Fulbright Frequently Asked Questions
My project can be done in a number of countries. How should I choose the country for which I apply?
Competitiveness within a country or region may play a role in where you may wish to apply. But generally speaking, you should choose the country that best suits your project and the one where the resources necessary for its successful completion exist. Selection committees will consider the specific reasons you have stated for applying to go to a country, as well as the feasibility of your project and your academic preparation to undertake the project. Language skills may also be a factor in where you decide to apply.
My project doesn't really offer anything in the way of promoting cultural understanding (e.g. hard science projects). Am I still a competitive candidate?
Certainly, there are other ways that you can promote mutual and cultural understanding outside of your project. Grantees are encouraged to get involved in cultural and/or community activities, such as teaching English or American Studies, volunteering with a non-profit organization, or giving presentations to local groups or in schools. Everyone can do this no matter the nature of their projects and you should address ways that you can engage in the host community in your proposal.
My project needs to be conducted in two different countries. Can I apply to conduct research in more than one country?
The US Student Program is designed to promote mutual understanding which is best accomplished through spending a significant amount of time in one country. However, multi-country proposals are possible. Pay close attention to which countries or world regions permit multi-country proposals. You will submit a single proposal for a single project that will be carried out in 2 or 3 eligible countries in the same world region. Keep in mind that you will need to provide a sound rationale for why the particular project needs to take place in more than one country, indicate the amount of time that you will spend in each country, identify affiliations in each country, obtain the necessary research clearances, and meet all other country specific requirements or preferences. Furthermore if you are recommended for a grant, all the countries to which you applied must approve your application.
Can I apply to study for a degree in the host country?
With a few exceptions, Fulbright grants are for one academic year. If the degree program that you propose is longer, you will need to have other funding for the additional time. Be aware that some countries explicitly state that degree study is not eligible. In all cases, Fulbright grants can not be applied to study for a medical degree, nor would you be eligible for study beyond the first year (i.e. you are currently enrolled in a degree program at an foreign university and you want to use the grant to fund the second year at the same institution.)
The country to which will to apply states a preference for graduate students. Since I'll be a graduating senior at the time I apply, am I still competitive?
While some countries state a preference for graduate students, graduating seniors are welcome to apply to any country and can be competitive. These countries are primarily interested candidates who are capable of working independently. So you should be sure to address your particular skills and background for independent work.
Can a I apply for an IIE Fulbright grant to pursue an internship with an organization overseas, either as part of a research project or the internship on its own as the only focus of the grant?
Internships, with the exception of the Fulbright Internships to Taiwan, cannot be the sole purpose of applying for a Fulbright grant. However, an internship can be part of a broader study or research plan.
If a student receives a Fulbright award, is payment of student loans deferred?
IIE will work with students to receive graduate fellowship deferments of their student loans during Fulbright status. Students are responsible for securing the forms (EDU) from their lenders, completing their sections and forwarding the forms to IIE for certification. Information on deferring student loans during Fulbright status is provided to grantees upon their official acceptance of an award.
I recently received my degree. Can I still apply through my former university?
Yes, you may apply through Hamilton. Contact the Student Fellowships Coordinator for assistance.
I am not currently enrolled nor do I plan to enroll in a graduate program. Am I still eligible?
You do not need to be currently enrolled in a college or university to apply for a Fulbright grant nor do you have to plan on attending graduate school in the near future.
Do I need to speak the language of the host country?
Depending on the country and the nature of the project, applicants with little or no knowledge of the host country language may still be competitive. Unless the country summary specifically states language proficiency, an applicant need only have the necessary language skills to complete the project that they have designed given whatever language skills they have. Therefore, applicants should design projects that are feasible given their skills.
Explain "language proficiency."
At a minimum, this means that you should have completed at least two years of college level study or its equivalent, at the time of application. In addition, your language skills must be commensurate with the needs of your project. If you do not have proficiency at that time of application, then you should address ways that you are improving your language skills on Form 8A of the application.
How will time spent in the country to which I apply affect my candidacy?
Generally speaking, candidates who have spent more than six months in the host country in the last five years will be less competitive, especially if it has been in the year prior to or during application period. This excludes undergraduate study abroad. For some countries, however, time spent in the country for language training or a short-term living/work experience can be an advantage, particularly in situations where the language is not generally taught in the U.S. or living conditions are dramatically different than in the U.S.
Who needs an affiliation?
All applicants, except those applying to ETA programs and a few country programs, will need a host country affiliation. The affiliation is an institution, organization, agency, or individual in the host country that will supervise the grantee and/or provide logistical support to grantee in carrying out the project. For those who propose to enroll in coursework, the affiliation will be an academic institution.
What constitutes an affiliation? How does affiliation work?
The exact nature of the affiliation will depend upon your project and the resources or academic support that institution/organization can provide you. For most recent graduates and masters' level students, institutional affiliation involves one or more of the following: a staff or faculty member(s) who can serve as a mentor/adviser; access to computer, archival, laboratory, or office resources; permission to audit courses on a non-credit basis. Affiliation for doctoral level applicants must be very specific in terms of how the institution/organization will support their research.
Do I need to establish affiliation on my own?
For most countries, the candidate is responsible for identifying and securing affiliations. In some countries, the Commission or Post may place you in an appropriate institution, or aid grantees in placement.
Does IIE provide a list of host institutions where past grantees have been affiliated?
No, IIE does not provide such a list.
How do I go about establishing an affiliation?
The best place to begin is to ask current faculty, advisers, or mentors if they can guide your research for an appropriate affiliation in the host country. In many cases, determining and making contact with an appropriate affiliation will take committed research and perseverance on the applicant's part. When you have identified a potential host send an introductory letter or email telling them about your project and the type of support that you seek. Even if you are just enrolling in courses while conducting independent research, you will need a mentor or supervisor. Keep in mind that many institutions are closed during the summer months so you may want to begin early and heat up your search in the early fall.
I've found an affiliation. What should the letter of affiliation state? Are there any guidelines?
There are no specific requirements for the letter of support. Every affiliation relationship will be different depending upon the candidate's project. In general, the letter should be on letterhead, where appropriate, and should state how the individual or host institution/ organization will help the applicant facilitate the project (e.g., what resources will be offered, the type of supervision, etc). The letter can also speak to ways that the project will support the work of the organization, advance specific knowledge in the discipline, and/or support important issues in the host country. In other words, the letter should outline the nature of the relationship between the organization/institution/individual and the applicant.
English Teaching Assistantships
Can I indicate a preference to location in the host country?
It is not recommended. Placements are made on the basis of the needs of the host institution and the prospective grantee's background and experience.
Since I am not conducting a full project how do I approach the Statement of Proposed Study?
The teaching assignment is the reason for the grant. Therefore, you may include any or all of the following in your Statement.
- Why you would like be a language teaching assistant abroad.
- Why you have chosen the particular country
- How your background and academic preparation relates to the particular ETA country program and the responsibilities that you are expected to carry out.
- How you expect to benefit from the assignment, and what use you will make of the experience upon your return to the United States.
In addition, most country programs expect grantees to engage in other activities related to their personal, career and/or educational interests. Applicants should consider a project that they intend to pursue if awarded the grant. Keep in mind that these activities should be flexible respective to geographic location, since you will not know where you will be placed. Depending in the country, you may pursue a course of study, conduct research into topics or issues relative to host country, engage in specific volunteer activities, or a combination of these. In the Statement of Proposed Study, briefly describe the project plan and include some or all of the following:
- why the activities are appropriate to host country,
- skills, talents or other qualifications that you bring to the project plan,
- how you view this plan as contributing to your professional or educational development, and
- if and how the plan contributes to the Fulbright goals of mutual understanding and host community engagement. Remember that the primary activity for ETAs is teaching and not the project.
Do ETA applicants need a letter of affiliation?
Since you do not know where you will be placed, you do not indicate an affiliation nor need a letter.
I have a master's degree in TESOL. Or I have been a teacher for five years. Am I eligible?
This is a Teaching Assistantship, not a teaching position. If you have a TESOL degree and/or significant teaching experience (more than five years), you may wish to consider one of other Fulbright Teaching awards
, or programs through the Office of English Language Programs at the Department of State
or a full Fulbright research grant.
Do I need a teaching certificate to apply?
No. Some programs do not require any teaching experience (e.g. South Korea, France, Germany). Others prefer some experience in teaching, tutoring, and/or coursework in education. Successful applicants will demonstrate an interest in teaching and language learning and be creative, innovative self-starters. Teaching assignments differ according to country, so read the summaries for specific preferences and requirements.
Can I apply for both an English Teaching Assistantship and a full grant?
No. Applicants may only submit a single proposal per year, so you must choose between the English Teaching Assistantship and the full grant. Both types of grants are submitted using the same application form.
Can I apply to more than one ETA country program, e.g. Chile and Argentina?
No, you must choose one country to which you will apply.