Engineering with Fulbright – Hassaan Idrees – USA 2014-2016

Thanks to the Fulbright grant, I was able to study my master’s in electrical power systems engineering at Arizona State University, where I studied and worked on multiple projects on renewable energy and power systems. At ASU, I was the Vice President of the Engineers Without Borders USA chapter, through which I was able to work with Native American communities on bringing power and water to their homes, and helped build an engineering lab for a STEM college in rural Kenya.

Hassaan Idrees – Fulbright to USA 2014-2016

First Thai Children’s Book That Has an African-American Girl as a Main Character – Peeriya Pongsarigun – USA 2018

First Thai Children’s Book That Has an African-American Girl as a Main Character – Peeriya Pongsarigun – USA 2018

I had a memorable experience during my FLTA years at the University of Pennsylvania. It was my first time reading to kids, reading “Can You Carry Me?” which I wrote for the Advanced Writing for Children class. The preschoolers couldn’t stop laughing and I was wondering why because it wasn’t funny to me as an adult. The kids explained they liked it when the main character got rejected; they loved to hear “Maybe not!” “No!” and “No way!” Little humans are amazing.

Now I’m back in Thailand, my co-author John Viano, and our artists LittleBlackOz Studio made this experience reality. We just published “Can you carry me?” and it is sold all over Thailand right now. It’s the first children’s book in Thailand that features an African-American girl as a main character. I feel like I did bridge the gap between Thailand and the US and helped raise awareness on cultural diversity.

Peeriya Pongsarigun – Fulbright to USA 2018-19

Putting on a Musical at an Engineering School – Leanne Block – France 2017

When I began my Fulbright year to France, I hardly knew anyone in Paris and was alone at my host institution, Ecole Polytechnique. My master’s program was largely international and taught in English. I was disappointed to find that there was no contact between my program and the famous “polytechnicien” students – the ones that march the Champs-Elysees in uniform every July 14th. After all, one of my main reasons for coming to France was to integrate with the local community and improve my language skills. I realized I would have to make an effort to fit in.

My first push was to sit with random students at the cafeteria. I learned that the group I met had been involved with the school musical the previous year, and they encouraged me to audition to be a dancer the following week! I had ample free time and nothing to lose, so I threw myself into it. The play was Moulin Rouge – and what a dream it would be to dance the French can-can while living in Paris!

The audition and beginning were challenging since everybody knew each other well and they were not particularly interested in an unfamiliar American master student. How could I integrate into a group that lived together, played sports together, took classes together, and even did military training together? I could barely follow their conversations – not because they were in French, but because they included a million acronyms referring to Polytechnique’s associations and traditions. The spins in rehearsal made me nauseous, and I felt like an outsider.

But slowly over several months, the others got used to seeing and dancing with me. They started saying hello on campus, inviting me for lunch, and even offering a place to sleep during long rehearsal weekends. Rehearsals became more fun as dancing brought us together. In a school of only fifteen percent women, I was especially happy to find a supportive female community.

During the preparation, I became very impressed by the other students who put the whole production together themselves. From the costume design, to the orchestra and live filming – as well as the amazing singers, actors, acrobats, and choreographers – students ran the whole production. It was a great community because we were working towards a common goal, and everybody was talented and motivated. I was particularly inspired to see so many top engineering students involved in a creative production.

In the end, our hard work throughout the year paid off and the musical was a huge success. My favorite moment was dancing the can-can in the spotlight with my frilly skirt. I knew that my Fulbright friends were in the audience, but I was also honored to be part of this incredible group. The show may be over, but I will be excited to see my friends march next Bastille Day on the Champs-Elysees. The lessons I learned will also stay with me – don’t overlook chance encounters, push myself to do things that make me uncomfortable, and keep dancing!

Leanne Block – Fulbright to France 2017

Birding Never Goes Out of Style – Laura Anne Macaluso – USA 2008

Birding Never Goes Out of Style – Laura Anne Macaluso – USA 2008

The pandemic of 2020-2021 brought renewed attention to amateur birding across the world. I had forgotten, until this call for 75th anniversary memories, that the birding I do here at my house in Alexandria, Virginia was preceded by a birding pamphlet project done around 2008-2009 when I was a Fulbright Scholar at the Swaziland National Museum (now Eswatini).

Because I recently moved, I don’t have easy access to my photo albums, and the truth is, I think I lost the small SIM style card that used to hold digital photos in my camera, so I think I only have a scrapbook from my time there. I was a Fulbright just before the wide embrace of social media, and I think it was a number of years before I had a smartphone. Getting Internet access was a challenge in Eswatini, and I wonder how it is today, more than a decade later. It would have been great though, to have a smartphone then and to take easy pics that I could have shared with family and friends. Maybe some photos are buried in my old emails as attachments. Instead, I just try to remember the things I saw and the people I met in my mind’s eye. There are some things that can’t be erased, such as seeing women washing clothes in a thin river running over flat, red rocks, or the smell of smokiness in the air, since there were always small fires burning around Mbabane, the capital city and where I was fortunate to live during my Fulbright. 

The birding project was instigated by a park ranger who I met and was lucky to become friends with, Twana Buthelezi, a proud mother, nature enthusiast, birder and descendent of Zulu people. We spent some time in the bush together and managed to put together this pamphlet even though no one seemed to understand why we wanted to do it. But we knew people love birds…and the pandemic certainly has reminded us of this. When you go to a country like Eswatini, you must look for the details, because the country is not large, and the flora and fauna do not carry a megaphone like the Big Five. Twana was good at looking at the details such as listening to bird songs.

As reported in the media, the pandemic gave nature some time to recover, and amateur birders went wild for a snowy owl in Central Park, and closer to home, the appearance of a male painted bunting in Great Falls National Park along the Potomac made the headlines. This bird should not be this far north in the USA during the winter, so questions about climate change are raised. Birds, like insects and other natural forms of life, will tell us how the world is doing in 2021. One thing is certain in our changing world: birding never goes out of style!

Laura Anne Macaluso – Fulbright to USA 2008

Escaramuza Guinness World Record – Jane Lombardi – Mexico 2012

On one of my first weeks teaching at the Universidad de Guadalajara, México in September 2012, I was walking back home towards La Minerva after hopping off of the bus that took teachers from the city to the agricultural college at the outskirts of the city. La Minerva is a huge roundabout that is a prominent landmark for folks living in Guadalajara. I had walked through La Minerva many times previously, but on this day there were huge crowds of people and no cars were being allowed to drive through the roundabout. When I got closer, I saw that the road had been covered in sand and there were over 100 horses and riders with these incredible, vibrantly colored dresses with mariachi playing at the center. I asked the people next to me what was going on and it turned out it was the largest gathering of Escaramuzas for the Guinness World Records! I later learned that Escaramuzas are women who ride side-saddle in traditional Mexican outfits and perform choreographed synchronized maneuvers to music. 

I rode horses growing up and have always been drawn to them and despite having many Mexican friends in the US and being in the horse world, I had never heard of an Escaramuza before this point. I know first-hand how difficult it is to choreograph routines on horseback, so to have this many riders mounted side-saddle, and on top of that, in the middle of one of the largest cities in México, it was breathtaking to say the least. It was the perfect moment to highlight for me the prevalence of traditional customs continuing to be performed to this day, even in this large modern city. The next day, I was able to speak to my students about it as a topic during our conversation club. They shared with me their connection to traditional Mexican customs, and particularly the connection Guadalajara has to Mariachi and Escaramuzas. I learned new vocabulary from my students and they practiced talking about horses (which was actually relevant to their studies as they were in the agricultural school, CUCBA). I was able to share my love of horses and background growing up riding and showing competitively with my students, and they taught me about some of their family that trained as Escaramuzas. I found out that some of them were even at La Minerva witnessing the Guinness World Record being broken, as well. This was one of the most surprising and exciting experiences I had in México and I loved being able to share that with my students.

Jane Lombardi – Fulbright to Mexico 2012

My 7000-Mile Graphic Journey – Sang Young Yoon – South Korea 2007 and 2013

My first Fulbright award in 2007 was a research grant encompassing a three month stay hosted by Hong Ik University in Seoul. As I drove into the city of Seoul from the airport, the cityscape, especially the street graphics and signboards, attracted my scholarly attention. With collected photos of the intriguing signage on stores and other buildings, I employed to interpret the unique and contemporary cityscape of Seoul. I discovered that the signage not only reflected but shaped the sentiments, aspirations, and ideologies of the people who produced and consumed them at that particular point in time. I produced research papers on cross-cultural understandings of the Seoul cityscape that I presented at international conferences on arts and design.

I was motivated to pursue more in-depth research on signage and the cityscape, and I received a second Fulbright grant in 2013 and taught and extended my research at Kyung Hee University’s Yongin campus. This 2013 award presented many more opportunities for me to share teaching philosophies, curriculum structures and design trends with colleagues. In my classes on the international campus of KHU, I thoroughly enjoyed my encounters with international students from varied countries such as China, Indonesia, and Romania. My interactions with the students in Korea reintroduced me to both the academic environment and the popular culture of Seoul.  

My research on signage continued using data, 2009 through 2013, from the Seoul Good Sign Contest (SGSC). The contest was created to encourage more aesthetically interesting and pleasing signboards as a means of coping with the graphic pollution on the streets of Seoul. Signboards in Seoul certainly reflected major cultural transformations and an exciting, new, emerging culture, there. The best of the contemporary signboards embodied a system of meanings in which messages were woven together and layered with the history and culture of the people who produced and used the signs.

My paper titled “Creation Of Visual Culture In Seoul Business Signboards: The Seoul Good Sign Contest, 2009 ~ 2013” was printed in the British publication, The Design Journal 20:2 (March, 2017), 199-217. I am grateful to the Fulbright Foundation for the opportunities and I will never forget those 7000-mile journeys across the Pacific Ocean.

Sang Young Yoon – Fulbright to South Korea 2007 and 2013

Closer to My Country Thanks to Fulbright – Carla Cabrera Cuadrado – USA 2018-20

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

Varying Professions and Varying Experiences – Andrew Carringer – Germany 2018

Varying Professions and Varying Experiences – Andrew Carringer – Germany 2018

 

In this audio story, I allow former and current Fulbright participants, some who traveled to the US or Germany, some research grantees, and some teaching assistants, to share details of their Fulbright experiences, while adding some of my own thoughts as well.

The audio, expect one redone line, was all recorded in 2018, so the story is presented in the present tense, as if it is 2018.

Andrew Carringer – Fulbright to Germany 2018-19

Ambiguously Brown – Ryan Booth – India 2019

No one mistakes me for being white. Although, I am half-white on my father’s side and I carry his surname. To look at him or his forbears, you clearly see his Euro-American bloodlines. I am also the son of an Upper Skagit, Nooksack, and Hawaiian woman. It must be the Polynesian blood in my mother’s tree that makes her also ambiguous looking as well with many people mistake her for being Filipina. If you mix all these bloodlines together, you get me.

The point is, I seem to blend into any brown community that I’m in and India has proven no different. A week ago, I was asked by four different people where I was from. They always begin the question in Hindi, which is an indicator about where they think I’m from. I apologize in English for my lack of Hindi and they take another run at the question in English. I respond that I’m an American. Yes, they understand that, but where in India is my family from? Are they from North or Northwest India? Apparently, I can pass for Kashmiri, Punjabi, or even parts that aren’t even India anymore such as Afghanistan.

I tell them that I’m a different kind of Indian and they look surprised, clearly off guard. Even though it wouldn’t fly in the US, most Indians refer to Native Americans as “Red Indians.” I go with what they know and use that term to describe myself. Their eyes grow even bigger since they have never seen an Indigenous person from the US.

It has led to some interesting conversations as I make my way around the city. I’m likely the first and last Upper Skagit they will ever meet. Quite likely, the only US Native they will ever encounter as well. The burden weighs heavy on me to make sure I make a nice impression and patiently answer their questions as time allows. I knew my Fulbright experience would be spent carrying this particular flag as a cultural ambassador of the United States—an Indigenous person.

When the conversation is over, I slip back into anonymity and silence. When I’m silent, no one knows what I am. They just assume I’m one of them. I slide onto public transit and head off to my next destination as the ambiguously brown person.

Ryan Booth – Fulbright to India 2019

The Privilege of Fulbright Abroad – Clinton Everett – Spain 1971-72

The Privilege of Fulbright Abroad – Clinton Everett – Spain 1971-72

In North America, it is tragic that not even 4% of our college graduates today, from which many are bound for high positions of leadership, do not seek a learning experience outside the United States during or even after their college years. Travel, perhaps, but none of which study abroad.

“Not necessary,” say many. “We have it all here.”

An extended stay in another country surrounded with a different language with non-Americans has planted in my conscience an array of alternate perspectives on living, values, and my ability to evaluate and find significance where it might not have been noticeable with an American-only perspective. This, I owe, to my European partners.

If a Fulbright experience, or something equivalent, were available to 10-15% of our college graduates, then the US could boost a significant connection with the world beyond our shores. This must begin with travel, but should not stop there and instead, include study and a serious mastery of at least one other language. Having armed with a minimal of “internationalism,” this small percentage of our student body that are entering the world of commerce, academia, and any field of endeavor, would inevitably find life more dynamically constructed and experience a higher degree of tolerance through a difficult world of varied cultures. If the percentage were to jump to 50%, North Americans might begin to feel properly integrated into the world at large where it already claims to have so many interests. Sadly, we cannot see this today. This fantasy is simply not there yet. 

Suffice to say, I am presently enjoying the advanced stages of a life-long journey as a student learner of languages from touring professional musicians, group leaders, interpreters, and now founder and director of a decade-old institute that ensures a powerful learning experience abroad for those who join us, The Spoleto Arts Symposia. Indeed, SAS enjoys the full support of the town fathers of Spoleto, many Italian and European friends and associates, but especially all our participants. 

I must share one final opinion: as a linguist, it is my deep pleasure to have inspired a number of enthusiastic language students. Over the years, many of my former students have told me of their professional and avocational achievements on the basis of their acquired proficiency in one or more languages. I locate this achievement at the epicenter of any discussions of International Education Week or Multiculturalism of International Cultural Exchange.

Clinton Everett – Fulbright to Spain 1971-72

Political and Academic Persecution – Ivanna Khodonovych – Ukraine 2006-07

Political and Academic Persecution – Ivanna Khodonovych – Ukraine 2006-07

I am a former Fulbrighter at San Jose State University from 2006-2007 who studied Linguistics. I aimed to study Cognitive Linguistics/Cognitive Sciences in view of the fact that I had been working closely with Anna Chesnokova, Willie van Peer, and other students in REDES group (empirical researchers). Anna Chesnokova was my Academic Supervisor at KNLU and I based my graduation thesis on Lakoff’s book “Metaphors We Live By,” which became the foundation of my research project while applying for a Fulbright scholarship. 

I graduated from Kiev National Linguistic University in 2005, specializing in English and German, as well as World Literature. After graduation, I went to Germany to study Political Sciences at University of Würzburg (Bavaria) because the selection procedure for Fulbright applicants took more than one year. Within the year I passed the TOEFL, GRE, and wrote many academic papers.

At SJSU, I was obliged to take some classes that did not belong to my sphere of interests like Phonetics and Phonology. In fact, I did not resist because Manjari Ohala monitored the whole process closely. Roula Svorou was my Academic Advisor and Kate Leiva Segura was my Fulbright Coordinator in San Francisco. Inna Barysh was my Fulbright Coordinator in Ukraine.

Ivanna Khodonovych – Fulbright to Ukraine 2006-07

Teaching, Researching, and Becoming a Mom in Lebanon – Rebecca Dyer – Lebanon 2007

Rebecca Dyer-Lebanon 2007-Pregnant pic - Beirut-e8824e8e

That’s me, six months pregnant and standing in front of our apartment door in Beirut

My time teaching English literature courses and conducting research as a Fulbright Traditional Scholar was a rocky year for Lebanon, as it followed Israel’s bombing of parts of Beirut during the summer of 2006. With that war going on as I completed my Fulbright application, I had considered postponing. Yet, I wanted very much to visit the country I had been reading about for some time, and I felt some urgency as I read about the bombardment in The Daily Star and other Lebanese news outlets. I planned to analyze literary memorializations of the Lebanese Civil War (1979-91) while teaching an undergraduate literature course at Lebanese American University. I was excited when I learned my application for the Fulbright had been approved.

Soon after my husband and I got settled in Hamra, Beirut in the fall of 2007, there were a series of car bombings in other parts of the city. We were worried, especially since we were expecting a baby; however, we stuck it out for the fall semester. Teaching at LAU was an eye-opening experience for me. Ordering books for my course was difficult, but I was so impressed with my students, who were wonderfully dedicated and seemed more politically and culturally savvy than their American counterparts. I changed my research plans and wrote an article (later published in College Literature) about Lebanese servant narratives after getting to know the Ethiopian maid who worked in our apartment building. My colleague at LAU, Professor Ken Seigneurie, also introduced me to the novelist Rachid Al-Daif, whose work I would later write about.

I also got to know wonderful doctors and nurses during my Fulbright experience, and I had my baby in a newly built, state-of-the art hospital with trilingual staff (speaking Arabic, French, and English). I still remember the endearing terms in different languages that the Lebanese nurses called my baby. It was a wonderful time in my professional and personal life that I often reflect on. My son (now 13) proudly tells his incredulous classmates that he was born in Beirut.

Rebecca Dyer – Fulbright to Lebanon 2007

Myths of Cultural Acceptance of Modern Technologies – Shirin Karsan – UAE 2009-2010

When I started exploring the provocative topic of stigmas in culture and religion related to infertility and IVF in the UAE, many cautioned that I was treading in an unacceptable area. On the contrary, my research (cutting edge at the time), proved the need to understand the Emirati culture and its rich knowledge and respect of its own traditions, religious knowledge, and integration of science and technology to meet the needs of the modern society. In the true spirit of the Fulbright mission, this work enabled an understanding of the cross section of medicine and middle eastern cultures and religions no matter where infertility and IVF is being studied or pursued. My Fulbright experience has provided a platform to publish, present, and teach about this important research around the globe.

Shirin Karsan – Fulbright to UAE 2009-2010

A Year of Sharing Knowledge and Broadening Cultural Understanding – Dr. Joseph Jones Jr – Ghana 1973

Fortunately, I was able to share my Fulbright Year with my wife and two daughters. Representatives of the United States Information Service and the host from the Ghanaian University facilitated our arrival in Ghana and assisted our occupancy of our living quarters on the campus of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Kumasi.

Our house was located in a residential section of the campus and we had a house keeper, cook, and gardener. My teaching assignment included courses in biology for students majoring in the subject. I attended university administrative council meetings and meetings of the biology department. Students were also interested in discussing life in the United States and pursuing graduate studies. Specifically, seeking admission and obtaining scholarships. In addition to teaching, I engaged in some research on parasites of the pied crow which is a common species in Ghana and related it to the American crow that was the host for parasites discovered during my doctoral studies at The Ohio State University.

On weekends and during the holidays, my family and I visited historical sites such as Elmina Castle that was the staging site for slaves sent to the Americas; market sites for the purchase of artifacts; and to the castle of the Asantehene, the absolute monarch of the Asante people. We drove to nearby countries of Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Togo, Benin, and Nigeria. In Togo, we were surprised to meet an African American couple who operated the motel in which we spent one night while traveling to Nigeria. We departed Ghana in the summer of 1974 and spent two weeks in Europe on our way back to the United States. The Fulbright experience provided strength to the new position for which I was employed at Texas Southern University upon my return to the United States.

Dr. Joseph Jones Jr – Fulbright to Ghana 1973

Giving the Fulbright Talk – Alexa Alice Joubin – United Kingdom 2014-2015

Giving the Fulbright Talk – Alexa Alice Joubin – United Kingdom 2014-2015

I have shared my research findings on cultural globalization during my Fulbright year to London in the 2019 Fulbright Talk at the Fulbright National Conference. 

The arts can lead to positive global changes in many areas. The Fulbright Spirit of mutual understanding is enhanced by theatre. When history is held hostage by politics and when human rights are violated, story-telling helps restore dignity to what it means to be human. When William Shakespeare’s plays move through different cultures, they reveal unexamined assumptions about human nature and tell surprising stories about globalization.

Alexa Alice Joubin – Fulbright to the United Kingdom 2014-2015

Was it Just a Nightmare or Something Real? – António Pacheco Pires – Lisbon 1990

Was it Just a Nightmare or Something Real? – António Pacheco Pires – Lisbon 1990

I was a Cornell University PhD student in Operations Research & Industrial Engineering from August 1990 until May 1994 when I visited New York City and the Twin Towers and fell in love. 

From what I remember on the afternoon of 9/11, a colleague of mine (Jaime Ramos) informed me at IST (Lisbon Institute of Science & Technology, previously a part of the Technical University of Lisbon, Portugal) that one of the Twin Towers had been hit by an airplane. I felt extremely sorrowful and couldn’t believe it. As such, I left for my house immediately (which was just a 3 minute walk from IST) to follow the events, and watched as a second plane hit the other tower on live television – I remember asking myself whether or not what I was watching on TV was real, or simply a nightmare! 

When I attended a conference in NYC on July of 2001, I remember visiting the Twin Towers then – I still have the picture of myself on top of the tower during that trip.

António Pacheco Pires – Fulbright to Portugal 1990

Beijing Foreign Studies University – Susan M. Rigdon – China 1992

In August of 1992, I took up residence at the Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU) as a Fulbright Lecturer in American Studies. The remnants of the actions taken against department faculty for supporting the pro-democracy demonstrations of 1989 were still in place. There, troops had been stationed in the building that housed American Studies, while faculty members had been detained and questioned with some of them placed under house arrest. When I arrived, several faculty members were not allowed to resume teaching duties.

I was there primarily to teach courses in American government and politics for graduate students, including a seminar on the 1992 presidential election, and a course for undergraduates on comparative democratic governments. I took with me c-span videos showing proceedings in various European parliaments and footage from the presidential nominating conventions. The only pushback I received concerned Bill Clinton’s 1992 acceptance speech in which he denounced dictators from “Baghdad to Beijing.” This clearly made BFSU’s Fulbright liaison uncomfortable and he gently suggested that I not show it. I did not want to make trouble for the liaison, whom I liked enormously, but USIS assured me that I was allowed to show it. And I did, without repercussions as far as I know for anyone in American Studies. The liaison received a Fulbright to study in the U.S the following year.

The situation was quite different than I had experienced during the 1989-90 academic year at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center for Chinese and American Studies that was established by an agreement between universities, rather than governments. The school year began just three months after the Tiananmen massacre, the country was under martial law, and some grad students were still under interrogation, but no member of the Center’s Chinese administration ever interfered with any aspect of instruction. The experience was different from that at BFSU because Fulbright lecturers were required to live in housing for foreign experts whereas at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center all Chinese and American faculty in residence lived on two floors of the same building and the graduate students (with foreign and Chinese room-sharing) on the floor below us. We all took meals in the same cafeteria and traveled together– requirements of the cultural exchange. In Nanjing I got to know graduate students much better than at BFSU, but at BFSU I got to know Chinese colleagues better than in Nanjing.

One way I got to know BFSU colleagues was attending meetings of the Women’s Studies group. This was a vigorous group with interesting presentations and outside participants.

The strongest memory of my time at BFSU was how the Chinese faculty worked together in productive and cordial relationships after having been in intense opposition years earlier. During the Cultural Revolution, some had suffered through brutal interrogations and self-criticism sessions, often led by colleagues. Whatever hurt or bitterness that created between interrogated and interrogators had been buried by the time I met them. I did ask a few faculty I knew best how they managed it but got a shrug of shoulders. It’s how it was and is and one just got on with it.

When I went back about five years later to spend a month writing with a BFSU colleague, I found the formerly quiet campus surrounded by urban construction, with most of the small shops at its entrance either closed or have moved. The atmosphere was substantially different, with evidence of an ad for a “Mao Dress Ball” displayed on a campus billboard.

Susan M. Rigdon – Fulbright to China 1992