Publication Date

2002

Abstract

Due to the recent September 11th, 2001 attack on America, it is now more important than ever that we should keep the doors open to international academic exchange. It is in this arena that Americans have an opportunity to learn more about those from other countries and cultures and equally important, those from other countries can learn more about Americans. International educational exchange is one tool to enhance mutual understanding between individuals of different countries and cultures, which can then lead to an even greater international understanding between nations. It is this concept of mutual understanding that I have attempted to explore. With this curiosity I turned to the Fulbright Program, which is the leader in academic and cultural exchanges between people of the U.S. and people around the world. The main goal of the Fulbright Program is to promote mutual understanding. This research endeavor attempts to look deep into this goal to find out if the goal is being achieved, and if so, then between whom is it being achieved, and how is it being achieved? Twenty Visiting Fulbright scholars responded to two surveys. The participants were from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Yemen, Egypt, Algeria and Morocco. The results suggest that most Fulbright Scholars believe that they achieved mutual understanding with an American during their Fulbright experience through direct interaction with their faculty hosts. In addition, the respondents provided useful suggestions on how Fulbright programming can help to further achieve this goal.

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