The universal connections of music and Fulbright

Stories

The universal connections of music and Fulbright

In my never-ending pursuit of becoming the best musician, I can possibly be, Fulbright, aided me in successfully taking my next step. In the last couple of months, I have become friends with people from all over the world, including the U.S., Korea, New-Zealand, Japan, Mexico, Chile, Costa Rica, Trinidad, and Tobago and Paraguay. People in and out of the music field, searching for knowledge, personal growth, global connection, and fulfillment. As much as I had to fight to get to this point in my life, it is nothing in comparison to the amount of purpose and fulfillment I currently feel. Yet, with the current health crisis, the collapsing economy and the uncertain future that a lot of us – and in particular fellow musicians – face, I want to zoom in on the one thing that has connected us all. The love for doing what we do and the urge to collaborate, in whatever way we can, is something […]

Be open and tolerant, so that you can learn and teach

The Fulbright program is not only about what you will have accomplished at the end of the year. Rather than a goal, the Fulbright program is a process. As a Fulbrighter, you will be equipped for studying abroad: a Pre-departure Orientation in Brussels and a Gateway Orientation once arrived in the United States will prepare you for your time here. Your Fulbright mission starts at that moment.

A frame, a mirror, and a canvas: Thoughts on New York

Every city in the world can be described by one of these three metaphors: a frame, a mirror, or a canvas. Rome, a perfect mirror, is a place where nobody comes as a stranger. Layers and layers of history laid upon each other produce a strange genealogy of time. There is always a piece of you in Rome to be discovered. You have been there already in distant reflections of a mirror-city.

Women and War in Belgium

Gabrielle Petit stares defiantly into the distance, under gray skies in Brussels. Almost every morning, I walk beneath Petit’s stern gaze on my way to the archives, thinking about her last moments and about the long history of women and warfare. Gabrielle Petit was a Belgian woman who became swept up in the chaos of the First World War (1914-1918), after Germans overran Belgium in August 1914 and occupied the country. Petit fled as a refugee but then returned to Belgium as a spy for the British Army, gathering information on German military dispositions across Belgium beginning in August 1915. German soldiers soon became suspicious of Petit’s movements in occupied Belgium and arrested her for spying in February 1916. A German military court tried her for military espionage and condemned her to death. Gabrielle Petit allegedly say: “I will show you how a Belgian woman dies,” before being executed by firing squad on 1 April 1916. The bronze statue commemorating […]

A reflection on racism with Mary Wilson

Throughout my time in Belgium, I have recognized how differently Belgians see and perceive issues of diversity compared to Americans. In the United States, we are confronted with our race more often than Europeans, sometimes subtly with racial identification, such as on a form or survey, or through bolder individual acts where our background is questioned. In Belgium, improving diversity means looking at disparities in class and language, but the issue of race is often overlooked. It has been incredible to be a part of Fulbright’s commitment to inclusion across race, gender, age, religion and identity. The Fulbright Belgium Commission has been very proactive in seeking events to continue conversations about this topic, including the special opportunity to discuss the intersection of the American civil rights movement and Motown with Mary Wilson of the Supremes at European Parliament. After a meeting a week prior with the Fulbright diversity initiative, founded by Sangeetha Ramakrishna and Rianne Delacruz, I was eager to […]

Getting around in the USA

At the end of my very enriching year in the USA, I find myself explaining to a lot of people that I have not only expanded my professional experience and network substantially but also enjoyed daily life in the USA. My family and I have discovered the small differences compared to living in Belgium, and thereby, we have learned so much about ourselves and our spontaneous lifestyle. We have been given a perspective outside our old box. Given my field of research is obesity, the obvious differences I have seen are in food preference and food culture, but a very interesting aspect for me was the American view on mobility.  Most Americans that I have met, didn’t bother traveling for a few hours, by car, or by air-bus. A lot of the students and researchers have to travel outside their home region to pursue the best education or workspace possible. Following that, it also becomes a quality label if you […]

Our Voices Seminar: Navigating Identities in the Fulbright Program

American Fulbright grantees to Belgium and Luxembourg participated in an enrichment seminar on Our Voices: Navigating Identities in the Fulbright Program. The seminar, which was organized by the Fulbright Commission in the Netherlands with the support of the European Fulbright Diversity Initiative (EFDI) and the Fulbright Commission in Brussels, took place in Amsterdam from 29 February to 1 March 2020. Over the course of the two-day seminar, participants discussed questions around Storytelling, Intersectionality, Belonging, Alterity and Power, and Participation and Courage. Two grantees from the Fulbright Commission were selected to participate in the seminar. Kate Heintzelman, a current Fulbright ETA Program to Luxembourg, applied because “my time living abroad as a Fulbright grantee has been one of profound growth and challenge. I wanted to meet fellow grantees in other countries and discuss the parallels between our experiences”. Rae Delacruz, a current Fulbright student researcher to Belgium, wanted to participate for similar reasons: “Entering a field where addressing difficulties related to being a […]

Which Language for Local Food in Wallonie?

I just returned to my dissertation fieldwork site after 38 years thanks to a Fulbright Scholar’s Grant.  Back in the 1980s I examined the use of the regional Gallo-Romance dialect, Walloon, in Liège, Belgium and particularly in the puppet theater.  Over the past couple decades I’ve gotten increasingly interested in how people resist the global industrial food system. Upon arriving at the Liège train station last week, my interest was piqued by the poster announcing a show of local alimentary products called CBon, CWallon (http://www.cbon-cwallon.be). It took a minute to understand that they were not using aberrant initial consonant clusters, but the practice of using a letter (or number) to stand in for the name of that letter, like the francophone usage of K7 for “cassette.” I went to the C’est Bon, C’est Wallon Fair today, wondering whether the Walloon language would appear as well as the products of Wallonie. One of the first booths I saw was a beer […]

Decently Athletic…Definitely Not a Runner

That’s how I usually describe myself. That’s how I described myself when I first got to Luxembourg, sitting on Ingrid’s balcony, chatting with the other ETAs about our college experiences. Alexis played tennis. Ev started a running club. I was on the Bates club sailing and equestrian teams. As I said, I’m decently athletic, but definitely not a runner. And then I found the 10K. On my original application to be a Fulbright ETA, I wrote that one way that I wanted to engage with the community was through athletics. This race, I figured, would be a great way to connect with other runners both in our Fulbright cohort and with other people I had recently met at the University of Luxembourg through Erasmus. No, I had never been in a running club before. And no, I was not in any way trained to legitimately run races, but I was going to do the Agora Red Rocks Challenge. As it […]

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