Itto joined the Fulbright Association in 2018.
When and where did your Fulbright take place? What did you do during your grant year?
I was awarded a Fulbright grant in 2017 to travel from my country of origin, Morocco, to the United States, where I earned my MA in journalism and strategic media at the University of Arkansas. I conducted research on how blind and visually impaired netizens use Facebook groups and also completed an internship with KUAF, an NPR station in Fayetteville, Arkansas, (in fact, not long after I learned about the opportunity at KUAF, someone invited me to go to KFC, and naturally I spent days wondering why Americans sell fried chicken at their radio stations!).
How has your Fulbright experience impacted your life and career?
During the six years when I was homeless in Morocco, I knocked on the doors of countless organizations, but Fulbright was the only one ever to recognize my potential and throw their weight behind my education. Thanks to Fulbright, I’ve achieved the dreams that kept me going during my darkest moments, including becoming a journalist, working for the UN, and sharing my own and others’ stories with the world.
What is your most memorable experience as a Fulbright Association member?
The Fulbright Association gave me the support and tools I needed to found Fulbrighters with Disabilities (FWD), a global, virtual chapter of the Fulbright Association, and continue to encourage, endorse, and enable me in everything I do. I’ve never met such a supporting group of people, and I couldn’t be more thankful and proud to be a member of the Fulbright community.
Have you met any Fulbright alumni as a Fulbright Association member? If so, briefly share about your experience and include a name if applicable/appropriate.
I’ve lost count of all the Fulbrighters I’ve met, and I can’t bring myself to name just one person, or even just ten, because there are so many amazing people in the Fulbright community (and I don’t want to make anyone jealous!). As an orphan who navigated years of abuse and rejection, I know the importance of true family, and the Fulbright community has taken the place of my biological family as no other community could.