Archive for the ‘Fulbright’ Category

I have been orientated!!

Sunday, July 24th, 2011

Sorry for not posting the past few days! I was at the DC Orientation for Fulbright, meeting everyone else who is going to Eastern Europe and Eurasia and getting tons and tons of information about the next 10 months!

Things I learned at orientation:

1) It’s Kyiv, not Kiev and it’s pronounced Keev, not Key-ev. Who knew?

2) I am not the only one going who doesn’t speak a lick of Ukrainian. Phew.

3) The Fulbrighters going to Ukraine rock! We all got along really well and have some really cool projects (one of the scholars is studying nationality through sports and is focusing on Euro 2012 – I want to get paid to study soccer!!).

4) Electronics are cheap and clothes are expensive. And be very, very careful about which ATM you use (ones connected to a bank: good. Free-standing ones: bad and most likely to be hacked).

5) Tons of us are going to be in Kyiv and 3 of us are at the same university, all studying political science! So, I will not be alone in my field, university and city – thank God.

6) Out of those 3, I found a roommate and travel buddy! Her name is Kaley and from the looks of it, we have found an apartment to call our own – fingers crossed that it works out – we’ll know within the week if it’s ours! Number one clue as to how I knew we were going to become fast friends: she looked at me and asked if it was bad that she already made a Google map pinpointing all of the museums she wants to visit in Kyiv. It was meant to be.

With the orientation answering almost all of my questions (such as what’s the best phone plan: Skype – $7 a month with unlimited calls to the USA), I finally felt prepared to buy my plane tickets and make it official!

So, I depart from Washington, DC on September 4: look out Kyiv, HERE I COME!!

Here we goooo…

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

When I started applying for a Fulbright grant last September, I never thought I would actually get it. I remember going through the process (which wasn’t the easiest thing I have ever done, let me tell you) and thinking “well this is a long shot…thank God I’m also applying to (fill in a company, organization, fast food chain name here) so I will actually have a job once I graduate and become a real person.” But, lo and behold, June rolls around and a nice little email pops up in my inbox telling me I got the grant and Kiev would be my home for the next 10 months. After a brief period of jumping up and down, crying, and calling/texting everyone I knew, it finally sunk in: I got the Fulbright.

Once I could feel all my limbs and remember my name again after the excitement of finding out, I had to start focusing on the journey ahead. Step 1: buy more winter clothes. Kiev is much colder than Virginia. Step 2: find somewhere that is selling winter clothes in the middle of July. Step 3: start learning Ukrainian. Step 4: settle for learning the Cyrillic alphabet. Step 5: well, you the get the idea.

As my “to do” lists started piling up, I decided to start a blog to keep track of my journey from Virginia to Ukraine and back. So, as my September departure (I don’t have an exact date yet but I will let you all know as soon as I do!) draws closer and my nervousness about the path ahead increases, I invite you all to join me as I take on the world (well, maybe just Ukraine) via this blog.

I’ll try my best to post often and I  guarantee a good story or two as I immerse myself into a new culture and lots of research.

So, here we go – time for my Fulbright dreams to become a reality!