Fulbright Student, 2008-2009
Dear Fulbright Applicants,
The first days of December remind me of the feelings I had last year, while waiting for Fulbright Commission's answer on my application, and of all the questions I had in mind. Above all, there was always the "What it would be like" question.
My name is Anca Topliceanu; I am a 2009 Fulbright Junior Grantee. I applied for a Fulbright Scholarship in 2008, while still being an undergraduate student at Public Relations and Communication Faculty, SNSPA in Bucharest. I did not know back then whether I would feel able to study in the US for a whole year, since going abroad for a long period of time certainly is a daunting experience. However, the application process itself was so challenging that I could not resist. While answering the application questions, I answered most of my own questions.
After a thorough interview with Fulbright representatives, language tests, and already many dreams, I heard a voice over the phone telling me I got the grant, and that I was accepted in one of the well-ranked Public Relations Master programs in the US. I am now living in Muncie, Indiana, and I am proud to be an International Fulbright Student at Ball State University. First, because I feel it brings admiration from the people I meet here. It determined me to raise my standards up to this respect. Second, because I appreciate the value of this opportunity – and, trust me, some can too often easily take all these advantages for granted and not appreciate the uniqueness of the experiences they go through.
The first snow of the winter today made me realize that I just started my fourth month at Ball State, and I still wonder how time passed by so quickly. But I expected that, somehow, because my objective was to make the most of this experience, and to fill everyday with the exceptional, which I did. I took three classes, and managed just fine in school, although the work load is not at all comparable with what three classes meant back home. I have competitive peers and interesting professors, constructive debates, and already thesis, internship and teaching plans. It is now the finals' week, which is tough, but quite stimulating!
Yet, Fulbright universe does not mean only academic involvement. And probably this is one of the reasons this program is so fulfilling! I am the only Romanian International Student on campus, and this brings new feelings to me as well as a sense of national identity one rarely experiences when in Romania. Students get to be invited to all sorts of events and activities on campus, which are organized by the International Programs Office, or by Student Organizations. However, attendance and involvement are not mandatory. Considering the workload in school, I was tempted to decline some of these invitations, as some of my International friends did. But I have not. I was one of the first students to say "yes" to an invitation to an "International Supernatural Panel" – I talked about Mircea Eliade, supernatural in Romanian culture, iele, calusari, not only vampires; I had one of the most visited booths at the Ball State International Festival – people learned about Romania, while I was fascinated by their perceptions on my country; I got the chance to have a presentation about Public Relations in Romania in front of American and International PR and Journalism students; I got to talk about Harvest Fest traditions in Romania, in the context of Thanksgiving break, in an interview offered to the BSU online magazine; I have weekly meetings with retired professors (one of them is my so called "friendship father") and talk about Romanian culture, political system, traditions, education; and last, but not least, I have the chance to work on a communication strategy plan for the Ball State Choral Department, with my team in Cardinal Communications, the student-ran PR agency of Ball State.
Do you think I ever imagined I would play the role of an "ambassador" after just fourths month in the US? Not in those dreams I told you about. This goes beyond what one would imagine. And it has the quality of being an interesting mix of personal and cultural experiences. Moreover, it brings the feeling of responsibility to share, to bring back what you have gained, and use it to make other people live what you lived, and benefit from it.
Remember, your experience will be unique! Make the most of it, and appreciate its value!
My fulbright experience
Students at the advising center
- Anna's Odyssey - by Anna Claspy
- RomericanJourney - by Damaris Lois Bangean
- A Most Unexpected Year - by Melanie Shoffner
- Eric Fretz
- Polar Bear in the Balkans - by David Jimenez
- Romaniadventure - by Anna Sherod
- Romania plus Hannah equals a blog - by Hannah Wolf
- A Palette for Thought - by Elijah Ferbrache
- A Year in Romania - by Anne Murray
- Lauren Hermele
- Katelyn Arlene Browher