On June 25, 2021 the Bulgarian-American Fulbright Commission held a much-awaited in person pre-departure orientation for the Bulgarian Fulbright grantees who will study, teach and live in the U.S. during the next academic year. Due to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the cohort we were seeing off actually included students and scholars from both AY 2020-21 and AY 2021-22.
18 Bulgarian grantees: students, scholars, civil society representatives, professionals, PhD researchers will be pursuing projects in fields as diverse as education, theater, computer science, law, applied math, biology, performance arts, philosophy, dance, public health, cognitive linguistics, English literature, psychology and sports education. Fulbright Executive Director Angela Rodel, Program Officer Maria Kostova and Financial Manager Anastassia Miteva presented the program structure and administrative details. Ms. Anna Todorcheva from the US Embassy offered useful information on the visa application process. The grantees benefited from the advice of fellow Fulbrighters: the scholars Iskren Ivanov and Grace Fielder, the graduate students Elitza Koeva and Emmanuel Aprilakis, the visiting researcher Delyan Roussev.
The orientation finished with a fruitful Q&A session and a discussion on cultural exchange and intercultural communication.
The Fulbright grantees and alumni had the chance to continue their communication informally during a garden party, where they also met other Bulgarian Fulbright alumni and current US grantees. The value of personal communication, the possibility of meeting old friends and acquaintances after some time drew the largest number of attendees and brought forth a vivid exchange of ideas, plans and projects, gestures of mutual respect and appreciation and a sense of hope and encouragement.
We wish all grantees a very successful, healthy and rewarding experience in the U.S.!