Principles & Tips for Effective Fulbright Storytelling

1. Explain key info about your Fulbright
  • Who - Introduce yourself and your professional background.
  • What - What type of award did you receive? Describe your project, including your discipline, research project, or course titles.
  • Where - Where was your Fulbright? What was your host institution? Use descriptive language, if possible, to help readers visualize your experience.
  • When - When did you participate and for how long?
  • Why - Why did you choose to apply for Fulbright?
  • How - How has Fulbright impacted your professional or academic life? How did you impact others?
2. Build solidarity through ethical storytelling

Use your narrative to promote dignity and respect for your host country’s culture and people. Avoid perpetuating stereotypes; instead, share stories that break the mold of assumptions that others might have, and highlight complexities about your host country. When possible, gain consent to share the stories of those with whom you interacted and ask local experts for their opinions about what stories should be told.

3. Avoid generalizations by being specific

Each person’s Fulbright is unique. In order to avoid generalizing about the experience, be specific about the highlights and challenges that stood out to you. It can be easy to focus on either the best or worst moments of your time abroad.

Remember to tie in both to make your story more compelling.

4. Focus your story around a theme

While abroad, you undoubtedly had a wealth of experiences. Avoid overwhelming your audience and focus your story around a theme. Consider one of the below guiding questions for your story:

  • What are the personal and professional outcomes of your Fulbright?
  • How has your Fulbright experience changed the way you view the world?
  • Describe 1-2 specific moments from your Fulbright that changed your perspective in a positive manner.
  • How did you adjust to working with international colleagues?
  • What were some of the challenges of living abroad, and how did you overcome them?
  • How did you get involved in the local community and what did you learn from your personal interactions with colleagues, students, and community members?
5. Keep it professional

Remember that your story will reflect both on the United States and your host country. Use your freedom of expression with discernment in order to maintain a standard of integrity in line with the spirit of the Fulbright Program.

If you share your story on your personal social media accounts and/or blog, make sure to include a disclaimer that your views are your own and are not representative of the U.S. government, e.g.: “This work represents my own views and does not represent the views of the U.S. government.”

6. Send your story to us

If you’ve posted publicly about your experience, the Fulbright Program and/or the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs can amplify your story through social media, our websites, or other distribution channels. You can tag Fulbright on Instagram at @the_fulbright_program, Twitter at @fulbrightprgrm, or Facebook at @Fulbright, use the Fulbright hashtag (#Fulbright), e-mail your story to [email protected].

You can also tag the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs on Twitter at @ECAatState, on Facebook at @ExchangeProgramsAtState, and on Instagram at @ExchangeOurWorld.

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