By: Evan Myers, Contributor
Furman receives honorable mention as top producer of Fulbright scholars, and current students begin to apply.
Fulbright scholars fill a void. Each year, students apply to participate in highly competitive Fulbright cultural exchange programs, representing Furman University and the United States around the world.
In 2016-17, Furman was named a Top Producer of Fulbright students by the US State Department. Dr. Henderson, the Director of National and International Scholarships, attributes this accomplishment to Furman’s talented students, indicating that the university has placed “a degree of importance on helping students in this process.” This is more formerly known as the “Furman Advantage.”
Success in the Fulbright program holds significance for Furman and the individuals who obtain Fulbright awards. It offers privileged exposure and presents top students with the opportunity to advance in the context of an intercultural dialogue.
A sense of carpe diem embodies Dr. Henderson’s philosophy: “Do it now, while you can.”
Looking at the 2017 applicants
Furman’s most recent Fulbright applicants include seniors Claire Pullan and Jack Goode.
Pullan, a French major, has applied to become an English Teaching Assistant in Taiwan. She sees the Fulbright as an opportunity to immerse herself in a new culture, stressing the point that Fulbright encourages self -reflection.
Goode, an art history major, relates. He is a third generation Norwegian and Furman’s first Fulbright applicant to Norway. He hopes that his potential Fulbright in Scandinavia will expose him to Norwegian art, as he is interested in discovering the creative origins of Norway’s acclaimed design and style.
Pullan and Goode both expressed their desire to learn, but also educate. Furman’s class of 2016 graduates and Fulbright Scholars John Michael Robinson and Julia Roberts are doing just that, serving as English Teaching Assistants in Colombia and Laos respectively.
This bodes well for Fulbright hopefuls Pullan and Goode. Furman’s reputation as a preeminent liberal arts university demonstrates that students have a sturdy foundation. Roberts went on to emphasize the importance of her study abroad experiences at Furman and how they “helped show the Fulbright Selection Committee that [she] could thrive internationally.”
“Do it now, while you can.” -Dr.Henderson
Both Roberts and Robinson are thriving. Moreover, they are engaged in a meaningful cultural exchange as well as ¨an open dialogue where we talk about problems, yes, but also solutions,” Robinson described.
In an increasingly connected, chaotic world, the exchange encouraged by the Fulbright program is of the utmost importance. It serves as a bridge between cultures, fosters mutual understanding, encourages empathy and teaches tolerance. It insures that “our future leaders will become more open-minded and accepting- two qualities in desperately low supply today,” Roberts said.
Furman’s current applicants, Pullan and Goode, are prepared to participate in this exchange, asking themselves, and the world, what it means to be united rather than divided: a crucial question in an honorable pursuit.