Saturday, December 11, 2004

Fulbright Update

I think the Fulbright interview went well. I was nervous as heck on the inside, but outside I think I was pretty calm and together, although I may have babbled a bit. The questions were more-or-less what I expected. They wanted to know why I chose the countries that I chose, and how well I will be able to handle the challenges that I am likely to face in a very different culture from my own, such as anti-Americanism, a school environment that is more strict than is typical in the US, and so forth.

We also talked about whether or not I would be able to help my exchange partner find housing here in New York if s/he is not interested in a direct housing exchange (which is likely, given that I have a roommate). Apparently, it is the responsibility of each exchange partner to find initial housing for their counterpart; if the person wants to move, that's their own responsibility, but you have to set them up initially. Of course, if that's expected of me, then I will do it, but finding affordable and comfortable housing for someone else during the summer in New York City will present an enormous challenge! Good heavens, I don't even like doing that for myself.

It seems that some years, no one from a given country will apply for the exchange. Turkey and Estonia are two countries where they do not always do exchanges, because sometimes no one applies, or the people who apply aren't good candidates. And once someone applies, they go through a matching process to try to place the candidates in fairly similar educational settings. That means I would likely get placed in an urban setting, which I think is good, but it may work against me because my school is unique in so many ways. Also, I could be placed in a high school setting, or teaching ESL. I can deal with either of those situations, but it surprises me, given the emphasis they place on "matching" the exchange partners.

I mentioned my blog in my application, not really expecting anyone to follow the link - I doubt the people screening applicants have tons of time to surf around people's blogs. Of course, I knew it was a possibility that they'd read it, and I certainly stand behind everything that I write here. Nevertheless, I was surprised and a bit dismayed when one member of my interview panel said he'd read my blog yesterday. He said, "Do you really have more than 100 readers every day?" I wonder what he thought - my posts recently have been a bit more personal and less teaching related...

All I can do now is cross my fingers and wait!


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