Fulbright students networked and learned about the United States as part of an ELI Fulbright Pre-Academic English for Graduate Studies Program.

Introducing America

UD's English Language Institute hosts Fulbright Foreign Students for orientation


8:39 a.m., Sept. 8, 2015--This summer, 32 Fulbright Foreign Students began their academic journeys in the United States with the University of Delaware’s English Language Institute before departing to more than 19 universities across the nation. 

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and administered by the Institute of International Education, the Pre-Academic English for Graduate Studies program gave these students, who come from 22 countries around the globe, insight into American life and culture. 

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In addition, the program prepared each of the young scholars with the essential resources needed to become successful in their new graduate programs.  

Throughout the three-week orientation, each of the Fulbrighters attended sessions focused on building academic skills, learning about health and wellness in U.S. graduate programs, networking with peers and becoming familiarized with American society. 

Ralph Begleiter, former CNN world affairs correspondent and Edward F. and Elizabeth Goodman Rosenberg Professor of Communication, addressed the students in a TED-style talk on what he called a “Media Earthquake.” During his talk, Begleiter introduced the students to the American business of news and its shift to social media in recent years. 

Begleiter’s presentation resonated especially with those Fulbrighters preparing to pursue graduate degrees in media and communications. “This talk is a good reminder to think of that fact that for us, it’s like we have become a generation of headlines,” noted Arda Aghazarian. 

Debra Hess Norris, Unidel Henry Francis du Pont Chair in Fine Arts, also presented a talk, this on “Preserving the World’s Photographs.” 

In early August, students in UD’s Social Studies in World History master’s degree program took part in an activity with the Fulbrighters. Centered around what the UD students considered to be the 10 most important events, ideas or processes in world history, the session encouraged both groups to cultivate and expand their understanding of the individual, local, regional and national connections to historical processes existing on the global scale. 

Weeks later, at the close of the program, the Fulbrighters presented their own TED-style talks, focusing on the ethical issues within their fields of study that they believe must be addressed by young leaders like themselves. 

Johannes Faidiban, who traveled from Indonesia to study international policy and development at the Middlebury College of International Studies, found the opportunities at UD to be beneficial. “It helped us to understand how to do things the American way,” Faidiban said. “Research, classroom activities, discussions all were taught within the American context.” 

The English Language Institute also partnered with People to People Delaware, UD’s Graduate Student Government, and the School of Public Policy and Administration, among others, to make this program a success. 

Outside of the classroom, the Fulbrighters took the chance to explore Philadelphia and New York City, as well as to stay with a local host family.

“The students came back to class bursting with questions about society and etiquette,” said Nigel Caplan, assistant professor at ELI and academic coordinator of the Fulbright English for Graduate Studies program. “I think it really underlined for them how important it is to meet real people, engage in meaningful conversations, and use their time here to understand the U.S.” 

Perhaps the most important legacy of the program was the connection made amongst participants. Each Fulbrighter left UD with a new network of colleagues, who will undoubtedly provide each other with support, advice and friendship throughout their studies in the United States.

“Besides the academic experience, this became a process which made me less shocked to be in a new place. This meeting of many people from different countries was a great experience,” said Sohair Asaad from Palestine. “I didn’t imagine that I would be so close to these people, and that I would go through a process which made it much easier for me to adjust to life here.” 

For more information on the English Language Institute’s Fulbright Pre-Academic English for Graduate Studies Program, contact Baerbel Schumacher

ELI’s program was one of two Fulbright orientations sponsored by the University of Delaware this summer. The other program was a one-week Fulbright Gateway Orientation hosted Aug. 10-14 by UD’s Institute for Global Studies (IGS)

The IGS event brought 65 Fulbright Students from 48 countries to UD for a week-long orientation to the academic culture of the U.S. Meet some of the participants in this online video.

About the English Language Institute

Founded in 1979, the English Language Institute offers the highest-quality intensive English programs for degree-seeking students, business and legal professionals, English language teachers, and general English language learners from around the world.

With a core Intensive English Program, a unique Conditional Admissions Program, and 14 other specialized avenues of study for English learners each year, ELI is a leader in its field.

Article by Nikki Laws

Group photo by Yulia Alieva

Class exercise photo by Katy Brown

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