Berlin Seminar is an annual meeting organized by the German-American Fulbright Commission. Held this year between March 17 and 21, it was attended both by German Fulbrighters of the 2018-2019 program (who had their orientation meeting before leaving for the US) and American grantees placed throughout Europe, including a few of those residing in Poland – Cindy Abarca, David Arney, Ivey Barker, Molly Benkaim, Kathryn Cater, Michael Gilmor, Carol Grzych, Emily Kosmaczewski, Briana Krewson, Donna McCollough, Victoria Miluch, Philip Papaioannou, Jiwon Park and Andre Woloshuk. The participants could take part in all scheduled activities that allowed the two Fulbright groups to meet, interact and start networking. The program consisted of the keynote speeches (by Dr. Cornelia Schu – Expert Council of German Foundations on Integration and Migration and Prof. Dr. Heinz Bude from University of Kassel), workshops (on topics such as social entrepreneurship and diversity in European politics), presentations of the grantees’ research projects, meeting with Sawsan Chebli (State of Berlin Delegate to the Federation, Permanent Secretary for Active Citizenship and International Relations), yoga sessions, Berlin city tours and a premiere performance of the Fulbright Jazz Ensemble that comprises Fulbright grantees and alumni.
Participating in the Berlin Seminar was inspiring as the seminar provided me with platform for Fulbright students to come together to discuss international cooperation for the benefit of improving society. Some of the activities that I participated while in the seminar included workshops on social media, cultural sensitivity discussions, presentations from Fulbright scholars, and presentation from notable leaders discussing issues such as the refugee crisis in Europe. Learning about the different political issues that are shaping society and discussing with other students interesting projects that ranged from history to science was a unique experience. As a result of my attendance to the Berlin conference, I was able to meet other Fulbright grantees and hear about their stories and areas of interest. I also learned more about the political issues occurring in Germany and Europe that I was unaware of.
Cindy AbarcaEnglish Teaching Assistant, University of Białystok
The Berlin Seminar was more eye-opening and inspiration than I would have imagined previously. I knew that we would have the chance to speak with many Fulbrighters staying in other European nations, as well as Germans heading to America, but the seminars and workshops were a pleasant surprise. I watched many project presentations that other Fulbrighters were working on, and I was truly inspired by their work in terms of the diversity of topics and the extensive impact they’re having on society both locally and globally. My workshop on Bitcoin gave me an interesting look at consumerism in the world, a side of psychology that I wouldn’t have otherwise understood.
Philip PapaioannouU.S. Student Researcher, University of Warsaw
During my time in Germany, I met Fulbright researchers and ETAs from all over Europe, specifically Spain, Italy, Belgium, England, Slovakia, Bulgaria, and Germany. The week was spent conversing and sharing academic experiences we have all had during our time in our respective countries, finding similarities and differences in the places we work. I will remember it as one of the most beneficial and influential times of my grant, and I feel motivated and inspired by new ideas to use in my classroom in Poland.
Briana KrewsonEnglish Teaching Assistant, University of Rzeszów
During the Berlin Seminar, there were a number of different programs and activities completed that will greatly aid the way in which I structure my classes and engage the students. In addition, there were numerous lecturers and speakers that provided valuable insight into the world today and the importance of a transatlantic partnership. It was also an incredible opportunity to meet and network with incredible Fulbright recipients from all over Europe to discuss all of the important work that they are doing.
Michael GilmorEnglish Teaching Assistant, Lomza State University of Applied Sciences
The Fulbright Berlin Seminar was a great chance to connect with both American Fulbrighters from all over Germany and Europe and German Fulbrighters going to the U.S. The conference was very well organized by Dr. Oliver Schmidt and his team with a very balanced schedule of social, academic and learning events. Highlights of the conference for me would have been the stories told by Fulbrighters in other countries and musical performances by Fulbright scholars. The keynote speaker at the closing ceremony was particularly inspiring, as was our guided visit to the Migrant Hub, an incubator for startups and organizations working to help migrants in Germany. Overall, it was a wonderful experience and I am grateful to have had the chance to meet with such a large, dynamic group of Fulbrighters!