Last week the Fulbright Commission welcomed twenty-two 2018-2019 American Fulbright grantees to Belgium and Luxembourg to the Royal Library for U.S. Grantee Orientation. This annual event brings together newly-arrived Fulbrighters for a logistical and cultural introduction to life in Belgium and Luxembourg.
As part of their orientation, grantees received a briefing on Grantee Rights and Responsibilities from the staff of the Fulbright Commission here in Brussels and learned about research and outreach opportunities available at the U.S. Embassy to Belgium and the Fulbright Commission.
The second half of the morning provided grantees with a cultural introduction to life in Belgium and Luxembourg. They discussed everything from opening bank accounts and finding housing to tackling cultural differences in the classroom and workplace.
The twenty-two attendees at this year’s U.S. Grantee Orientation included four visiting scholars to Belgium, seven students and student researchers to Belgium and Luxembourg, and eleven English Teaching Assistants to Belgium and Luxembourg. (Stay tuned for more about ETA Training Day!) The Fulbright Commission will welcome two additional researchers to Belgium and Luxembourg in January at the start of the spring semester for a total of seventeen grantees to Belgium and seven grantees to Luxembourg in the 2018-2019 academic year. Grantees come from all over the United States, and will spend the next year studying a diverse range of topics, from medieval manuscripts to postwar art movements to the changing global distribution of phytoplankton!
In the afternoon, grantees took a walking tour of Brussels and visited several of the city’s most popular sights, including the Place Royale, the Grand Place, and the infamously cheeky Manneken Pis. In addition to providing important information about their grants, U.S. Grantee Orientation also gives grantees an introduction to the city of Brussels! While several grantees will remain in Brussels throughout their grant period, the majority of U.S. grantees to Belgium are based outside of the capital in Antwerp, Ghent, Hasselt, Leuven, and Louvain-la-Neuve.
As orientation came to a close, grantees were invite to join alumni of the Fulbright Program in Belgium at the monthly FAAB Alumni Afterwork.
The staff of the Fulbright Commission was delighted to finally meet the grantees with whom we have been communicating for the past several months. We wish them all a successful first week in Belgium and Luxembourg and look forward to sharing their adventures. The Commission would also like to thank its colleagues at the U.S. Embassy to Belgium, the U.S. Embassy to Luxembourg, and the U.S. Mission to the European Union for their participation in orientation events and their continued support of the American Fulbrighters.
More photos can be found on our Flickr photo stream.