My Fulbright was an amazing experience on both professional and personal levels. I spent two years as an Austrian Fulbright Student at the University of Texas at Austin, where I graduated with a Master of Global Policy Studies degree from the LBJ School of Public Affairs.
One of the most challenging and transformative experiences during my studies was my research work with a Texan non-governmental organization in Haiti, where I conducted a needs assessment of a rural community. This experience significantly strengthened my interest in development policy and aid coordination, and it motivated me to pursue a career with the World Bank after graduation.
Experiencing life on an American college campus and in the city of Austin were true highlights of my time as an Austrian Fulbright Student in Texas. I participated in many activities – from campus sports and BBQs, to country dance and live music events. I also enjoyed mentoring local high-school students to prepare for a nation-wide competition on European Union Policy, and it was truly rewarding to discuss policy issues with young and dedicated students.
Fulbright has provided an amazing network and community and tremendous learning opportunities which helped me to get to know the American way of life, to introduce others to my culture, and to learn from Fulbright scholars from all over the world. Especially the pre-departure sessions, the Gateway Orientation in Nebraska, and the Enrichment Seminar in Washington DC were unforgettable experiences, where I met inspiring and ambitious people from a wide variety of fields. Through Fulbright, I have made friends for life.
My Fulbright experience and graduate degree from the University of Texas at Austin significantly strengthened my employment opportunities. After graduation, I received a job offer from the World Bank, where I worked on capacity building programs in China and evaluated the country programs for Guinea-Bissau and Mauritania. I have since then moved to the International Finance Corporation, where I conduct research and report on private sector development in fragile and conflict-affected situations across Africa.
Fulbright has had an invaluable impact on my life and career, way beyond my studies, and I am forever grateful for this life-changing experience.
Katrin is graduate of the IMC University of Applied Sciences Krems and the Management Center Innsbruck and studied at the University of Texas at Austin as Austrian Fulbright Student in 2011–13. Photo courtesy of Katrin Greisberger.