April 4th was this year’s, and my first, Global Engagement Day. The entire day was jam-packed with activities and speeches given by current OU students, faculty, and visitors sharing their expertise. I attended a lunch event with many other Global Engagement Fellows explaining the processes involved in applying for the Fullbright grant and Peace Corps. Speaking on behalf of the Peace Corps Prep program at OU was Sarah Griswold and Johnathan Freeman, a past recipient, spoke about the Fullbright grant. I entered the forum with a familiarity of both programs, however, I had no idea what the requirements were.
I was surprised to find out about the courses and prior experiences that were necessary to gain a position with the Peace Corps. Ms. Griswold informed us that prospective service workers would need to have taken at least three classes related to the field they are interested in as well as two hands-on experiences. Up until this point, it was my understanding that a bachelor’s degree and United States citizenship was all it would take to be accepted into the program.
After that, Mr. Freeman filled us in on the ends and outs of applying for and being accepted into the Fullbright grant research program. Essentially, you can apply for a teaching or research grant and you spend eight to ten months in the country of your choice where you conduct your work. To apply, you must submit a letter of intent describing what you plan to do with the money as well as a personal statement. Another interesting feature was that the Fullbright program teaches you the language of your host country through three to six months of intensive training; the Peace Corps does not.
In the end, I realized that I am much more interested in applying for one or both programs than I had originally thought. I am pleased to know there is a specific faculty position dedicated to preparing me for the Peace Corps. I appreciate the fact that OU does so much to help its students become internationally involved.