Fulbright Spotlight: Adam Vincent, CLAS '16

This year, two honors students received Fulbright awards. The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is about a year long, and offers research, study, and teaching opportunities in over 140 countries to recent graduates and graduate students. Applicants apply for either a research grant or for an ETA (English Teaching Assistantship), in a specific country. Below, hear from Adam Vincent ’16 CLAS about his award and upcoming international experiences. 

Carl Nathan Ober

Tell me a little about yourself (year, major, where you’re from, etc.)

I’m Adam Vincent, a senior from Morristown, New Jersey. I’m a Humanities and Communication major pursuing an Honors degree and a concentration in Peace & Justice Studies.

What was the Fulbright application process like?

The Fulbright application process was a little stressful, but manageable overall. The Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships (CURF) was a huge help – they were there to support me at every step of the process. The application for ETAs [English Teaching Assistants] largely consists of a one-page personal statement and a one-page grant proposal, so once I decided to apply to Turkey, the process was basically going through several rounds of drafts.

Tell us about your program (where you are going, what you’ll be doing).

All I know so far is that I’ll be leaving late August or early June to teach at a university somewhere in Turkey. I haven’t received my placement yet or been told what my exact responsibilities will be. From reading blogs of past Fulbrighters, it seems that much of the specifics will depend upon where I’m placed.

What made you choose to apply to this program?

The Fulbright Program prides itself on cultural ambassadorship and intercultural exchange, which makes it a natural fit for me. I’ve been negotiating different cultures for as long as I can remember: I was born in Minnesota, but my earliest memories are of living in Belgium, and then my family moved to Australia long enough for me to attend preschool through second grade. After participating in two foreign exchange programs in high school, and then studying abroad twice at Villanova, I knew that I wanted to spend more time abroad after I graduated.

When you apply for a Fulbright grant, you have to apply to a certain country. Turkey turned out to be a perfect fit for me – overall, I wanted to challenge myself to live somewhere completely different from what I’m used to. I’m also interested in migration, intercultural communication, and freedom of speech, which are all extremely salient issues in Turkey right now. Finally, Turkish ETAs teach at the university level, which I feel will allow me to have more advanced conversations about cultural differences.

What part of the program are you most excited about?

Overall, I’m most excited to be abroad again. I don’t know where I’ll be placed, or what it’ll be like to teach there, but I do know what it’s like to immerse yourself in a new culture. It can be scary and awkward and at times draining, but for me it’s ultimately a liberating and fulfilling experience.

Are you nervous? (If so, why?)

I’m not really nervous, but that might just be because I haven’t thought too much about it. Some people have asked me that question in response to hearing I’m going to Turkey, presumably referring to the recent bombings there or otherwise associating Turkey with a vaguely menacing notion of the Middle East. As far as the latter goes, I’m happy to be going to Turkey if my experiences can show that people are people regardless of their faith or country of origin. As for the former, we’ve tragically seen similar attacks happen around the world, and accidents can happen anywhere.

Do you have plans for post-Fulbright? (If so, what are they, and how do you think this program will prepare you for it?)

Not concretely – depending on how this next year goes, I can see myself continuing to teach English or coming back to the U.S. to work. Right now, I envision myself on a college campus – either as a grad student of some sort or fellowship advisor – or working with the State Department.

Introduction written, and interviews conducted, by Newsletter Co-Editor, Richelle Hurley '17 CLAS. Richelle is receiving a degree in Communication, with minors in Classical Studies and Peace and Justice. 

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