The Office of Competitive Post-Graduate Fellowships is proud to announce that Gabriella Son ’22 is a 2022-2023 Fulbright Finalist. She has been awarded an English Teaching Award (ETA) for South Korea. Our office caught up with Gabriella to ask her a couple of questions about her experience with applying to Fulbright and what she has planned for her time in South Korea.
Gabriella, what inspired you to apply to Fulbright?
“When I returned from my study abroad in South Korea last summer, I knew I had to revisit the country to fulfill my dream of becoming a Korean American scholar and author—I also knew I didn’t have the financial means to do so. I remember learning about Fulbright my freshman year as a program to teach English abroad and considered applying given my majors in elementary education and English. As I explored the possibility of bridging the two by researching Fulbright as a senior, with each article and blog post I read, I could feel my tiny dream evolving into a larger destiny.”
What do you wish to say to students thinking about applying to Fulbright?
“If you’re already thinking that intently about Fulbright, just apply! You can always retract your submitted application after the deadline, but you can never go back in time and reapply. Much of the thinking will come during the application process anyway: this is more than a standard job application, so make sure to give yourself enough time to meditate on your purpose of pursing a Fulbright-specific teaching or research position.”
What helped you through the process?
“This office! There were definitely times during the application process I considered holding off until next year’s cycle because of time constraints and imposter syndrome, but Dr. Palmgren and Alexa never gave up on me. They also scheduled an interview with the TCNJ Fulbright Campus Committee on my behalf, whose invaluable insight helped me shape my final application statements.”
What are you most excited about in South Korea?
“I’m excited to improve my Korean language fluency! My goal is to become fluent enough to catch all the literary nuances in some of my favorite novels, such as The Vegetarian by Han Kang. Maybe I’ll be able to translate some of my creative writing on past and present-day South Korea for native audiences.”
How do you hope to engage in the community there?
“For my community engagement project as a Fulbright scholar, I will be launching a Spotify podcast where I interview locals about their lifestyles in Korea for listeners back home. In turn, I want to share my experience as an expatriate returning to her parents’ home country and reciprocate my guests’ curiosities about American life. With each episode, I hope to become one step closer to pursuing my passion for storytelling and the Fulbright mission of promoting mutual understanding.”
To learn more about applying to the U.S. Fulbright Program, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
“The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The primary source of funding for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Participating governments, host institutions, corporations, and foundations in foreign countries and in the United States also provide direct and indirect support. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. The Program operates in over 160 countries worldwide.”