Engaging international Fulbrighters by sharing American culture, history, and food is a priority for the Fulbright Association’s Connecticut Chapter, as well as embracing every opportunity to encourage personal connections and thought-provoking conversations in their local community. Whether by arranging meals on Thanksgiving Day in the spirit of hospitality and intercultural friendship, or an outing to the theater to catch a movie about diversity within the United States, the chapter values itself as an outlet for members to impart their Fulbright experiences, contribute to exciting discussions, and craft new bonds with Fulbright alumni and friends of the Program.
“The Connecticut Alumni Chapter is a joy to be a part of,” comments Connecticut Chapter member, Narasimham Srinivasan, Ph.D. about the Chapter’s robust programming. “We have a great leader in Tom Agoston, who puts in countless hours, send out emails and reminders, coordinates activities and transportation, and does all this smilingly and with seeming ease.”
The Connecticut Chapter held its annual Symposium and holiday gathering on December 2nd. Local alumni and friends of the Program gathered at Yale’s Organization for International Students and Scholars (OISS) to network face-to-face with one another, enjoy an educational presentation, and share a delicious buffet lunch in good company. Fulbright alumni Dr. Dave Hudson, a research scientist at the Maritime Aquarium of Norwalk, gave the group a presentation on the ecosystems and environments of Long Island Sound. After learning about natural science and the local environment, the group had an engaging discussion about the environmental impacts of the typical lifestyle in Connecticut. It was especially rewarding for the group to share local culture and history with visiting international Fulbrighters, as well as forge new friendships with American alumni.
“The obvious goal is a get-together for the members of the current class of Fulbrighters in Connecticut and another step in their discovery of America. But for me, a senior, it is a much-appreciated opportunity to chat with brilliant young [international] researchers, teachers, etc., and feel at ease in a milieu that shares the dreams of my youth,” says Chapter member Pierre Bognon. “Another contribution of Fulbright that enriches my life.”
The Chapter closes 2018 with a wide array of activities and events that enhance and extend the Fulbright experience for its members, and looks forward to continuing to engage Fulbright alumni in the coming year.
“The events offered by the Connecticut chapter of the Fulbright Association enable Fulbrighters from afar to feel welcome, to make contacts, learn about aspects of Connecticut history and environment from the speakers, and even receive hand-knit wool hats and scarves – so useful to those who have never seen snow and have yet to encounter a CT winter!” says member Janetta Rebold Benton, Ph.D. “For returning Fulbrighters, such as myself, these events enable us to chat with people from all over the world, many of whom have interests that relate to our own.”