Fulbright 101

What the U.S. Fulbright Student Program has to offer and how to apply


Samuel Damon

The Center for International Engagement provides information and resources regarding Fulbright scholarships.

On March 30, Gina Pham, Associate Director for CIE, and Sabrina Cortez, Study Abroad Advisor, held a Fulbright Information Session in the Center for International Engagement. For some students this was their first time hearing about the Fulbright, so the Trinitonian has compiled an overview of the Trinity program and its opportunities. 


What is Fulbright? 

The U.S. Fulbright Student Program is a scholarship/grant program for U.S. students. It is a part of U.S. diplomacy that cultivates mutual understanding as well as academic and cultural exchange. The recipient of a Fulbright grant has the opportunity to teach English, study or research abroad. 

The awards are country-specific then broken down into research, teaching and fellowship categories. Applicants apply to the specific award that they would like to participate in. Students normally apply from spring of junior year through fall of senior year so that they can use the Fulbright grant to take a gap year after graduation. However, this is not the only way to earn a Fulbright scholarship.


Applying with Trinity

The prestigiousness of the program means that the application process is very competitive and has multiple steps. Pham and Cortez, who serve as Trinity’s Fulbright liaisons, are here to help guide students through the application process. They have established a Fulbright Writing Circle to help students in their Fulbright journey. 

“[The Writing Circle] is a meeting to help with the steps [of the Fulbright application process],” Pham said. “It is well-paced, and meant to hold students accountable on the different aspects of their application.”

The Fulbright Writing Circle is not mandatory for Trinity students looking to apply for a Fulbright award but rather a tool to help students become more competitive. The meetings normally take place between the spring and fall semesters because that is when the application is open. The application opened this cycle on March 30 and the national application deadline is in mid-October.


Recommendations for Interested Students

Pham and Cortez recommend that students who are interested in becoming Fulbright Scholars take courses relevant to their area of intended research. In addition, joining globally focused organizations and community projects will help students become more competitive. 

Finally, they suggest that students take advantage of the study abroad opportunities Trinity offers. “Fulbright wants cultural ambassadors,” Pham said, emphasizing that those students who have experience with intercultural communication are more favorable in the Fulbright process. 


 Fulbright International Studies at Trinity University program 

Trinity is a part of the Fulbright process every year. In the fall, 20 Fulbright students from Germany spend four weeks living and going to school at Trinity. These students are fully a part of Trinity life and even attend classes here. 

Current Trinity students are compensated for choosing to room with these students next fall. It’s an opportunity for cultural exchange among students because they would be cohabiting for the duration of the German Students’ stay. 

In addition, CIE has a paid internship program for seven Trinity students called the Fulbright Diversity Initiative with Trinity University. These students will be ambassadors for the German Fulbrighters as they show them around the San Antonio area and Texas. 

For more information on Fulbright at Trinity, there is a TU webpage on which students can find a guide to applying to Fulbright and a description of the program. Besides Gina Pham ([email protected]) and Sabrina Cortez ([email protected]), students can reach out to the official Faculty Fulbright Advisor, Jason Johnson ([email protected]).