It is a hot summer in the city, and our program participants are traveling to the United States of America. It is hard to say goodbye to the 2021–22 US cohort and the 2022–23 Austrian cohort. Together we celebrated the start of a new chapter in their journeys at a typical Viennese Heuriger. (To get some impressions, check our event album on Facebook.) This was not only a time to celebrate their achievements but also an opportunity for the two cohorts to get together in person and mingle with their fellows. It was thrilling to see the excitement of our US program participants who are returning home and to hear from them about their research and teaching experiences and all their adventures in Austria.
Indeed, they have many stories to tell when they return to the US. Some of them dedicate every last minute of their grant to cultural exchange and use their final days in Austria to share their research and findings with a wider community in Austria in public lectures, just as Maria San Filippo did at the University of Innsbruck and Ricardo Ainslie did at the Sigmund Freud Museum.
Our Austrian program participants are about to start their grant activities in the US, so they are grateful to get personal insights on the US way of life from their US colleagues. We wish them all a good farewell and promise that we will stay connected.
We are also excited to share that we have concluded the interviews for the Austrian Fulbright student candidates for the 2023–24 program year. We are proud of the newly selected cohort of young bright minds, who are in the process of starting their mentoring and coaching process with Fulbright Austria. We are grateful to all the reviewers and interviewers on both sides of the Atlantic who contributed their expertise to the selection process.
Our Austrian Fulbright finalists embody the key quality we are looking for in candidates: the ability to bring Austria and the US a bit closer together. They will serve as cultural ambassadors and will represent Austria in all its diversity in the US. With their unique personalities, they will help to build new bridges over the Atlantic.
Many of our program participants continue to promote cultural understanding between the United States of America and Austria in their professional lives as experts in their fields, in academia, in the arts, in the media, and in their everyday life, even after they return home. They stay connected with the larger Fulbright community of bright minds as they continue their Fulbright journey.
As many of you might use the summer to travel and recharge for the fall, remember that each of your journeys holds the opportunity to serve as a cultural ambassador. Each small interaction brings two people a bit closer together. Use these moments to spread the spirit of Fulbright.