The 2018-19 American Fulbrighters to Norway
Fulbright: A Research Stint with a Cultural Component
The deadline for submitting an application for a Fulbright grant for a research stay at a U.S. institution during the 2019-2020 academic year is October 1st. The Department for External Relations and Communications spoke with a U.S. scholar currently based at OsloMet about the Fulbright program.
A Fulbright grant at a U.S. institution can change the trajectory of your career and open up new perspectives, both professionally and personally. This is the key takeaway from our conversation with Professor Howard Karger, a Fulbright scholar from the United States currently based at the Department of Social Work, Child Welfare and Social Policy here at OsloMet.
Karger is no stranger to the Fulbright program; he has two previous Fulbright grants under his belt. He describes both his stint at Bar-Ilan University in Israel and at the University of Zimbabwe as career-changing and personally enriching. Decades after his Fulbright year in Israel, he still has contacts with colleagues there and returns on occasion to deliver guest lectures.
A more robust network with international scholars is undoubtedly among the most compelling arguments in favor of a semester or an academic year at a U.S. institution. Networking also figures as one of the key ingredients in a successful Fulbright stay, according to Karger. The American professor ended up at OsloMet thanks to his existing academic network. Since arriving at his host department, he has taken a proactive approach to introducing himself to his new colleagues and establishing a network. By reaching out early and often to his new colleagues, Karger was able to connect with a group of students he is collaborating with on his research into high-interest consumer loans and their impact on low-income families in Norway.
Find more information on Fulbright Norway’s website, and apply here: https://fulbright.no/stipend-for-nordmenn/
Think beyond Harvard and Berkeley
Karger’s advice to colleagues at OsloMet considering a Fulbright grant? Think carefully about what kind of college or university you want to base yourself at. You are more likely to be able to make meaningful connections and pursue your research more effectively at an institution where you have existing contacts. If you don’t have contacts among U.S. scholars, Karger’s advice is to seriously consider identifying and reaching out to potential hosts in your field at institutions beyond the largest, most highly-ranked and most research-intensive. A newcomer is likely to receive a different kind of welcome at such an institution, and colleagues will be more inclined to set aside time to get to know you and help you make relevant connections that can aid you in your research.
A final consideration relates to geography: in smaller cities and towns, particularly so-called college towns where many U.S. colleges and universities are located, colleagues will tend to live and socialize near campus. This can make for a less isolating and more socially enriching experience. If you’re lucky, you may even be invited home to colleagues’ homes for dinner if you choose a college town, while in a city like New York or Chicago, you may have a more difficult time breaking into the local community.