The Daily Illini

University named among top producers of Fulbright scholars

The University is among the top producers of Fulbright U.S. Student Program awards for the 2017-18 academic year, according to the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

The Fulbright program is an international educational exchange program that provides opportunities to U.S. students, artists, young professionals and scholars to study, research and teach English abroad.

The program also provides opportunities for foreign students to study, research and teach foreign languages in the United States.

“It’s really a special program. Some students do research, and some of them work on their master’s degree,” said David Schug, director of the National and International Scholarships Program at the University. “In any case, Fulbright interests students who show that they have good potential to be doing any one of those things.”

Thirteen students from the Champaign-Urbana campus received Fulbright awards for the 2017-18 academic year, placing the University of Illinois among the top 25 universities and top 10 public institutions in numbers of student grantees.

Schug said the root of the program is based on students from other countries coming to the United States on Fulbright scholarships and sharing their cultures, while American students go overseas and do the same thing.

“They are doing projects, but they’re also serving as ambassadors for the U.S.,” he said.

Schug said being a Fulbright scholar offers an opportunity to not only excel academically, but also to grow emotionally and professionally.

“I’ve been following students’ experiences and the interesting people that they are meeting and the friendships that they’ve made, and the skills that they’ve gained, the language, knowledge, the independence, the joys and the pains, and the learning curve for those who are teaching English in a culture that they are unfamiliar with, those are all great learning experiences that our students are having,” he said.

The application for students and recent alumni in pursuing studies, fine arts, research or English teaching assistantships under the Fulbright program for the 2019-2020 academic year will open April 2.

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