As I progressed in my profession, my teaching and research were strengthened by a variety of experiences. As a senior scholar at my university in the United States, I was able to secure research grants for my work and use my ongoing research to enhance my teaching. How wonderful it would be to do both abroad, in countries where I had already done some lecturing as a visitor.
I was thrilled when I learned about the Fulbright Senior Specialist Program, whose name has now been changed by removing “Senior.” For me, the program was perfect: It was short term between one and three months and provided opportunities for both lecturing and research in collaboration with colleagues in the host university. Since I had done some lecturing as a visitor at the Univ. of Malaga in Spain, I approached them to see if they would be interested in hosting me if I received a Fulbright grant, and what I would do to collaborate with professors there. They expressed interest, sharing with me information about some of the ongoing projects of their faculty, to see which would complement my own areas of interest and expertise. We submitted an application and I was awarded a grant in 2012.
What a wonderful opportunity to collaborate with some junior and senior faculty at the University of Malaga. The junior faculty who were working on their thesis or publishing their first articles appreciated having a sounding board for some of their ideas. I had valuable discussions with senior faculty who enjoyed sharing their own work and learning about mine. I was also able to lecture for some of their courses and present my research at a conference that they were sponsoring with scholars, students and community activists. Having dialogues with community activists who worked with immigrant communities added another dimension to my Fulbright opportunity. We all enjoyed discussions about our teaching and research realities in both Spain and the United States. In addition to the academic aspects, we had wonderful times socializing over wine and tapas. It was a memorable time!
Irma M. Olmedo – Fulbright to Spain 2012