I Was Awarded A Fulbright Graduate Program

I was awarded the Fulbright Graduate Study & Research Program.
2 weeks ago, I wrote about leaving the jungle school. I didn't have time to write about why I was leaving because it has been a hectic 2 weeks since then. Today, I'm finally able to find a breather to write & share. So, here it is... The reason I'm leaving is to pursue a masters degree in the US sponsored by the Fulbright Scholarship Board.

In this blog post, I'll share about how I got the scholarship & encourage you to do the same. Seriously, if a mere teacher in the middle of nowhere can do it... ANYBODY can.


1. Figure Out What You Want

I'm sure that for many of you, this is the first time you've heard of Fulbright. I only found out about the Fulbright sponsored programs from an American official who visited my school. After her visit, she urged me to apply & I gave every one of the programs serious consideration.

Most teachers I know went for the International Leaders In Education Program or the Foreign Language Teaching Assistant Program. These programs are very difficult to get into & only a handful are selected each year: 5 and 1 respectively. However, I wanted something more. If I were to travel all the way & spend so much precious time there, I wanted a piece of the US to come back with me. So, I decided on the Fulbright Malaysian Graduate Study and Research Program which involved pursuing a Master or PhD.

I had no confidence in applying for it because I could find no precedence of a teacher receiving the graduate study program. Instead of giving up...


2. Find Out What It Takes & Let Someone Judge Whether You Have It

 
I signed up for this.

I really didn't believe that I'd get this scholarship because I was just a teacher working in the middle of the jungle. Furthermore, I figured that applying for this would cost me a lot of time, effort & money (cost of international assessments like TOEFL & GRE, flights to KL to take the tests & attend interviews). I really didn't want to waste my time or get my hopes up too much. So, I wanted to open myself to be judged by the people who were: 1) already accepted into the program. Or, 2) part of the vetting process. Only if they thought that I could get it, I would apply.

I asked around in social media for people who might know people who were part of any Fulbright program. From those people I gained wonderful insights into the Fulbright psyche & learned about how they applied for theirs. Through them, I got connected to people who got accepted into the program that I wanted to apply for. Furthermore, through these guys, I got connected with people working within the embassy & eventually got to sit down with someone who I didn't realize was one of the interviewers for the program!

To be honest, I got a lot more help from past Fulbrighters than I expected. These guys were really eager to help & all of them went above & beyond for little ol' me. I can never repay their kindness. But, I can always pass it on. Thanks, guys. I really hope that I'll make you proud!


3. Give It Your Best & Never Give Up!

Not sure if you'll get it? Thinking that there's probably a 50-50 chance? Just go for it. Seriously. I was told that so few people apply for this that even a teacher from the middle of a jungle in Sarawak could get it. What the heck does that guy have to offer? HAHAHA!!! Seriously, go for it. You'll never know until you try. All those motivational books you've read. What's the point if you don't step out of your comfort zone?

Even if you fail the first time. Apply again the next year. You'll be better prepared for it. One of my fellow grantees failed twice before getting it the third time. She must have nerves of steel for doing it a third time. What excuses have you? Do you want it or not? Or are you happier to be complaining under the blanket of self-pity.

View the latest Fulbright programs. There may be one that'll be relevant to you.
If I've convinced you to give the scholarship a serious thought, you might want to learn more about the intricate details & processes of applying for this scholarship. I'll write a blog post about it soon. Will link it up here when it's ready.
I've also written some tips for TOEFL & GRE. They might give you some insights from the perspective of a Malaysian.

Check out the latest Fulbright fellows. There may be someone you know... Ahem.
My mind is blown as I prepare to leave for Teachers College of Columbia University. I can hardly believe that this opportunity is given to me. I really really thank Jesus & all the people who have supported me along my journey as an educator. I have many good friends, family & colleagues to be thankful for. Without you guys, I am nothing.

I really miss my students & I deeply pray that they receive all the best that life has to offer. I've been telling them for years to aim high, go places, achieve great things & then come back to bless your community. I'm glad to be able to walk the talk.

I hope that my departure will spark something in the hearts & minds of my students... that a person is never confined to his/her surroundings. I hope that my departure will inspire future generations of teachers to strive for more real impact in their work instead of pursuing "paper impact" for promotions & awards: an act which I deeply despise.

I'm looking forward to coming back in 2 years & doing something great for Malaysia. I want to base myself in Sarawak to serve the people of Sarawak who have been neglected for decades. I somehow still believe that I can make a difference for my state & it's people. We shall see what the future has to bring. Despite the current circumstances, I am hopeful. We, the people, shall prevail.

Update: I wrote about my interview experience.

Comments

  1. So happy for you★★★★★
    See you soon, my most respected mentor ♥

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, JiaYiing! All the best & see you soon!

      Delete
  2. All the best Jarod! Hope to see more from you soon :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Congrats Jarodddd and thanks for the tipss. Will certainly look out for more opportunities for personal and professional development! All the best there and i'll look forward to hear your wonderful adventure!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Mimi!
      There are plenty of opportunities out there. I'm sure that you'll find one that will work out for you. =)

      Delete
  4. Anonymous28/8/15 19:07

    Dear Jarod,

    Congratulations on your selection! Indeed, it is an arduous task to apply and the fruit of such hard work must be really sweet. I applaud your resilience in getting what you want. Just a gentle reminder though: the Fulbright program by itself is exclusive and not as accessible as you claim. Some programs involve a select five (ILEP) or in some cases, only one (FLTA/Humphrey etc). Therefore, claiming that "the Fulbright Malaysian Graduate Study and Research Program which involved pursuing a Master or PhD but was also much more exclusive & out of reach" is pompous and lacks humility. You're talented and you will go far in life and I wish you nothing but the best. But do be careful of the way you phrase certain things. Good luck out there!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey, thanks for bringing this up.
      You are right. All Fulbright programs are exclusive & involve rigorous vetting. Please forgive my ignorance. I have amended the blog post.

      Thanks for correcting me so gently!

      Delete
  5. way to go....you deserved that blessing.. go and see how others are doing and I bet you will learn do msny new things and be a better person. take one step at a time and enjoy your stay there..and keep in touch...eho knows we msy meet there...hihi

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Peter! Thanks for your advice! I really do hope that we get to meet there. =)
      Also, I dare not say that I deserve anything at this point. I did work hard in my career but I believe that this is a loan to me from God & he is expecting to collect some great effort from me in the future! He works in mysterious ways. =)

      Delete
  6. Bro you will not back to this jungle again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey, Eyongjuan.
      The jungle has a piece of my heart forever. That was where I became who I am today through the fire & the flames. I love the children there & I've worked with some of the best colleagues ever.

      If they'll have me, I will most definitely be back there. Perhaps as a volunteer for one of the programs I've been bringing outsiders into the school for. We shall see now, won't we?

      Delete
  7. Yap Yoke Chin28/8/15 20:26

    So happy for u Jarod! U hv done so much for yr students n I am sure u will be doung even more after u finish. May God bless this new journey of yours n use u as an instrument to bless many more people. I am sure He has a great plan for u. Do continue to write n update us on yr journeym

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amen! I receive! Thanks, ma'am Yap! I shall do my best! =)

      Delete
  8. Congrats! Fulbright scholar! That is an achievement in itself. All the very best. Love what you have done for the kids in the jungle school. Hold on to your dreams and make them come true!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Tuckster! I shall do what I can! =)

      Delete
  9. Way to go, JikKam! Congratulations!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, MyTESL Practitioner! Nice name!

      Delete
  10. So happy for you Jarod! Looking forward to read your US adventures!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Farah! Will write about my adventures when I can! =D

      Delete
  11. Daniel yap jh12/9/15 22:57

    1 thing im really looking fwd to is to sit down properly and have a long conversation (or a few if we may) when ur back:) not sure whats up your sleeves, but i hope in 2 years time im more settled and ready to embark on some of the projects you have in mind bro.

    Enjoy ur journey there!! Really exciting to see how God unfolds every chapter for you:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lovely! Would LOVE to work with you. We shall meet up & talk about this when we're both ready. =)

      Delete
  12. So exciting, congratulations!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Congratulations Jarod! Best of luck with your studies.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

My CPT Results

2019 TJ Comics: Monthly English Comics

2019 TJ Writes: Monthly English Bulletin

What To Do If You Miss A Megabus Ride & How Was The Ride

2019 Pen-Pals From Sarawak With Love (And One Nightmare!)