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The Zen of Fulbright: The Unofficial Guide to U.S. Fulbright Scholarships Paperback – June 10, 2014
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"The Zen of Fulbright is extraordinarily well researched and presents a comprehensive overview of the Fulbright program--an impressive feat in that the Fulbright program is offered with slightly different parameters in each of the 150 countries in which it is active, and is notoriously difficult to describe. The book showcases collections of quotes providing a range of voices, perspectives, and experiences--which sometimes are contradictory, but by disagreeing, demonstrate the range of experiences that the program can encompass."
-Michelle Johnson, Fellowships Adviser, Reed College
"Thomas has created what must be the most extensive guide to Fulbright out there, for applicants as well as recipients of the Fulbright Scholarship. At right around 300 textbook size pages, this unofficial guide to Fulbright leaves you with a very thorough understanding of what the Fulbright program is like, what makes for a strong application and how to make the most of your life in the field. In addition, in every section, there are dozens of stories and lengthy quotes from Fulbrighters in the sidebars which give great context to the content in every section. This, along with sample application essays, gives you a full perspective on the program in a way I've never seen before. This is the guide I wish I would have had when I was applying for the Fulbright Program. You're so lucky to have it available to you."
-Travis Hellstrom, author, The Peace Corps Volunteer's Handbook
"The Zen of Fulbright is a must-buy if you are considering applying for a Fulbright or are already a successful grantee. I was awarded a Fulbright Grant for the 2016-2017 academic year, and this book was my bible throughout the application process and the grant year. Before coming across The Zen of Fulbright on Amazon, I had a difficult time finding quality information from successful grantees online, apart from the occasional blog post. I have yet to find a more comprehensive and accurate guide on how to compile a strong application, and then once awarded, how to start the grant feeling prepared to take on your year. In retrospect, many of the pitfalls and mistakes grantees mentioned in the book I saw or experienced first-hand. I recommend reading this book either as a candidate who wants to make their application the best it can be or a successful grantee who wants to get the most out of their Fulbright year. Despite the density of information, it is also an easy, light read with enough examples and stories to make it enjoyable. It's also almost impossible to find sample essays elsewhere, so that alone makes it worth the purchase!
-Sydney Bowie, U.S. Fulbright Scholar to Spain
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In short, this book is written from the point of view of people who have actually done a Fulbright. The author is clearly very supportive of Fulbright and shares everything possible for those who are serious about the program to win a grant and have a successful experience abroad. I found it a very valuable read.
An interesting read about the Fulbright Scholarship program and the kind of ideas-driven people who make up the Fulbright community. Lots of personal stories from the field, and lots of advice about doing independent projects oversees, even those that aren’t Fulbright. My favorite chapter was “The Habits of Successful Fulbrighters.” Wise words for anyone trying to push their ideas out into the world.
I would caution students against relying too heavily on the sample essays, some of which are a bit dated at this point. Sample essays are rather controversial and should be taken with a grain of salt; one never knows whether an applicant was selected for a Fulbright because of a great essay or in spite of a mediocre one.
As a Fulbright alumni, it is refreshing and uplifting to read about the many other stories of my colleagues. I keep a copy next to my desk, and open it when I need a little encouragement. After reading the Zen of Fulbright, I feel even more apart of the Fulbright community and am inspired to pay forward my Fulbright experience. I highly recommend this book to Fulbright scholars from all walks of life.
1. The Big Picture - How Fulbright works
2. The Habits of Successful Fulbrighters - With dozens of perspectives from real Fulbrighters
3. What You Should Know About Fulbright Before You Apply - Thorough preparation strategy
4. Building Your Fulbright Application - How to make yours strong
5. On the Eve of Departure - Preparing and managing expectations
6. Life in the Field - Making the most of your service
7. Life After Fulbright - Returning, careers and more
In addition, in every section, there are dozens of stories and lengthy quotes from Fulbrighters in the sidebars which give great context to the content in every section. This, along with sample application essays, gives you a full perspective on the program in a way I've never seen before.
This is the guide I wish I would have had when I was applying for the Fulbright Program. You're so lucky to have it available to you.