Fulbright grant gives reach to study abroad

Kristin Kovalsky, News Reporter

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Susan Niedzwiecki-Pham, study abroad director, was awarded the Fulbright Grant this spring after being a finalist last year.

“It’s a pretty rigorous application process, and I had actually applied last year and I was a finalist and didn’t get it, so then I reapplied, and got some feedback on how to tweak my application and then resubmitted and was awarded luckily,” Niedzwiecki-Pham said.

Along with a group of administrators from all over the United states, Niedzwiecki-Pham traveled to India for the Fulbright-Nehru International Education Administrators Seminar from March 9-24.

“The award is not money we receive. So basically, what it is, is two-and-a-half weeks in India.” Niedzwiecki-Pham said. “The purpose of it is to learn about the Indian education system and meet different counterparts or colleagues at different universities. We visited 15 different universities in two and a half weeks. We were visiting two universities per day.”

The Fulbright grant offered six different countries, but Niedzwiecki-Pham chose India because Winona State does not have a partnership with any universities in the country.

Niedzwiecki-Pham said she chose India over countries such as, Japan, Korea or Taiwan, since the university has an exchange program with those countries already.

Niedzwiecki-Pham said the goal of the trip was to hopefully form partnerships with universities, and create an exchange program.

The Fulbright grant is not a typical study abroad trip, as it is not available to undergrad students.

Renee Stowell, Fulbright program advisor, said the baseline eligibility is met once you have a bachelor’s degree and are a U.S. citizen.

“They are somewhat competitive awards, so some countries might say you need a teaching background,” Stowell said.