This week, senior Amanda Halpin learned that she had been awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to study in Morocco for a year beginning this summer. The news came as quite a surprise to her, given the nature of her application process.Halpin applied during first term and found out during second term that she had been named an alternate by the Fulbright program. After resigning to almost getting to go to Morocco, Halpin began searching through the other options.
Then, this week, Halpin received a mystifying e-mail from her Fulbright contact. The message ended with a hint that a letter had already been sent to her, and that she would most likely be happy about the contents of the letter. On Tuesday, she found out that she had received a Fulbright.
The news for Halpin brings both good news and more to think about. She will now attend an orientation conference in Washington D.C. during tenth week. Also, just days before Halpin received her letter of acceptance, Morocco made international headlines with a series of terrorist attacks.
When asked about current safety and security concerns, Halpin says, “Actually, I think that now more than ever, people need to strive to better understand each other through understanding histories and cultures. The Fulbright was founded on the idea that greater exchange might lead people to seek peaceful solutions to complex global problems, and I think it’s high time to seek to realize that ideal.”
She added that, “there is some amount of danger anywhere, and much of that is defined by an individual’s choices. Even with the threat of terrorism abroad, tragic and frightening as it may be, the rate of violent crime in most places in the world does not begin to compare with the rate of violent crime in some American cities. I’ll do my best to make smart and safe choices, and (as many in Morocco would say), in sha’Allah [God willing], I’ll be fine.”
The title of Halpin’s project application is “Morocco: Culture and Civil Society.” She intends to intensively spend time learning Arabic while using her fluency in French to help bridge the language barrier. She will also incorporate her background as a religious studies major and as an active member of international justice organizations like Amnesty International to into her studies in Muslim and Moroccan society.
In terms of what things are like for her at the moment, despite all the work ahead of her, Halpin said, “I feel both honored and thrilled about receiving the Fulbright.”