This past weekend I made a trip to Warsaw to attend our end of the year Fulbright Conference entitled: “Is Tomorrow Today? American Perspectives in Polish Education & Research”. Fellow Fulbrighter, and dear friend, Sarah Willenbrink organized the wonderful two-day conference which included the following presentations segments:
- Adapting American Culture & Curriculum to the Polish Classroom
- Experiences & Conclusions of the Polish English Teaching Assistant
- Polish Politics & International Relations
- Perspectives in Music & Theatre
To be honest, I was so nervous for the presentation, as this was my first sort of academic conference. The weeks leading up to the event, I put much pressure on myself to create the final product (a conference paper and presentation) that would showcase my contributions through the Fulbright Scholarship. Furthermore, knowing that the U.S.-Polish Fulbright Commission would publish the conference paper added a larger sense of pressure. When it came to writing the paper, I was overcome by a sense of nostalgia and joy when recalling all of the extraordinary academic, professional, and civic experiences throughout these past 8 months. Moreover, telling my story, though it originally seemed like a pressured task, evolved into a delightful journey of recollection of growth!
After sharing my presentation entitled “Fulfilling My Dreams as a Fulbright Scholar” I felt such a sense of peace and gratefulness come over me. At that moment it finally hit me that my time here is coming to an end, and all the still frames of the incredible moments experienced flashed through my mind! This conference was the beginning of the end! It also was such a neat way to hear about the experiences and research cultivated for my fellow Fulbrighters.
Below is the final segment of my conference paper, which will be published later this year. I am also in the midst of creating a video summarizing this my journey to Poland and beyond…be on the lookout!
“Serving as a Fulbright Scholar has been an extraordinarily rewarding and life-changing experience. Senator Fulbright’s vision of ‘a little more knowledge, a little more reason and a little more compassion’ and learning to ‘live in peace and friendship’ will always resonate within me. This sabbatical has truly expanded my intellectual and cultural horizons, as it was an insatiable pursuit to delve completely into mutual understanding and compassion for humanity. “