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Personalizing the Experience

Fulbrighters volunteered at Project S.H.A.R.E. and helped stuff backpacks with school supplies for local children in need.

Fulbrighters volunteered at Project S.H.A.R.E. and helped stuff backpacks with school supplies for local children in need.

August 6-10, 65 Fulbright students from 46 countries visited campus to gain a better understanding of U.S. contemporary life and academic culture through the Fulbright Gateway Orientation program. Dickinson, which won the bid to host the orientation in its first attempt, is one of only 10 U.S. institutions selected to host the Fulbright Gateway program this year.

Personal connections

The Fulbright Gateway Orientation, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, helps newly arrived first-year Fulbright students maximize their exchange experiences in the United States. Programs are designed to ease the adjustment to life in a new country and position the Fulbrighters for success.

According to Department of State program officer Mark Howard, the orientation is an intregal part of the Fulbright-student experience, particularly in light of the relationships the Fulbrighters forge in their first days in a new host country—and the insights these relationships bring.

"We like to say that the program 'puts faces to nations,' " he says. "Many of these Fulbrighters have never before visited the United States, or even traveled outside of their home countries. They'll never read a newspaper or view online news or TV news in the same way again, now that they've made friends from countries around the world."

Putting the best face forward

The 65 students who attended this orientation at Dickinson took part in workshops on professional development, culture shock,  health and wellness and related topics. The five-day event also included a networking dinner with community leaders, cultural tours of local historical sites and a volunteer opportunity at

Project S.H.A.R.E., a local nonprofit that provides food, clothing and nutritional education to people in need.

Howard notes that Dickinson's multicultural campus and the strength of its global programming mark the college as an ideal setting for these experiences, as does Dickinson's home in "small-town Americana" Carlisle.

"For these Fulbrighters, Carlisle is the first face of the United States that they have seen. And I can't think of a better face to put forward," he says.

Read The Sentinel's article about the Fulbrighters' experiences at Project S.H.A.R.E.

Published August 9, 2012