The main goal of the program is to transfer Benjamin Franklin’s Enlightenment thoughts to the ground of modern transatlantic relations. About 60 participants from all over Europe and the USA take part in it every year. In Poland, the recruitment process is based on the “I Know America” competition organized by the American Embassy, in which about 1,400 participants take part every year. Thanks to the win in last year’s competition, I had the honor to be the only Polish representative in the Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellowship program. It combined a wide variety of activities divided into several thematic blocks.
Lectures and academic classes
By courtesy of Wake Forest University, my host university, I had the opportunity to broaden my knowledge of American history, politics and transatlantic relations. The stay at the campus was also a great opportunity to compare the American style of teaching and student life with Polish ones. Practical workshops on soft skills, debating, leadership and teamwork were valuable as well.
In the footsteps of the American democracy
My participation in the scholarship program gave me a unique opportunity to learn about places related to the origin of the American democracy. The aim of the first study trip was Philadelphia, the home city of the patron of the Benjamin Franklin program. The evident points of the visit were Independence Hall, the Benjamin Franklin Museum and the Constitution Center.
The next city visited by the program participants was Washington. I had the opportunity to visit many federal institutions, including the State Department and Congress. Particularly interesting was the meeting of Vice President Mike Pence in the Senate and the interview with senator Rob Portman from Ohio. The stay in Washington also allowed me to take full advantage of the cultural offer of the capital of the United States, including visiting museums such as the National Art Gallery, the National Air and Space Museum and the Portrait Gallery of US Presidents.
One of the major advantages of the program was the possibility of sharing a multicultural milieu. It was an unforgettable experience to participate in the Garden Party and the fireworks show on the 4th of July. Thanks to events such as International Dinner, each of the participants had a unique opportunity to present the culture, history and tourist attractions of their homeland. A stay at Wake Forest University located in the picturesque North Carolina also provided many opportunities for an interesting use of spare time both in the mountains and on the nearby beaches of South Carolina.
While taking part in the program, I got the opportunity to broaden my knowledge in the field of historical, political and economic aspects of transatlantic relations, gaining valuable soft skills and getting to know American culture in the company of dozens of ambitious and open minded colleagues from all over Europe and America. I am especially grateful to the US Department of State and Wake Forest University for allowing me to take part in Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellowship and to the US Embassy in Warsaw for choosing me as a participant of the program.