During my Fulbright experience, I truly got immersed in the American culture. I carved pumpkins for Halloween, I cooked s’mores on a fire pit, I went to a Super Bowl and Oscars watch party, I cheered for the Washington Nationals during a baseball game, I celebrated Thanksgiving, and many more American activities. Yet, what I didn’t expect from my Fulbright experience in the United States was that it would bring me closer to my country.
While I was in Washington DC, Fulbright Spain celebrated its 60th anniversary and we were invited to celebrate it at the Former Residence of the Ambassadors of Spain. It was wonderful to meet so many Fulbrighters in my area, to meet some of the staff at the Spanish Cultural Office and the U.S. government, and to see some friends! Thanks to this event, I kept in touch with the Embassy, and I attended and volunteered for some of their events.
Towards the end of the academic year, the Graduate Student Council at my university wanted to organize an International Affair and I proposed the Former Residence of the Ambassadors of Spain. After it was approved, I took over the whole organization of the networking event. It was a pleasure to work with the Spanish Cultural Office and to act as a citizen diplomat, by showing a part of Spain to my peers at American University and to the IR professionals that were invited. We received about 300 attendees and we were excited to count with the presence of Marie Royce, Assistant Secretary of State; Sherry Mueller, President of the Public Diplomacy Council; Kevin Cassidy, Director of the ILO in the US, and more. It was such a successful event that I got elected as the President of the Graduate Student Council just one week later!
Thanks to Fulbright, I got closer to my country personally, but also professionally. My MA in Intercultural and International Communication offered a concentration on Cultural and Public Diplomacy, which led me to what I am doing today: a PhD in Communication and Interculturality with a focus on Spanish Public Diplomacy in the United States.
Fulbright gave me lifelong friends, unforgettable moments and trips, a great academic experience… And besides, it helped me choose my professional career and shape my future!
Carla Cabrera Cuadrado – Fulbright to USA 2018-20