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"Fulbright Alumni Voices: How to Apply for the Fulbright Study/Research Award"

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"Application Tips: Short Answers and Essays – Host Country Engagement"

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Georgetown Fulbrighter Spotlight

Lavinia Taumoepeau-Latu (SCS'23)

Research - Kingdom of Tonga

2024 Fulbright Alumni Ambassador

From Lavinia Taumoepeau-Latu (SCS'23) - "When I finished my Fulbright, I was contracted by Peace Corps Tonga to create their Blue Pacific Youth Initiative curriculum, and I just completed it. I was selected as a Fulbright Ambassador at the beginning of this year so aside from the training in DC, I will be volunteering for an event in Seattle where we will be welcoming and hosting approximately 150 foreign Fulbrighters who are undertaking their studies here in the US."

Application Suggestion:

"Research the country you are applying to, try to reach out to a potential host for your studies, and discuss your potential project with them for feedback. Adjust accordingly. . . . Have people read and give you feedback on your personal statement and statement of grant purpose. I worked with the writing center here on campus, and I believe it was a huge help when I was drafting and revising my personal statement."

Contact with questions:

Advising Corner


As you reflect on your Personal Statement for your Fulbright application, it might be useful to think of this distinction: You and Your Plan.

The latter is what you will mostly be describing in your Statement of Grant Purpose (which we covered in last week's edition); whereas, the former is what you should be illuminating in your Personal Statement.

Fulbright provides the following guidance about Personal Statements:

  • The statement should be a one-page narrative that provides a picture of yourself as an individual․
  • It should detail your personal history, family background, influences on your intellectual development, the educational, professional, and cultural opportunities that you have (or have not) accessed, and the ways in which these experiences have affected you and your personal growth. Include your special interests and abilities, career plans, and life goals, etc.
  • It should not be a list of facts already listed on the application or an elaboration of your Statement of Grant Purpose․ Rather, it should be specifically related to you and your aspirations as they relate to the specific Fulbright Program award to which you have applied.
  • Do not repeat information from other parts of the application.

A helpful approach before you begin writing involves Reflection and Outlining.

  • Reflect: Spend some time thinking about your background and the many experiences that have gotten you to this moment in your life. Then ask yourself questions like: Which experiences have been the most transformative and why? What have you learned from these parts or times of your life? And importantly, how have they informed your goals, interests, outlook, and values in such a way that you are now applying for this particular Fulbright opportunity.
  • Outline: Given this is a one-page essay versus a longer autobiography, you will need to make strategic choices about what experiences to include. As you reflect on the past, the important aspects of your life, and how these specifically relate to your Fulbright application, begin outlining your ideas. Take note of the specific content you want to include and how you will move from one paragraph to the next.

Finally, consider how you want to open your essay:

  • Do you want to share a story about a profound experience that has made you interested in living and working in a global setting?
  • Do you want to highlight an "aha moment" from your education that helps explain your motivation for further research or study?
  • Did you have a teacher or professor who inspired you to want to mentor and teach?

These are a few brief examples just to get you thinking!


Remember to review closely Fulbright's website for more detail about the essay format.

Stop by the Center for Research & Fellowships (3607 O Street NW) to review our library of example Fulbright Personal Statements and Statements of Grant Purpose.

In Case You Missed It . . .

Health and Science Edition

The viewing portion of the microscope

If you are interested in health- and science-related research and study through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, check out this recent e-newsletter featuring various opportunities!

An outdoor group photo of Fulbright alumni ambassadors 2024

Alumni Ambassadors

As you continue researching the Fulbright award and location that most interest you, be sure to visit the Fulbright U.S. Student Alumni Ambassador Program online directory.

Read spotlights about the ambassadors and contact them with your questions using the Fulbright email address that is provided for each person in the directory.

(Photo courtesy Fulbright U.S. Student Program website)

Visit Alumni Directory.

Contact Us!

Commit time in the weeks ahead to work on your Fulbright application and drafts of your personal statement and statement of grant purpose.

Be sure to schedule an appointment with an advisor to discuss your application well before the September 1 internal deadline.

Visit the Center for Research & Fellowships (3607 O Street NW) to review example Fulbright statements.

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It's a Fulbright Friday!

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