On 11 June 2019, the U.S. Embassy to Belgium hosted the annual Fulbright Pre-Departure Orientation. The annual event is attended by outgoing Belgian, Luxembourgish, and European Fulbright grantees who are preparing to leave for the United States in the coming academic year.

At Pre-Departure Orientation, grantees receive information about the Fulbright Program, including tips about applying for the J-1 visa and making the most of their time in the United States, hear from alumni of the program about their own experiences, and have the opportunity to meet and network with one another. This year’s orientation was attended by 29 grantees, including 17 Belgian students and scholars, three Luxembourgish grantees, and nine Fulbright-Schuman grantees from across the European Union.


Grantees were first briefed by the staff of the Fulbright Commission in Brussels, Executive Director Erica Lutes, Director of Programs Elisabeth Bloxam, and Program Officer Sonny Willems.

They they had the opportunity to hear from five recent alumni of the Fulbright Belgium Program: Dr. Jozefien De Bock, who conducted postdoctoral research at Clemson University in 2017-18; Koenraad Beckers, who received a Fulbright grant to pursue a master’s degree at Cornell University in 2010-11; Dr. Sarah Ganty, who received a Fulbright grant to pursue a master’s degree at Yale Law School in 2017-18; Mr. Pieter Plehiers, who conducted doctoral research at MIT in 2-017-18; and Dr. Eveline Seghers, who conducted post-doctoral research at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque in 2017-18.


The orientation was followed by a reception hosted by Ambassador Ronald Gidwitz in honor of 2018-19 and 2019-20 Fulbrighters to and from the Fulbright Belgium, Fulbright Luxembourg, and Fulbright Schuman Programs. Invited guests included alumni of the Fulbright Program in Belgium, program stakeholders, and representatives of the Belgian universities who welcomed Fulbrighters this year.


The Fulbright Commission would like to thank our colleagues at the U.S. Embassy to Belgium for hosting the 2019 Pre-Departure Orientation and reception, as well as the many grantees, alumni, stakeholders, and board members who made the evening such a success!