Your personal statement should be an intellectual biography. The instructions are not totally correct—that is, they really are more interested in your intellectual development than in knowing that you are the third child of divorced parents, unless of course you are studying the affects of divorce on children. You should also demonstrate a clear commitment to and description of how you will engage with the host country community.
Approach your statement of proposed study or research like a newspaper article (answer what, where, why, and how). Create an introductory paragraph that briefly summarizes your proposal, and then go on to further explain. Do not use discipline jargon, as most reviewers will not be familiar with your area of study.
For students who are just completing their undergraduate degree, many country Fulbright programs allow them to do coursework at a university with a smaller research component. In this case, your statement of proposed study or research should discuss the types of courses you would like to take and how this coursework fits in with your future plans. Research proposals should include a timeline that includes your proposed start and end dates, with the progression of your research in between. Those who are applying for teaching assistant positions should focus on portraying why they would like to undertake a teaching assignment (what you will gain from teaching and being in that country), experiences they've had relating to the overseas assignment they are seeking (how you will contribute), how they will use the experience upon returning to the U.S., and how they will spend their time abroad outside of the classroom.
Letters of recommendation should focus more on addressing the applicant's proposal and less on past achievements.
For letters of affiliation, use your current academic and professional contacts to assist you in finding an affiliate for your research project. A Worldwide Colleges and Universities database may also prove helpful. Contact the Scholarships Program for additional advice on locating potential affiliates.
Following are some technical details related to the application:
- In the "Host Country Engagement" prompt, they are really looking for how you plan to meet people from your host country outside of your project.
- If you studied abroad previously, include the institution(s) where you studied abroad in the "Academic Information" session. If your study abroad courses and grades are not listed on your U.S. transcripts, you need to obtain transcripts from the overseas institutions as well.
- Letters of placement or affiliation should address the feasibility of your project and whether or not appropriate facilities are available.
- A Foreign Language Report should be completed both for the foreign language required by the country AND any other language needed to conduct your research or project. We need these completed online prior to the August 30 campus deadline.
- For students applying in the arts, the supplementary materials are vital—even more important than the paper application.