Samuel J. Hirst
A Fulbright Fellowship allowed me to spend the 2004-2005 academic year in St. Petersburg, where I was affiliated with the European University. Over the course of the year my language skills improved markedly and I acquired a firmer idea of my academic interests, both of which allowed me to enter a Ph.D. program in history upon returning to the United States. Not long after defending my dissertation at the University of Pennsylvania, I learned that a position had opened at the European University. After two years of teaching at EUSPb and ten years after my Fulbright stay in St. Petersburg had ended, I was asked to chair the History Department. The Fulbright Fellowship – including the institutional affiliation that I was encouraged to pursue – crucially shaped my study of history and also the professional trajectory that study has allowed.