I was very lucky to have had a chance to work with the Fulbright Commission in Poland twice. My second grant would have never happened if it was not for the first one. That is why I need to share a little bit about each of these amazing opportunities with you.
In my last year of Pharmacy studies at the Medical University of Lodz in Poland I got to know about a fantastic opportunity of participating in the “Visiting Research Graduate Traineeship Program” (currently called BioLab). This program is co-organized by the Fulbright Commission in Poland, together with four great research institutions in the US. I quickly made up my mind and applied and was lucky enough to get accepted to take part in an interesting research project at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas during the 2014-2015 academic year. That year was the greatest adventure of my life thus far and it helped me tremendously to decide on the next steps in my scientific career. After completion of the program I knew for sure that the next thing I want to do is doing my PhD in biomedical sciences. This is why after coming back to Poland, I applied to several different PhD programs and… I eventually decided to come back to UT Southwestern in Dallas! This time the beginning of my studies was co-sponsored through the Fulbright Self-Placed Graduate Student Award. In theory my grant has ended, but my PhD program is ongoing, so I still live and work in Dallas.
A few things that I will never forget after the two grants in the US that I had a chance to participate in are:
– Wonderful and friendly atmosphere as well as a very high level of respect from everyone towards everyone at the university and especially in the lab that I work at.
– The possibility to collaborate with absolutely genius people, who are willing to share their knowledge and experience.
– Taking part in exciting scientific experiments and the possibility to utilize top-notch equipment.
– Cultural diversity, which I have not had a chance to find anywhere else before! While in Dallas, I made life-long relationships with people coming from all sorts of places around the world, people with extremely different beliefs or religions and finally, people of all races. This experience itself is absolutely invaluable.
– Traveling around the United States – as much as my free time allows, I try to visit different parts of the United States and I am stunned by the beauty and diversity of this country, especially when it comes to its amazing national parks and the nature.
– Hot temperatures in Texas!!!
My stay in Dallas opened a variety of new avenues for me – both scientific and personal. I got to travel quite a bit and most importantly, I got to experience the cultural exchange aspect of the Fulbright program – through getting to know all sorts of diverse people from all around the world. I find myself extremely lucky to have had a chance to take part in the Fulbright programs and to have ended up in such a wonderful place. I strongly encourage all of you, who might not have made up your minds yet, to apply to the different Fulbright programs. They are a fantastic experience, which changes one’s life und understanding of the world forever.