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The Fulbright Experience: Continuing Collaboration and Alumni Impact

The stories of US Scholar alumni Ady Milman (MCI 2013-14) and Andy Proctor (NAWI Graz, 2015-16) illustrate the classic Fulbright experience. Ady’s research project at MCI focused on studying the visitor experience in Tyrol, and for that purpose he spent several months examining visitors’ experience before during, and after a visit to the Nordkette Mountains. The research generated two peer-reviewed articles in tier-one tourism and hospitality journals, as well as presentations at international conferences like the European Tourism and Travel Research Association. Ady considers his Fulbright experience “one of the most significant professional and personal experiences” he has ever had, and he keeps coming back to Innsbruck to visit his hosts at MCI.

Similarly, Andy Proctor’s visit to NAWI Graz three years ago was only the beginning of a long engagement with faculty and students in Graz. During and after his Fulbright, Andy developed a food science education and research collaboration between his home institution, the University of Arkansas, and TU Graz. In 2016, UA and TU Graz signed an agreement that facilitated student and faculty mobility between the two universities. In 2017, Erich Leitner, professor at TU Graz, organized a 2-week short course in Graz for UA students, while Andy returned to Graz as a Guest Professor later that year. Many of the students in Andy’s 2017 classes will visit Arkansas for a second summer short course that will be held at UA this year. The development of the Graz-Arkansas exchange has enabled a sustainable integration of internationalization into the curriculum and research programs. Furthermore, it has resulted in a body of collaborative research that continues to grow.

The Fulbright experience extends beyond the grantees’ grant period and benefits not only the Fulbrighters but also their home and host institution – and their students. “I am very grateful for the time I got to spend in Graz,” said a UA student and added: “This summer short course was an adventure and I am glad to have this education.” Perhaps Fulbright Austria will be able to welcome one of Andy’s or Ady’s students as a Fulbright grantee in the near future. That too would be a classic Fulbright story.