2011 International Fulbrighters Arrive at MSU

The Montclarion

Fulbright Students Arrive at MSU

To view information and videos on each of the individual Fulbright Scholars, click here.

The following article originally appeared in the Montclarion and can be found here.

Read about Montclair State being named a Fulbright Scholar "Top Producing" institution in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Written by:  Amanda Balbi, Feature Editor

The Fulbright Scholarship is one of the most prestigious honors for a graduate student. It’s a government grant awarded to students whodisplay leadership and merit roles. A student can choose to use the grant in any of 155 countries worldwide.

Last week, MSU held a ceremony for incoming Fulbright Scholarship recipients. Attendees were past and present scholars. On our campus, there are 35 current faculty members who have studied with Fulbright.

Dr. Mary Call, associate professor of linguistics, was a scholar a several years ago. She studied ESL teacher training in Greece, helped develop an undergraduate “teaching ESL” certification curriculum in Mexico and taught psycholinguistics in Slovakia.

She made many memories while visiting these countries, and learning more about herself in the process. Among the most memorable moments for Dr. Call was seeing the Parthenon, watching the seasons change over the Danube River and witnessing the Day of the Dead in Mexico.

“I guess that I would say that there are two ‘best’ things about my Fulbright experiences: Learning more about myself and my culture by bumping up against cultures that are different from my own, and forming friendships that I continue to enjoy,” Call said.

The scholarship ceremony opened with speeches from Dean of the Graduate School Joan Ficke, Executive Director of International Affairs in the Global Education Center Marina Cunningham and Provost Willard Gingerich.

Gingerich made a heartwarming speech and told his audience that MSU is the number one college in New Jersey for Fulbright students. He said, “Not even Rutgers has this many Fulbrighters.”

Basically, Fulbright students act as “international ambassadors for MSU and [their] own countries,” Gingerich said.

This year, MSU hosts 17 students from 16 different countries — the most MSU has ever had.

“This is a dream come true. We never had this many,” Cunningham said.

Ficke closed her speech by saying, “We hope you all feel welcome and special because that’s how we want you to feel.”

After Ficke’s speech, a video was shown to highlight the 17 different students who were present: Anton Botha of South Africa, Ahmed Abu-Shnein of Iraq, Olga Konovalova of Russia, Ashim Dutta of Bangladesh, Macyory Caleron of Venezuela, Terelj Batbold of Mongolia, Selin Kalenderli of Turkey, Max Felderhoff of Germany, Marlene Navarrete of Switzerland, Sirine Hattab of Tunisia, Wayan Wiraswastiningrum of Indonesia, Fanny Hammond of Ghana, Ronit Delgado of Israel, Gul Rasool of Afghanistan, Aneta Wegrzyn of Poland, Gagna Coulibaly of Mali and Ahmed Wassif of Afghanistan.

Each student had about one minute to explain where he or she was from and why he or she chose MSU. The most common reason was because of our outstanding programs and the campus’ proximity to New York City.

“I chose Montclair because of its outstanding reputation in my field and its wonderful setting,” Botha said.

Not only does our campus appeal to Americans, but our reputation expands overseas too.

Batbold described the process of applying for the scholarship as long and difficult. It took her a year to get the results. The process took her through exams, interviews and lectures.

“It was hard, but I’m here,” Batbold said.

She also said that although Montclair is very different from her native country, it’s a shining light of promise and hope for a bright future.

Navarrete commutes to Montclair and finds it hard to make friends. However, joining organizations on campus has helped her. She joined the International Student Organization during the first few weeks of classes.

Not only can new students join organizations to become more social, but they can also take part in campus activities like those at the Recreation Center. Felderhoff said that he goes to the gym frequently and tries to visit New York on the weekends. He plans to visit home -- Germany -- during the summer.

Our campus is a melting pot of cultures. MSU prides itself on being diverse, and the Fulbright Scholarship gives the University global exposure.