Fulbright-to-Fulbright: The End

All good things must come to an end. I will admit my “end” was bittersweet, open-ended, and odd. Guess what? That’s ok! Some of you may have ‘the next thing’ lined up all ready to go. Others may not. If you are in this latter category, not to worry, I’ve got you covered! And even if you do have ‘the next thing’ to go to, you may still find the advice relevant.


ONE: Warning: you may or may not finish your project. Another tough thing to deal with when you lean towards having a “Type-A personality” like myself, is dealing with the lack of closure. I tend to seek completeness or sense of conclusion. But you might not get the “typical” closure you expected or desired. You will soon realize you didn’t need it. You will evolve to recognize those small interactions, like engaging with strangers on the street, building relationships with new colleagues abroad, all add up to this larger experience called ‘The Fulbright’. What you gained from the experience is far more than one line on your CV.


TWO: Join the Alumni Association. Participate in the Fulbright Conference. Continue to grow your work, projects, and networks. Take initiative. This was the case before the Fulbright and it is the same case after the Fulbright. You will have to continue to take initiative, seek answers, and build solutions. Use it to jumpstart, pivot, or accelerate your career. Think big and think creatively.


THREE: Reflect. It took me months to reflect on what I had just been through mentally and physically, what I had accomplished, what I wish I could’ve done better, what I would like to do for the future, etc. The best piece of advice I can give you is to give yourself time to reflect but also build in the time to do it. Set aside a day where you can think back of what you were doing “this month last year”, “this week last year”, “this day last year”. If you didn’t have time to write during your year, now is the time to do it. Write about it, talk about it, and reflect on it.


“Of all the joint ventures in which we might engage, the most productive, in my view, is educational exchange. I have always had great difficulty-since the initiation of the Fulbright scholarships in 1946-in trying to find the words that would persuasively explain that educational exchange is not merely one of those nice but marginal activities in which we engage in international affairs, but rather, from the standpoint of future world peace and order, probably the most important and potentially rewarding of our foreign-policy activities.” -J. William Fulbright



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Komal Kumar

Komal Kumar obtained her MPH in Epidemiology & Biostatistics from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She is a researcher, public health advocate, and a 2017-2018 Fulbright Scholar to South Africa.

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