Fulbright-Hays Seminars Abroad--Bilateral Projects

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Frequently Asked Questions

|| Eligibility and Pre-Award Issues || Application Process || Post-Award Issues and Participant Requirements ||
|| Hints for Preparing a Competitive Application ||

Eligibility and Pre-Award Issues:

I teach in an American school abroad. Am I eligible?
Yes. Educators working at official U.S. Embassy or Department of Defense schools may apply. Teachers at other American programs or schools abroad are not eligible.

Which disciplines are eligible for the program?
The purpose of the program is to provide short-term study opportunities for U.S. educators and administrators (generally those in the social sciences and humanities) for the purpose of improving their understanding and knowledge of the peoples and cultures of other countries.  Participants are expected to develop and disseminate a curriculum project upon return to share their broadened knowledge and understanding of the host country(ies) with students, colleagues, civic and professional organizations, and the public in their respective home communities. Please contact the program officer for details.

I am a Kindergarten teacher. Am I eligible to apply?
Yes. Kindergarten teachers are eligible to apply for elementary level seminars.

I graduated from college last year and am in my first year of teaching. Am I eligible to apply?
No. Program requirements state that an applicant must have at least three years of full-time professional experience prior to participating in a seminar. An applicant in his or her third year of professional full-time teaching may apply for a seminar to take place the following summer. Part-time work or teaching as a graduate or teaching assistant is not applicable toward the three years.

Are colleagues from the same school or institution allowed to apply to the same country seminar?
Yes. An applicant may apply to any country seminar for which she or he is eligible. However, it should be noted that the Seminars Abroad program is meant to have a multiplier effect in that the information learned and benefits gained from participating in a given seminar are meant to be shared not only with students and classrooms, but also the school or institution and community at large. It is in the program's best interest to select the most highly qualified candidates who will provide extensive outreach as a whole nationwide.

I currently teach at two half-time permanent positions at two different institutions. Am I eligible?
Yes. However, the applicant must provide documentation in the application that both positions add up to the equivalent of a full-time position.

Are there limits on the number of times that an individual can apply to the Seminars Abroad Program?
No. As long as an applicant is eligible, there are no limits to the number of times that an individual may apply.

Are there limits on the number of times that an individual can participate in the Seminars Abroad Program?
No. Preference will be given to qualified candidates who have not had substantial recent experience abroad, especially in the country to which they are applying.


Application Process:

Can I apply for countries not listed in the application package?
No. An applicant may only apply for the country seminars that are offered during a given year. The list of countries or country pairs and the educational level at which these are offered changes on a yearly basis. Please consult the current year's application package and eligibility criteria.

I do not have a passport; do I need one to apply?
It is essential to have a valid passport to travel and participate in the program. Passports must be valid for a period of at least 6 months after the end of the program to which applicants are applying. Valid passports also should contain 6 double blank pages. Having a passport is not a requirement to apply, but having one is helpful to speed up the processes associated with participation in the program. We do ask for the information inside the application. Having this information speeds up the processes for visas and related documents. The U.S. Department of Education is not responsible for procuring or assisting in any of the processes involved in the acquisition of passports and/or visas. Not all countries require visas before arrival, for those countries that do have such a requirement, it is up to the individual applicant to complete and submit all the required paperwork to the appropriate office, embassy, and/or consulate. It is also not the responsibility of the U.S. Department of Education to cover the costs of any of these processes. Should the applicant fail to have the required documents prior to travel, he or she will be prohibited from participating in the program.

What do you ask the people writing the letters of reference to write about?
The letter that is written should address each of the following areas: (1) knowledge of a specific field; (2) ability to work with colleagues, including those with differing views, and/or different backgrounds; (3) ability to communicate effectively; (4) adaptability, leadership, resourcefulness, and impact, both in and beyond the classroom; (5) ability to work and travel in a group setting; (6) impression which will be made abroad as a United States citizen; and (7) ability to exercise sound judgment. The applicant does not need to wait for the letters to come in before submitting the application. It is the applicants' responsibility to ensure that the letters are received by the closing date.

To whom do I return the reference forms and statements?
The two letters of reference, including one from an immediate supervisor, should be submitted electronically according to online application instructions. Our office only accepts letters of reference submitted via the G5 electronic application. Our office does not accept letters sent via fax or e-mail.

Is there a separate deadline for reference forms?
No. Both letters of reference must be received by the application deadline date. No exceptions will be made. Each applicant must take responsibility for ensuring that the individuals they have contacted to submit references on their behalf have completed and submitted their forms to the appropriate place by the deadline date. If the application is missing one or both references, but is otherwise complete, it will be reviewed as is and points will be deducted accordingly. If there are any questions or concerns about whether your letters have been submitted properly, please contact the G5 Help Desk (and it is strongly suggested not to wait until the last day to do this).

If an application is incomplete, will the Department of Education notify the applicant?
Yes. However, notification will happen only after the review process has been completed and too late for the applicant to send in supplemental materials. Each applicant must take responsibility for ensuring that his or her application is complete and submitted by the deadline date.

What expenses will the program pay for and what will I be expected to provide?
Participants may expect to have the following expenses paid for by the program: round-trip economy airfare to and from their home base; room and board for the length of the seminar; and program-related travel and other program-related expenses within the host country(ies). Participants should be prepared to pay for the following: up to $600.00, which is a cost-share to help defray pre-departure orientation costs; passport and visa fees; inoculations; gifts for host country presenters and schools; short-term overseas insurance coverage; books and other curriculum materials; and per diem expenses, including personal expenses such as laundry and postage.

Where will I stay during the overseas seminar?
Accommodations will be provided by the administering agency (in most cases, the host country Fulbright Commission) at mid-range hotels during the majority of the program. In some cases, university housing or one- to three-day home stays with host country families will be arranged. Participants should be prepared to share a room throughout the duration of the seminar.

Is there an age limit? Can I apply to the program after I retire?
There is no age limit for participating in the program; however, an applicant must hold a full-time teaching or administering position to apply. In addition, the program is designed for educators who plan to disseminate and incorporate information learned in their classroom and educational environments for several years after the seminar ends. A successful participant must also provide documentation that testifies to his or her current sound physical and mental health to participate in the seminar, based on a recent physical examination conducted within six months of the seminar departure.

Are younger educators at a disadvantage in the competition?
No. The Seminars Abroad Program is interested in selecting applicants who can best address the various selection criteria. These may include educators new to the field with little to no travel experience and/or those who have a wealth of professional and international expertise.

How will applicants be selected?
Applicants will be selected based on their responses to the selection criteria described in the application package. Preference may be given to applicants who have not already received a Fulbright-Hays award. Applications will be evaluated and scored by a technical review panel of international education experts and former Seminars Abroad participants. Their recommendations are forwarded to various levels at the U.S. Department of Education, including the Secretary's office, for approval. Final selection for the program is made by the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, which takes into account the recommendations of the U.S. Department of Education, availability of funds, and other program requirements.

When will I be notified whether or not I have been selected?
Notifications will take place via e-mail in early spring of 2017.

If I move or change my e-mail after submitting my application, should I send you address updates?
Yes. Please send any changes of address, e-mail, or position to the program office contacts so that your file may be updated.


Post-Award Issues and Participant Requirements:

May I request copies of my reviewer's comments?
This is not necessary. Reviewers' comments are automatically sent to all applicants, regardless of their successful or unsuccessful status, with their notification e-mails from the Department.

Is short-term overseas insurance required?
Yes. All participants, once selected and notified, are required to send documentation of specific kinds of insurance coverage during the seminar period. If this coverage is not already included in an individual's personal insurance plan, they will be required to purchase it independently. Failure to obtain insurance could prohibit participation in the program.

Do I need to obtain a physical examination?
Yes. All participants, once selected and notified, must provide documentation of physical and psychological health that will enable each individual to participate fully in all phases of the seminar. Our office also needs to be notified of any change in your medical condition prior to departure.

Can I take my family or significant others with me?
No. Seminars are short-term and require intense group travel and participation.

Do I have to attend the pre-departure orientation?
Yes, it is mandatory for all participants (there are no exceptions). A pre-departure orientation (PDO) session lasting one to three days will be arranged in the United States prior to international departures. All participants are required to attend. The program will provide flights or other transportation to and from the PDO site and, in most cases, room and board.

What are my responsibilities as a participant with the Fulbright-Hays Seminars Abroad Program?
Participants must read, sign, and agree to abide by the program "Terms and Conditions of the Award" document contained in the application materials. They are required to complete and submit a curriculum project to the Department of Education and the administering agency 90 days after the seminar end date. In addition, participants are required to use their curriculum projects in their classrooms, share them with colleagues, and conduct outreach activities in their schools, institutions, and communities as well as professional and/or academic organizations upon return to the United States. Finally, each participant must complete an electronic evaluation of the seminar for U.S. Department of Education purposes.

Will I receive academic credit for participation?
The U.S. Department of Education does not offer academic credit to participants in the Fulbright-Hays Seminars Abroad Program.

Can I publish the curriculum project that I create?
There are no restrictions on a participant publishing materials created as part of their Seminars Abroad experience. However, these materials must also be made available to the general public at no charge either through a Web site or other means.


Hints for Preparing a Competitive Application

  • Plan ahead. Producing a strong application takes time and careful effort.
  • Double check that you are applying to the appropriate seminar based on the educational level at which you work (elementary, secondary, postsecondary).
  • Be sure to check the eligibility requirements (if uncertain, call program contacts).
  • The program does not lend itself to those who wish to apply in pairs or groups. This is an application process for individuals.
  • Make sure your curriculum vita clearly explains your job responsibilities, including the specific courses and grade levels that you teach.
  • Focus on illustrating your leadership qualities through specific examples of professional and community activities.
  • Emphasize the nature of your active membership and involvement vs. simply listing organizations.
  • Include any awards or honors, especially at the district, regional, or national levels. If necessary, explain briefly.
  • In the essays, show a clear connection between your professional responsibilities and the country seminar choices and, although of lesser importance, the seminar themes. Explain where the country and/or theme of the seminar fit into the unit(s) and course(s) for which you have responsibility.
  • The curriculum project is very important. Be sure to consider this and write about a proposed project in the essay. A strong applicant should have a definite, but flexible, plan of how to implement learning experiences into their classrooms and communities.
  • Consider what your outreach and dissemination plan will be (for the classroom, colleagues, community, district, and other educational arenas) and detail proposed activities in the application essays.
  • Be sure to follow up with individuals who are providing references on your behalf so that their information is submitted by the application submission deadline.
  • Students should be the ultimate beneficiaries of a Seminars Abroad experience. Be sure to discuss in your application how your participation in a seminar would benefit them directly.
  • Proofread!
  • Re-read each application question and then re-check your responses to ensure you have addressed in a specific manner all of the seminar objectives as given in each section.
  • Have a trusted colleague or friend review your application materials and offer feedback.
  • It is not unusual for an applicant's initial attempts to be unsuccessful. Please review the readers' comments and consider re-applying if this is the case.
  • It is recommended that each essay is no longer than three pages.
  • It is recommended that each essay be in portrait orientation.
  • A page is 8.5” X 11” on one side only and with 1 inch margins at the top, bottom, and both sides.
  • We recommend all essays to be written in Times New Roman, Courier, Courier New, Arial, Calibri, Cambria, 12 point font or larger, and double-spaced.
  • It is not recommended to single space your essays.

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Last Modified: 12/22/2017