University of New Mexico
Fulbright to New Zealand
I was lucky to receive a Fulbright Scholar award for 2012 to the Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand. I’m here now, gazing beyond my computer screen across emerald green hills and listening to the melodious calls of tui birds. The experience of doing my research here, getting to know colleagues and friends, and introducing my family to a different way of life is unmatchable.
There are basics the application requires, such as having a host institution. I had met colleagues in New Zealand by attending an international conference several years earlier that focused on one of my study topics (marine tourism) and when I approached a couple of them later about their university acting as my host institution, they were supportive. Many universities, and many countries, don’t have communication emphases, but many are interested in the kind of work communication scholars do as it relates to their shared topic area, so expanding one’s paradigm beyond the confines of communication can broaden Fulbright destination possibilities.
There are also things you can do to help your application stand out and rise through the different steps of the selection process. One is to do your homework about your country of choice so you can accurately represent cultural and social issues and show how your work might matter or positively contribute. Another is to show how your former studies (the one I highlighted was an environmental communication study on North American ecotourism) might culturally compare to your proposed study (for me, ecotourism in New Zealand).
One thing to note is that each country has its own spin on the awards with different amounts of time and different purposes. New Zealand’s 5-month research award perfectly matched the time I had for leave in my pretenure research semester at the University of New Mexico.