University of California – Berkeley, affiliated with Linguistics Department
Before you apply for a Fulbright Grant you should definitely have a clear understanding of what you want to accomplish in one years’ time in an American university. That is the most important thing you need to do. As long as you have the plan - all your expectations, ideas and plans thoroughly thought through –a university that you picked up and Fulbright experience in general will become everything that you’ve dreamt about.
During my graduate years in Russia I gradually came up with the list of things that I need: more research possibilities, ability to get first-hand knowledge of the latest research in linguistics, opportunities to discuss your ideas with the faculty working in different spheres. So at UC Berkeley I found a greatest library: you can find here any book, article or journal that you need, and if it happens that they don’t have it at the moment, thanks to inter-library loan system, you can still get it in a short time. All visiting researchers have a right to audit any class: professors are very welcoming and helpful, lectures and discussions are well-organized and informative. Besides inter-disciplinary research being a common thing, it will give you a chance to acquire new perspective to your own research and learn what is happening in other spheres.
And of course another thing that any well-rounded person would savor is that Fulbright provides infinite possibilities to learn new things about the world and about yourself: meeting other Fulbrighters from all over the world and making friends with people who you would never meet in any other circumstances, travelling and learning something new every day.
I’ve travelled all over California, one of the most beautiful spots in the world, which has everything to satisfy even the most insatiable appetite for various new experiences and thirst for new knowledge. Just to name a few, I’ve seen the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz and visited the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, have been to Disneyland, Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Malibu Beach, watched the whales migrating and the monarch butterflies wintering in Monterey, learnt to surf, and experienced encounter with Pacific region cultures. And later this year there will be more travelling as I plan to go to New York for a Fulbright Enrichment Seminar.
So for those who are planning to come to America on Fulbright next year, I can say that this program is definitely worth all the time you spent on interviews and applications as it’s full of new opportunities and the only thing you need to do once you get to a university is to be prepared to get all the various things it has to offer.