I first heard about the FLTA program in a course at university early on in my studies and had thought about applying ever since. Originally, I was hesitant about applying—knowing how prestigious the program was, I thought I would never get in. When I was accepted and finally matched with Dartmouth College, I thought I had been sent the wrong acceptance email. Having heard of Dartmouth before, I knew what a prestigious institution it was and could not believe that I would be sent there. Looking back, I would say it ended up being a great match.
I had a great time at Dartmouth; it was an extremely rewarding but also challenging experience. At the Department of German Studies, I was able to gain my first independent teaching experience and was truly made to feel welcome and supported. Everyone at the department was helpful and accommodating, and I was also frequently invited for dinner or weekend activities. The academic environment at Dartmouth was completely different to what I knew, as it was much more progressive, flexible, and interdisciplinary.
Spending one academic year on campus, I also got to see the more complicated aspects every institution like Dartmouth seems to have. With its beautiful but secluded location in rural New Hampshire, Dartmouth has a strong Greek life culture, making hazing and sexualized violence prevalent issues on campus. The university has recently shown serious efforts to diversify its student population by accepting more applicants from marginalized groups, yet a lot of first-generation BIPOC students and members of the LGBTQIA+ community still feel uncomfortable on campus. In recent years, the Dartmouth community has also grappled with a considerably high number of student suicides on and off campus. Without the Fulbright Program, I would never have been able to gain such nuanced insight into the complexities of an institution like Dartmouth. This includes the outstanding academic environment but also the challenges and difficulties such institutions face.
I have made connections through the FLTA program across the globe that remain strong to this day, and I plan to visit Dartmouth again soon. I am truly grateful for the experiences I have been able to have. Joining the Fulbright Program can be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but it can also open doors to opportunities I never thought I would have.