Update from Shelley Guyton

In the two months since my arrival, I have barely had a pause to reflect on my time here so far.  In between establishing myself at the University of the Philippines, Diliman, settling into my neighborhood, meeting contacts, and exploring the city and country, life has been shelved away into a motley album of images and mental notes.  I have only just now begun to distinguish what is unique and lasting about this experience.

By now, I have both settled into Manila and learned the best routes to escape it.  This is the biggest, most wonderful, and most overwhelming city I have ever lived in, and living here is in itself an experience of a lifetime.  The Fulbright program, though, has allowed for a depth of experience that I have not had the opportunity to enjoy in other trips abroad.


The Fulbright has given me quality experiences abroad.

Without a doubt, the most significant benefit of seeing the Philippines under the Fulbright program is that I am immediately part of a network of like-minded people here, half-way around the world from my home.  This has given me unique travel company, dinner conversations, and opportunities to take in the country and culture.  One Fulbrighter invited the rest of us to an event during which his NGO affiliate donated solar energy devices to a provincial community.  We got the chance to interact with community leaders and representatives and hear their stories of how the solar energy impacts their lives, and their communities altogether.  Afterward, we hiked through the arresting mountain landscape to a school, where the NGO would install large solar panels to illuminate the classrooms.

Fulbright Application Tips from Troy Kokinis

Note from FPA: Troy is currently recommended for a grant, which means he has about a 50% chance of becoming a Fulbright grantee.  He applied for the grant in fall 2012 and will find out by July whether he’s received the grant.  (There are two main types of Fulbright grants: research grants and English teaching assistantships. Troy has applied for a research grant.)

Troy Andreas Kokinis

Project: Collective Historical Memory of Rural Anarchism in Andalusia

Location: Andalusia, Spain

I am writing this from a slightly awkward position, as I have not actually won the Fulbright grant yet. However, I have been named as a finalist for a very competitive country, Spain. I think I can offer some useful advice regarding the writing process, and my own strategies for writing the application.

Advice for Applicants

First, I must say that Zoe Ziliak Michel is an invaluable resource in the writing process. I highly suggest starting early (during the summer, as the application is due in October). She is available to give feedback during this time as well. I sent about seven different drafts to her, and she always responded with very helpful and useful feedback. I spent the duration of the summer working on this application, and I do not think I would have been able to complete the application process while trying to balance classes, thesis, and TAing during the fall quarter.

Convey passion for the topic. The topic I chose, nineteenth century anarchism in southern Spain, is a topic that I have been interested in for nearly a decade. The topic does not have any close relation to my current M.A. research, but I was able to convey a long-lasting interest in the topic, as well as an application for the topic on an everyday level (as I am active in migrant labor struggles in my own community). In some ways, I feel I took a risk. Most research is expected to come from an objective viewpoint. But, in terms of subaltern studies (especially when researching communities that have experienced a history of state terror), it seems appropriate to demonstrate a connection to the actual topic and a solidarity with the struggle of the research subjects. I recognize that this does not apply to every project (and may actually only apply to very few), but I feel it is important to be honest about one’s connection to a particular topic.

Current relevance of the topic. Make sure you can connect the project to en vogue current events in the host country. This is especially important if you are researching something that is historical. What is the practical application of your research considering the current climate of the country?

Plans for research results. You should have a clear idea of what you are going to do with the information you collect while you are researching. Try to have a plan that includes some sort of use for the host community. In other words, do not just say that you want to collect this information for your thesis. It is important that we, as researchers, establish connections with our host communities; and that our research has some sort of benefit for the host community.

Faculty support. This also connects to the previous point, but your faculty supporters should also be involved in the final products of your research. Again, this should be more than simply your Ph.D. thesis. If you cannot think of any other use for your research than your thesis, ask your faculty supporters if they can connect you to local organizations, museums, media projects, etc., in your host community. This adds a personal touch to your project. Furthermore, make sure your faculty is well connected in the host community already. They want to know that you aren’t going to be roaming around like a lost soul for three months before you can actually get started on the research.

I suppose I will just wait for the results now. I will update this once I hear. For now, consider these suggestions valuable for getting at least half-way there.

Fulbright Blog Reactivated – Application Tips will be Coming In!

Hi again all!

Last week, our fall 2012 Fulbright applicants found out whether they were recommended for a grant by the National Screening Committees.  Being recommended is basically like being a finalist; it means you have about a 50% chance of getting the grant.  Even getting to the recommended stage means that you must have done pretty well on your proposal.  Therefore, I’ve asked the students who have been recommended for a grant if they’d be willing to write up some tips on how to prepare a good application.  (I could wait until they find out if they’re actually grantees, but I thought it would be good to ask them while the application process was still fairly fresh in their minds.)

Several students have agreed to write up some tips, so look for new blog posts in the coming weeks!