to make the study abroad programs a formal university requirement.

Currently I am engaged in organizing a student exchange program with my university and several Italian universities. This exchange program was motivated by my experience working in Italy universities on two separate Fulbright grants.

- Alumna, Italy, 2015

I became a "trip leader" taking students from my home institution to Ukraine for a three-week visit (which fulfills a university requirement) and introduced basic language skills prior to the trips. I did this for eight sequential years following my return to my home institution

- Alumnus, Ukraine, 2005


Home Institution: Bringing International Students and Faculty to Campus

Hosting international students and faculty is another way to internationalize the scholar’s home campus. 51% of scholars reported that, as a result of their own participation in the Fulbright Program and their advocacy for international exchange, their home institution hosted over 4800 Fulbright Scholars and scholars invited through other avenues.

Along with another colleague at my home university, we applied for a SIR Fulbright, and are bringing a Russian scholar to our campus for the 2018-2019 academic year.

- Alumnus, Russia, 2013

Invited the pre-eminent filmmaker of the country for a week-long residency (and raised considerable money to do this). He attended film screenings and gave lectures, was the first African director ever to visit the state at length.

- Alumna, Senegal, 1993; Austria, 2006

As a result of my participation on the Fulbright seminar, I have received inquiries from other visiting international delegations to visit my home institution and meet with students, faculty, and administrators.

- Alumna, Russia, 2013


Jointly with Host Institution

One type of collaboration that scholars established with their host institutions was establishment of student study abroad programs between the institutions.

We wrote a memorandum of understanding that we presented to the student-exchange office at the University of Botswana, and I did the same at Utah State University upon return home. As a result of our efforts the two institutions established a student exchange program.

- Alumnus, Botswana, 2008

I created liaisons between educators at my host institution in Denmark and educators in a number of different institutions in my home state of North Carolina that yielded educational exchanges between Denmark and US students and faculty.

- Alumna, Denmark, 2008

After completing my Fulbright, I initiated a faculty exchange program with my host institution. To make this exchange work, I partnered with universities across the state as well as other organizations to ensure a rich experience for the visiting scholars as well as communities across the state.

- Alumna, Albania, 2013



Individual Efforts

85% of scholars encouraged their peers to apply for a Fulbright grant, and 73% encouraged their students to do the same. They gave presentations about their experience, served on panels about study abroad and Fulbright, and supported individual students and colleagues through the application process.

I have been very active in mentoring students in applying for research Fulbrights since I've received my last grant. This year alone, three of my former undergraduate students received Fulbright grants.

- Alumna, Burkina Faso, 2007

I gave a presentation about my Fulbright experience when I returned. I mentored others in applying for Fulbright grants at my home institution. I also presented a workshop on how to apply for a Fulbright grant for the university at large. In addition, I served on the university committee that interviewed our university students who wanted to apply for student Fulbright’s.

- Alumnus, Hungary, 2009


76% of scholars saw their colleagues become more interested in applying for the Fulbright program because of their experience.

My colleagues' interest level skyrocketed because they witnessed that it can be done to move overseas with two small children, increase your professional status, and maintain your sanity. It's challenging but the rewards are limitless.

- Alumna, Japan, 2015


Scholars also shared the value of the program with the greater community through writing books and blogging about their Fulbright experiences.

I was already retired when I received my Fulbright: I wrote a memoir of my two Fulbrights and reflections on the edges of my career they marked—I had an earlier award to Italy, 1974-75. The memoir considered what I learned about national cultures, teaching, literature and of course myself from these two experiences, which I still enjoy and value.

- Alumnus, Portugal, 2011

I hosted a blog about my Fulbright that has 110 followers (who get blog updates via email) with 38,540 visits to the site and 125,000 views. I established a website of photographs featured in a Fulbright art exhibition and another on robotics with my host institution.

- Alumna, Ireland, 2013


Formal Fulbright Outreach Efforts

57% of scholars participated in formal Fulbright outreach activities since program completion. For example, 21% of scholars participated as an alumnus/alumna speaker in Fulbright conferences, seminars, webinars or other activities. Some have also been involved with the Fulbright Association and local Fulbright Chapters.

When I came back I became very active in the Fulbright Chapter, later becoming the president of the chapter for two consecutive years. I invited new Fulbright scholars of color to be part of the board in order to mirror the diversity of the city. I created connections with colleges and universities and consulates. I used the brand of Fulbright to brand our chapter! I am currently very active at all levels in my community.

- Alumna, Venezuela, 2005


56% of respondents maintained contact with Fulbright Commissions and U.S. embassies in their host countries. A third has served as panel reviewers, and 21% participated in events and lectures organized by the Fulbright Commissions and embassies. Scholars were interested in being more involved with the outreach and review processes and to serve as resources for the Fulbright Program.

Since landing a tenure track job, I have enriched my home community by serving as scholarship adviser--a post we did not have and one that I created in order to promote the Fulbright Commission's offerings and to support students in their applications. I have also served on the Fulbright Commission's selections committee at my home institution.

- Alumna, Germany, 2007


Institutional Support for Fulbright

42% of scholars advocated more Fulbright-friendly policies at their home institution. As a direct result of the scholars’ participation in the Fulbright Program and their advocacy, 31% of institutions designated over 850 Fulbright Scholar Liaisons and Fulbright Program Advisors. Over the years, 25% of scholars personally participated in formal Fulbright advising for prospective candidates as a Fulbright Program Advisrs or Fulbright Scholar Liaisons.

For many years I was the campus Fulbright Liaison for faculty members and students. Three faculty members who I encouraged to apply for Fulbright were awarded them last year. Although I am no longer liaison, I work closely with the new one.

- Alumna, Ecuador, 2005


Scholars in other administrative roles on campus have also been able to directly promote the U.S. and Visiting Fulbright program.

After completing my Fulbright grant I ran for and was elected to the advisory committee of the Center for Latino and Latin American Studies at my university and served for a number of years. I supported expansion of the number of Fulbright visitors to our campus and encouraged my colleagues to apply for the program.

- Alumna, Peru, 2005


Institutions also increased their support for application process and for participation in the Fulbright program.









Upon my first Fulbright in 1998, my institution required I apply for a sabbatical in order to have the time off teaching at my institution. Through [my] lobbying, Fulbright Awards are now viewed as prestigious and given necessary time.

- Alumnus, Philippines, 2005

My institution made substantive changes in the way it dealt with Fulbright recipients. The university developed a plan to provide health insurance for faculty during their Fulbright grants and agreed to continue contributions to retirement accounts even though faculty were not "formally employed" by the university during their tenures as Fulbright participants. Such recognition of the importance of the Fulbright programs by the university was seen by faculty as a positive development.

- Alumnus, Egypt, 2010


Scholars recognize that often times it is the effect of having multiple Fulbright scholars and students on campus that creates the change in institutional policies towards the Fulbright program and other international exchanges.

I was one of numerous Fulbright recipients who collectively encouraged institutional change.

- Alumnus, Argentina, 2006

My home institution is very supportive of Fulbright scholars and students, both those visiting, as well as those of us visiting other countries. Thus, although such programs have strengthened at my home institution since my Fulbright, this is not necessarily a direct result of my award, but my colleagues' and student awards as well.

- Alumnus, United Kingdom, 2014


Of the 59% of scholars who reported no change to the institutional policy in support of the Fulbright program, some did not report change because their institutions were already highly internationalized, while others encountered challenges and disinterest from their institutions.


First-hand experience of the benefits of the international academic exchange led scholars to promote campus internationalization at their home institutions. Scholars also actively served as informal Fulbright champions encouraging their students and colleagues to pursue the Fulbright grants and working with their departments to increase institutional support for Fulbrighters. Scholars also combined their technical skills and positive belief in the value of international experience to maintain and develop international collaborations that are discussed in more detail in the next chapter.



My interest in international collaborations was increased by my Fulbright experience. This led to my participation in a Fulbright Specialist project in Iceland. This has led to continuing interactions with colleagues there in both teaching and research areas.

- Alumnus, Thailand, 2011

Continuation and increase in international collaborations indicates that U.S. Fulbright scholars continue to prioritize these types of collaborations and opportunities for international exchange well after their Fulbright experience.


90% of scholars widened their research networks during their Fulbright Program. They continued leveraging these networks for collaborations after completing the program. Scholars developed research collaborations with their host institutions and other institutions and colleagues in their host country and other countries.

The greatest gain was in the research networks and collaborations that resulted from the research abroad. This has continued to be a productive part of my work life, and I have invited and enabled colleagues on exchange here in the US.

- Alumna, Norway, 2007

The contacts I made while in Ireland enabled me to meet (by internet and, in many cases, eventually in person) many excellent mathematicians working on related problems, about whom I had been unaware. These contacts remain useful ten years later.

- Alumnus, Ireland, 2009


From their collaboration during the Fulbright Program, scholars learned best practices in international collaboration, such as the importance of ownership on behalf of all parties. 

My experiences in Malawi brought my cultural awareness to a new level. I had thought my primary purpose was to facilitate the host program's success. Only after returning home and learning that nearly all of my curricular efforts (leading the team as we designed a revised curriculum with all new course syllabi including outcomes driven learning objectives) were abandoned, did I begin to know how critical it was for the host to lead and own any revisions to their program.

- Alumna, Malawi, 2012



96% of scholars increased their knowledge and understanding of the capacity of higher education institutions in the host country. Coupled with the networks these scholars established during their visit, scholars have continued these relationships with their host country through professional collaborations, exchange, and research trips. Furthermore, 67% of scholars returned to their host countries for professional activities.

Collaborations with Host Institution

Many scholars built on their relationship with the host institution colleagues to continue working together on projects they started during the Fulbright program and to develop new projects.  Additionally, since completing their Fulbright Program, 39% of scholars developed new curricula for their host institution.

Due to this opportunity I established a new - and main - research collaboration with a [host country] colleague. We have started a project now that has lasted 5 years and involved a relatively large number of undergraduate and graduate students at my home institution, together with my home institution colleagues. In this context we have substantially pushed forward research on automated mathematical discovery.

- Alumnus, Belgium, 2013

I developed a research program with my Mexican collaborators that was funded by the National Science Foundation. The collaboration led to an endangered tree species conservation network in Mexico and Central America that has taken on a life of its own. The scientific and conservation work is still ongoing, as is the distributed graduate seminar we co-taught.

- Alumna, Mexico, 2011

Returned a year later with two U.S. colleagues to conduct a one-week short course in their subfield (manufacturing engineering) at host, funded by home institution. The proposal for this was developed jointly, including permanent curriculum expansion.

- Alumnus, Sri Lanka, 2005

I co-designed one new course and substantially revised another one with a colleague from my host University. He continues to teach those courses.

- Alumnus, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 2009


Home and Host Student Collaborations

After their Fulbright, scholars have also been able to promote opportunities for their home and host students to collaborate.

I was a Fulbright Scholar in Kenya. It was glorious. Thank you. I invited 6 students and one faculty member from my host institution to travel to the U.S. to work with my students for a 10-day cultural/educational exchange. We made original films together in our 48 Hour Film Festival. We merged cultures and my American students gained so much insight about the world, art, identity, and cultural acceptance.

- Alumnus, Kenya, 2014

After completing the grant, my faculty host and I connected our students. We developed a list of questions we then had our individual students complete. We set up a type of Skype session where the two groups of students were able to converse and interact. Students learned about how our program functioned in Slovenia, and Slovenian students learned the same about the U.S. Finally, my [host] faculty host travelled to my U.S. institution and completed a number of guest lectures.

- Alumna, Slovenia, 2006

A group of high school students prepared videos that I used throughout my Fulbright year. After I returned, I went back to this group who were still in high school and talked with them about Norway, describing how teens had responded to their videos. Many of these students were ethnic minorities who came from immigrant and sometimes impoverished backgrounds. They were shocked that Norwegian teens cared about their lives. I worked with them until they graduated, even speaking at their graduation.

- Alumna, Norway, 2009


Collaborations Beyond Host Institution

Because scholars expanded their networks and better understood the value of international collaborations, they successfully pursued international collaborations beyond their host institution. These collaborations most often included other institutions in their host country.

The Fulbright research project four years ago was a seed effort that has grown into rich long-term research collaborations between myself and four colleagues at three universities in the host country, which have since been funded by non-Fulbright sources. The Fulbright opportunity created transformative international connections.

- Alumnus, United Kingdom, 2015

I co-curated an exhibition with an artist from France that was exhibited in Sweden. The exhibition included 102 artists from both France and the US as well as Sweden and Germany. It was exhibited in Sweden and also had a catalog published. There were thousands of visitors to this exhibition as it was up for 6 months.

- Alumna, France, 2013


Institutionalized Collaborations

Some of the collaborations discussed above were linked to the individual scholars, however many of them have also been able to institutionalize these collaborations. 23% of scholars reported that their home institutions signed over 1100 memorandums of understanding with institutions from their host country.

My Fulbright was transformative. I had no connection to China before the Fulbright. (1) After returning home I started a summer program for my host institution students. We now welcome students from multiple countries. In the 8 years we have run the program, more than 120 foreign students have attended. (2) I expanded my research to Comparative Legal Ethics. I have published 3 articles on legal ethics in China. (3) My school now has a productive MOU with my host institution.

- Alumna, China, 2009

I created an Institute for International Business Collaboration at my home institution. I now assist other faculty develop and implement collaborative assignments with faculty and students at foreign partner schools around the world.

- Alumna, Germany, 2013


Joint Grants

One of the indicators of an advanced collaboration with another institution is a joint application for a grant because it signals their interest to continue working together and willingness to invest in the collaboration. Given that some scholars have existing funding or are unable to locate the right grant for their work,36% of scholars developed grant proposals jointly with host institution or country colleagues.

I developed a research collaboration between my home institution, the Fulbright host institution and two other institutions. We wrote a research grant to study Romanian immigrant adjustment in Italy. Results were published in Italian, Romanian and English.

- Alumnus, Romania, 2011


Collaborations Beyond the Host Country

Scholars expanded their international work to other countries and around the world and sometimes these collaborations included multi-national partnerships.

Through a contact made during my Fulbright experience, a partnership was formed between my home institution and German, French, and Mexican institutions. This collaborative effort annually brought together groups of students working in our respective residence halls to share their experiences and exchange innovative approaches to their work.

- Alumna, Germany, 2010

My 'home community' suddenly shifted from the U.S. to China as I moved to a new academic position largely because of my UK Fulbright. I was able to use the cutting edge understanding of my field that I acquired in the UK immediately afterward in teaching doctoral and Erasmus Mundus courses in China; the latter were the first of their kind in the Mainland.

- Alumna, United Kingdom, 2013



Two thirds of scholars had been in touch with other Fulbrighters. They were more likely to be in contact with other Fulbright scholars from the U.S. and their communication was also more frequent with them than with non-U.S. Fulbrighters. Scholars who participated in the IEA seminar were more likely to be in touch with other Fulbrighters, likely because of the cohort nature of their program.

Approximately 60% of scholars agreed that other Fulbrighters were important professional contacts and resources. 21% of respondents collaborated with other Fulbrighters on new research, teaching, or other projects.

I developed an art exhibition with another Fulbrighter who had been in the same country that ranked as one of the top shows in our city for that year. The photos were all taken during research trips and the sculptures were all responses to experiences gathered during the Fulbright.

- Alumnus, India, 2013

My project "Voices of Partition" led directly to grant for our project "On Common Ground" focused on the effect of violence on public space. 5 Fulbright alumni from U.S. & Pakistan were involved in this project. 3 of us presented on this project at the most recent Fulbright Association conference.

- Alumna, India, 2010


Scholars found value in being in touch with other Fulbrighters beyond working together.



The Fulbright U.S. Scholar program served as a catalyst for collaborations between the scholars’ home institutions and their host institutions or other institutions outside of the U.S. It also brought together and created a network of likeminded professionals who continue to work together to change their professional fields. The next chapter looks at the knowledge scholars produced as a result of their participation in the Fulbright program.


Scholars contributed, in their work and publications, to an increase and spread of knowledge in their home and professional communities. As a result of the Fulbright Program, in an average year, 919 alumni completed at least 1270 books, and 1165 alumni completed a total of 2625 peer-reviewed journal articles, since the completion of their grants.


Because of the first 2 Fulbrights to Mexico, I was able to write and defend a doctoral dissertation with distinction because of the research; also, published a book based on Fulbright Research; and currently completing second book on research culled almost entirely from second Fulbright. I owe my research funding and findings to these Fulbright Fellowships.

- Alumnus, Mexico, 2005

Research I completed during my Fulbright experience contributed as well to a documentary reader that I co-edited with two other scholars, and that book (recently published) will soon see use as a text for undergraduate and graduate students who study Jewish American history.

- Alumnus, Netherlands, 2010


Over 400 scholars in creative fields produced over 2000 works of art, exhibitions, musical compositions, and artistic performances.

I was able to transcribe Korean percussion music to Western notation from selected Korean master performers. I use this daily with Korean percussion ensembles at my home institution.

- Alumna, South Korea, 2010

I returned to Ghana for research, performances, study abroad with our home institution students, and screening of my new “We Are One” film, whose theme is community.

- Alumnus, Ghana, 2015


Scholars’ research and Fulbright experience has also been featured in local and national media.

Wrote and published a book of essays in English and French in Morocco which was widely reviewed on TV and in the press.

- Alumna, Morocco, 2007

Documentary "Into the Light," about my Fulbright experience training opera singers and making the opera in Dublin, was aired on RTE Irish Public TV and shown in various university and community library programs here in Connecticut.

- Alumna, Ireland, 2008



Scholars continue applying their knowledge and skills gained during the Fulbright program to produce a significant number of articles, presentations, books, and works of art that advance their professional fields and serve to benefit the greater community.


The U.S. Fulbright Scholar program posits that alumni who return from their grant opportunity will be able to influence their wider home and host communities over time. 42% of scholars indicated that they have observed changes in these communities, particularly influenced by their work and research.


Impact of Fulbright Projects

Scholars shared the lasting effect their Fulbright-related work had on their host institutions. Host institutions made the courses that scholar created a part of their permanent curriculum and integrated best practices in their professional field that scholars shared with them into their work. Host communities have also benefited from the outcomes of the scholars’ Fulbright projects.

I taught block printing in India at various art schools. They continue to use my syllabus for this class.

- Alumna, India,2008

More culturally sensitive mental health services were provided to students at my host institution. I have also been able to help develop a better understanding among Chinese mental health professionals of the critical nature of confidentiality and similar policies that provide an effective foundation for depth-oriented psychotherapy.

- Alumnus, China, 2012

The Fulbright solid waste management research and sustainable watershed plan we collaboratively developed positively impacted vulnerable populations in Guatemala.

- Alumnus, Guatemala, 2013


Impact of Post-Fulbright Work

Scholars impacted their host community and country through continuous and new international collaborations.

Since my Fulbright in Namibia I've joined the faculty at the University of Michigan Law School. I've created a summer internship program were UM law schools spend their summer working in legal internships at Namibian NGOs and governmental legal departments.

- Alumnus, Namibia, 2009

After my Fulbright experience, the 8 Hong Kong universities, plus 1 private college, and the U of Macau have adopted a new 4-year curriculum (from 3-year) incorporated large chunks of general education. Along with some other Fulbright scholars engaged in this education reform, I returned to Hong Kong & Macau to assist in various ways to promote and implement the new general education curriculum.

- Alumnus, Hong Kong, 2010

My husband and I created a charitable organization directly related to my Fulbright in India. With students at my home institution we produce an annual benefit cabaret to support "Wheels for Women", a program that provides driver training and vehicles to victims of domestic violence and the sex trade in Kerala, India.

- Alumna, India, 2010; Pakistan, 2012



The impact on home communities took place after the Fulbright program, as the scholars were applying the knowledge and understandings gained during the Program.


30% of scholars have observed increased international collaboration and 24% observed increased involvement in international education exchange for scholars and students in organizations beyond their home institution. 10% of scholars also indicated that there has been an increase in institutional policies to support international education exchange and international collaboration beyond their home institution.

Through my Fulbright grant experience, a non-profit agency was developed (Bi-national Arts Institute). Through this agency, we have strengthened bi-national collaboration for concerts and youth workshops. We collaborate with other 501-c-3s that focus on bi-national exchange and arts.

- Alumna, Mexico, 2012


Use of Research

Almost 500 scholars (16%) observed how their research outcomes were applied to implement new policies and practices in government and business fields as well as other community outcomes of their research.

Based on [my grant research] about return migration in Mexico, the government ended the paperwork requirement for students entering elementary schools from the U.S.

- Alumna, Mexico, 2015

The earthquake modeling for Nevada and NZ developed during my Fulbright, along with improved urban geotechnical methods, convinced Clark County and the City of Henderson, NV to complete the first-ever earthquake hazard map by direct measurement. The 3-yr, $7.5M mapping project by these municipalities, the University of Nevada, and a geophysical-services company started by my graduates. As a result, the 3M residents of Las Vegas enjoy improved resilience to earthquake disaster.

- Alumnus, New Zealand, 2006

I brought my enhanced understanding of Greek and Turkish Mediterranean water resource management to advise my New York and broader US home community on how to manage scarce water resources, particularly in utilizing satellite based rain monitoring networks and in managing ground water pumping.

- Alumnus, Cyprus, 2006


Lessons’ Transfer From Host to Home Community

Scholars brought back lessons from their research and the practices they observed in the host community. Upon arrival to their home communities, they have been able to apply and share these lessons with interested parties and connect the home and host communities and organizations on the common subject.

Provided guidance to community organizations as to how they might work with Native American groups based on what I observed in Canada. And enabled such organizations to contact First Nations groups and Canadian civic organizations to facilitate information exchange and possible collaboration.

- Alumnus, Canada, 2005

I studied a remarkable forced migrant community in Istanbul. When I returned to Bloomington, Indiana, I was much more aware of the refugee experience and ended up working to establish a local group there to support refugees. I got my church to support Syrian refugees when they later went to Turkey. When I retired I focused my energies on the new refugees.

- Alumna, Turkey, 2008



Volunteering was one of the avenues through which scholars engaged and impacted their home community. In the past 12 months, 81% of scholars has engaged in volunteering and community service. 86% of female scholars volunteered compared to 76% of male scholars; they also volunteered more frequently than male scholars.  

The variety of the community and volunteering work that scholars engage in varies greatly. Oftentimes, scholars were involved in more than one type of activity. At least 13% of scholars served on boards of non-profit organizations, community organizations, and university or school-related organizations. Approximately 9% of scholars engaged in community work through their religious organizations. Scholars have also been politically active, changing the legislations through demonstrations, public education, and by volunteering at or running for political campaigns. Many scholars spoke at events, delivered lectures, and taught to people of different ages.

My Fulbright experience has made me keenly aware of the freedoms and responsibilities that Americans have. I have been involved in political work over the past year as we are all challenged to defend the institutions that we cherish and that citizens elsewhere admire. I am touched to hear from my [international] students that they are counting on us to protect our democracy so that it remains an example -however imperfect - for others.

- Alumna, China, 2013

Serving on nonprofit boards and volunteering in community projects including serving on the board of a food coop and volunteering at a community organized recycling program. Also, providing one on one support to two neighborhood individuals who were at risk of losing their homes because of unpaid property taxes in a previously African-American now gentrified neighborhood.

- Alumna, South Africa, 2015

I volunteer my time at local schools that have a poor track-record of college-bound students. I hold discussions and meet with students to encourage them to pursue a college degree. I also volunteer my time at elderly-care facilities to give lectures or share information about my research trips.

- Alumnus, Singapore, 2012


Among the two largest populations that scholars worked with were immigrants, in particular refugees, and homeless people. Scholars worked to help new refugees and immigrants adjust to their communities and to encourage refugee-friendly attitudes and policies in their communities, nationally, and internationally. Scholars supported the homeless people in their communities by volunteering at soup kitchens and shelters and by working on long-term solutions for homelessness.

I created a service learning project in my world literature course which involved building and training teams of college students to help refugee families adjust to life in the U.S.

- Alumna, Lithuania, 2006

Work is mostly at professional national level; I am president of section of major national organization. Over past two years the key issue has been refugees, trying to formulate ways of maintaining refuge during extremely difficult times globally and in many of the traditional resettlement countries, including the United States.

- Alumnus, South Korea, 2005

I work with an organization dedicated to helping homeless and drug addicts to receive training to reenter the work force and become self-sufficient.

- Alumnus, Canada, 2005

My daughter, now in college but who was with us in Argentina for the Fulbright, won a community service fellowship at her university and works with a refugee-resettlement nonprofit there.

- Alumnus, Argentina, 2010



Scholars’ research was relevant to and helped address the challenges faced by their host communities. Furthermore, scholars developed commitment to their host communities and over the years identified ways to remain involved. Scholars also applied the lessons from their host community or Fulbright research to the benefit of their home community. Many scholars volunteered, and oftentimes applied their Fulbright experience to their community service.



As Fulbright scholars we are cultural ambassadors when we are abroad. I continued with that concept back home in the United States, sharing my work from Colombia with American audiences, with the idea of furthering cross-cultural understanding.

- Alumnus, Colombia, 2010


68% of scholars actively engaged in activities that increase mutual, cross-cultural understanding between American people and people of their host country.

Many scholars build mutual understanding through their joint work with international colleagues. As one scholar put it, “collaboration in research leads to mutual understanding.” Though usually this type of mutual understanding-building is not visible to the general public, the artistic collaborations were exceptions in that general public may experience and participate in them.

In collaboration with a theatre company in Pakistan, I created an original piece of theatre based on interviews with Partition survivors and brought that piece to the U.S. Over 2000 people in the U.S. attended our performances, and thus learned about a chapter in history that changed the world. <…> Our theatre company members from Pakistan stayed with host families in the Boston community, and lasting friendships were established. Several expressed to me that that experience of hosting guests from Pakistan changed their perception of people from that part of the world.

- Alumna, India, 2010; Pakistan 2012


Scholars also have incorporated cultural knowledge and cross-cultural understanding into their work. 90% of scholars shared knowledge related to their host country with their students, colleagues, and community.

We remain cross-cultural allies in the face of nationalist and isolationist tendencies around the world.

- Alumna, Croatia, 2015


International Understanding Through Teaching

Some scholars who teach incorporated cross-cultural perspective of their professional field into their work, while others added examples from their Fulbright host country experience throughout their lectures and dedicated seminars.

As a teacher at home, I often refer to my experiences in Sri Lanka. I lecture about the various ways dance and performance are used to heal individuals and communities at large that witness rituals. Tis intent 'to heal' can be applied to the intent of the performer anywhere. I encourage the students I work with to have this in mind as they construct their public performances.

- Alumna, Sri Lanka, 2013

As an American Studies scholar, I formed very specific notions as to the impact of U.S. political, literary, and artistic cultures on people in Belgium, the Netherlands, and France. As a consequence, I emphasize to my American students that what we say and do here in the U.S. (particularly with respect to race, class, and gender) plays out internationally in often invisible ways.

- Alumnus, Belgium, 2009


International Understanding Through Publications

Books and movies that scholars created about their host countries inspired others in their professional field and beyond to pursue work with individuals in these countries and travel to these countries. Responses indicated that scholars hoped they may have changed some readers or viewers’ perspectives about their host cultures.

Since the primary outcome of my Fulbright experience was a book about my time in Russia, it has had some effects in communities beyond my home. I know this because people have written me and told me that they have become interested in or gone to Russia because of reading my book about Russia. These individuals have since gone on to play roles in organizations including universities, NGOs, and governmental organizations.

- Alumnus, Russia, 2011

My creative writing, published widely, is read by many people who have had no prior knowledge of or experience with Uruguay. While the impact is "soft," I believe it is nevertheless significant in bridging cultures.

- Alumnus, Uruguay, 2012


Hosting International Visitors

Scholars highlighted how they have hosted visitors and brought cross-cultural perspective and awareness to their institutions and larger community.

We hosted a Greek Fulbright scholar who worked with our students and community. He commissioned works from our students, performed a concert with institutional and community attendees, and increased our community's cross-cultural awareness.

- Alumna, Greece, 2014

In my current institution I have worked with programs to bring Bundestag scholars to our community colleges. This can be challenging because of cost but we have been successful in bringing at least 2 student scholars in the last 3 years. The presence of these students in our Hawaii classrooms has led to many discussions and expansion of ideas and mutual understanding of the value of diversity in a multicultural world.

- Alumna, Germany, 2007


Culture Brokers

Some scholars have taken on the role of culture brokers where they help people from groups whose experience may differ from that of the majority, communicate their experiences.

One of the local NGOs with which I work was founded on our campus by a non-traditional alum who is also a refugee. I often serve as a "cultural ambassador" within our organization because I am able to help "translate" to the American board some of the realities that our executive director faces on in the field.

- Alumna, Jordan, 2012


Friends and Advocates

Scholars reached out to minority ethnic and immigrant groups in their home communities. They established relationships with people who belong to these groups, and served as brokers and advocates together with them.

As a result of my unexpected introduction to Roma issues in Spain, I have sought out Roma communities in California, and some have come to visit my classes as special guests.

- Alumnus, Spain, 2013

Our film has been broadcast nationally on HBO and received a 2010 Academy-award nomination. Our film has been used by US immigration justices, FEMA, ICE and U.S. Border Patrol for training. WHICH WAY HOME has also been used by government officials and educational organizations in Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, etc.

- Alumna, Mexico, 2007


In some instances, scholars were present to observe the change in attitude and actions that followed their advocacy and experience-sharing.

I lectured to the faculty and staff at my home institution on geriatric care in South Africa. I also relayed my experiences in 2 dementia clinics in SA to people working with dementia in the U.S. My offer to speak at my church was declined. My influence one to one with church members had an impact as our church choir visited SA this year. I was told that my talking about my experiences in SA influenced their comfort level and enabled them to plan the very successful trip.

- Alumna, South Africa, 2010



For some scholars, being a racial minority in their host country helped them build empathy towards minority or disadvantaged Americans and incorporate this understanding in their teaching and research.  

I did cross-cultural research, comparing responses in both countries on differences in seeking mental health treatment. I experienced "other race effects" which helped my work as an expert witness, looking at biases in determining guilt in court when the suspects were of an ethnic minority.

- Alumna, Macau, 2006


Many scholars have been able to leverage their leadership positions to promote diversity and inclusion in their home institution.

I've taking multiple training opportunities to improve the inclusiveness of my teaching, and I am chair of the "Diversity Catalyst Team" of my college. Having lived in a very diverse area in France inspired this work.

- Alumna, France, 2010

After completing my Fulbright, I was able to enhance my abilities to attract underrepresented students to my lab.

- Alumna, Argentina, 2009


Some of the institutional and governmental changes discussed in the previous chapter focus on diversity as well.  

I am involved in a statewide coalition in support of Ethnic Studies (ES) that became the state policy last week—mind you, in a very conservative state like Texas. I also run a Saturday school that operates as a partnership w the City of Austin in the Austin ISD where ES curriculum is taught (not a charter school). We also passed ES districtwide such that AISD has the largest HS program in Texas. These are among significant firsts for our city, district, and state.

- Alumna, Mexico, 2008


Some scholars saw their work and research result in opportunities for diversity.

Because of my work in Italy, the deaf storyteller, Gabriele Caia, now makes eBooks in Italian Sign Language with us. Also, Krister Schoenstroem, from Stockholm University, learned about the eBook project while I was in Italy and he then worked with us to make one eBook in Swedish Sign Language.

- Alumna, Italy, 2015

The research outcomes from my Fulbright Fellowship have been integrated in my community-based research by focusing on diverse racial/ethnic and socioeconomic older adults.

- Alumna, Finland, 2010


Finally, scholars worked on promoting diversity in the Fulbright Program.

I created a Fulbright Research Community with Fulbright Women in the academia overseas. We have worked cooperatively on conducting research on female leadership in the academia. We have already published and delivered our research findings at conferences. I have advocated in Congress for more funds for the program, speak at Fulbright conferences on increasing the diversity in the Fulbright programs. I have involved community college faculty and students in considering Fulbright grant application.

- Alumna, Venezuela, 2005



Scholars continuously built mutual, cross-cultural understanding through their teaching, research, publications, collaborations, and informal communication. Sometimes building mutual understanding was a deliberate intent, but more often it was an underlying way in which they approached all their work.


The impact evaluation of the Fulbright U.S. Scholar program found that the program impact is more lasting than previously anticipated. The evaluation team anticipated to see diminishing results of the program participation over the years. However, we found that the impact of the Fulbright U.S. Scholar program on the scholars, and their communities, both academic and beyond, only increases over the years.

The Fulbright U.S. Scholar program enhanced the participants’ technical and intercultural skills and knowledge. Having completed their program between 3 and 13 years prior to the evaluation, scholars continue applying these skills and knowledge to their teaching, research, mentoring, and creative work. Through the technical changes to their professional work and approach to interaction with others, they continuously impact their colleagues and future generations of professionals in the U.S. and beyond. The program also led to increased interest in and value of international academic exchange and fostered international partnerships.

All these activities ultimately contribute to people in the U.S. and abroad being able to transcend their differences to work together to advance human knowledge, solve problems and, ultimately, to live together in a large international community.

For any questions about this report, please contact IIE’s Research, Evaluation and Learning team: