Tuesday, January 5

My Interview With The Fulbright Commission In Malaysia

Whatever happens to you during your interview will never be as bad as this one.
So, give it your best!!
A few months ago, I encouraged everyone to apply for the Fulbright programs. When applying, keep in mind A LOT of money will be spent on you & they want to know if you'll be a good investment. Be sure to read up on the aims/objectives of the program/organisation you're applying to, figure out where it overlaps with yours & have that reflected in your application. It's not just all about you. It's partly about them/their country too. How can you make them better?

In this blog post, I will share about my interview which was one of my worst interview performances ever. I flew in from Sarawak that morning & came straight from the airport because I wanted to be early. I was there an hour before schedule. I wanted to use that time to make myself look extra presentable & prepare emotionally.


Little did I know that I would be immediately called in because an interview ended early & the next person wasn't there yet. In my head, I imagined that I looked like a wild jungle man because my hair was probably all over the place from my uncomfortable in-flight nap. I wasn't even wearing the tie & suit I had in my bag. Also, I was still holding my pee from the 2 hour taxi ride. Like a lembu, I mindlessly let myself be led into the meeting room.

It was probably -4 Celsius in there. If they wanted to see how I would behave in the cold climate of the US, they succeeded. I was physically shivering & so was my voice. It squeaked like a mouse & wavered like a broken record. I sat on my hands as I spoke which was a bad idea because moving my hands in front of my face helps me to ease fancy English words out of my mouth. There were 4 people in the room. They stood up to meet me with an introduction & handshake. All of them were friendly & relaxed except the director of MACEE who had a really stern look on his face. When he stared at me, it was as if he was tearing away the fabric of my skin & gazing into my soul.

He also gave me the hardest & pointiest questions. They didn't ask what was already written in my application. They wanted to see what I was made of. They needed Fulbrighters to truly represent: deeply defend what they want to do & have figured out how they can contribute once they are done.

Here are some of the questions I was asked:
-You already have a degree in TESOL. You don't need another one. (Pedas kan?)
-How is this not a paid vacation for you? (Aircon sejuk. Tapi ini lagi pedas!)
-The US is incorporating technology in the classroom. It can't be done in your rural situation, isn't it? (Pedas tahap dewa!)
-Do you have a university in mind?

Me. At the urinal.

I did my best with all of the questions that they asked me & the interview was over before I knew it. I took less than 30 minutes. After saying goodbye & thank you, I was able to finally use the facilities & I conformed all fears when I found a buffoon looking back at me in the restroom mirror. Honestly, if a frozen buffoon who squeaks & sits on his hands can do it, so can you!! All the best!!!

Feel free to contact me if you have further questions.

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