What Teachers are Eligible for Fulbright-Hays Seminars?

What Teachers are Eligible for Fulbright-Hays Seminars?
The Editorial Team November 5, 2012

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In an effort to encourage foreign language skills and global understanding, the Fulbright-Hays Seminars Abroad Program offers teachers and administrators the opportunity to study and work abroad. The projects are designed to improve intercultural relations with the American educators and the world outside of Western Europe.

The projects are designed for those who do not have much experience in the host nation. The location and the topics covered vary from year to year, but they are all designed to offer an introduction and overview to the new country to help promote curriculum enrichment. The programs typically last for four to six weeks during the summer.

Eligibility requirements

To participate in the Fulbright-Hays Seminars Abroad Program, applicants must be either a citizen or permanent resident of the United States. They must also hold a minimum of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution of higher learning. The applicants must also hold a great deal of professional experience, fulfilling the numerous requirements, including:

  • A minimum of three years of full-time education experience by the time applicants leave for the seminar
  • The applicant must currently be employed by one of the following
    • The US school system
    • An institution of higher learning
    • A local or state education agency
    • A library
    • A museum
  • The applicant must be currently employed in a position equal to the one they are applying for

The applicants are also expected to be in good physical and psychological health to be able to participate fully in the seminar. This will require obtaining a statement from a physician testifying to the health of the individual.

It is also worth noting that those who have previously participated in Fulbright programs only become eligible for new short- term programs after two years. Therefore, applicants who have participated in the past should check with the managing office to ensure that they are able to participate.

Types of teachers and professionals

The program is designed to benefit teachers and administrators who instruct in the areas of social sciences, languages or humanities. This includes elementary and middle school teachers, as well as those who may not teach in a classroom but design the curriculum related to the aforementioned fields of study. The program also seeks participation from librarians, museum educators or specialists in media or resources that have a vested interest and work within a curriculum related to the areas of humanities, languages or social sciences. Finally, educators who are employed at colleges or universities, both public and private, who specialize in one of the previously mentioned fields of study, are also invited to participate.

Special considerations for high need and high poverty area educators

Educators who have dedicated themselves to teaching students who are at a disadvantage receive special consideration from the organizers of the program. The Fulbright commission seeks applications from teachers who work with those at risk for educational failure. These students are defined as having the following criteria.

  • Children who live in poverty
  • English language learners
  • Those who are learning far below grade-level or are not going to be ready for graduation or college on time
  • Those who drop out of school prior to graduation
  • Homeless students or students in foster-care
  • Pregnant or parenting teenagers
  • Those who are immigrants or migrants
  • Students who have been incarcerated
  • Students with disabilities

The program will also give special consideration to those who teach in high poverty schools. These schools are defined as institutions where:

  • At least 50 percent of the students are eligible for free or reduced price lunches according to the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act
  • At least 50 percent of the students are from families who are defined as low-income according to the criteria of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965.

The Fulbright-Hays Seminars Abroad Program offers teachers and educators some amazing opportunities to experience cultures and languages outside of the United States. By taking the candidates to nations outside of Western Europe, the world view of those instructing American students is greatly widened, making them better teachers and better able to help their students. Teachers return to their classrooms in the United States with experiences, artifacts and stories to help make the world come alive for their students.

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