I still remember unleashing a primal scream of excitement when I found out I had been awarded the Fulbright. After years of underperforming academically in high school, I was the last person my teachers would have picked to earn the prestigious grant. I overcame their doubts, and my own fears, and embarked on the adventure of a lifetime in Brazil.

I started fantasizing about life in Brazil, and even created a bucket list of items to check off while there. I was fortunate enough to experience the “touristy” things on my list, but the lasting impact came from little surprises that inevitably greet any “gringo” in Brazil. The drink shared with a new friend at the neighborhood bar, the hilarious interactions that arise while learning a foreign language, and of course, the steep learning curve of dancing Samba and Forro.

When I first learned of Fulbright, I thought of academic projects, structured learning, and life abroad. Yes, the Fulbright provides these opportunities, but for me, it was the incredible people that I was lucky enough to meet, learn from, and grow with in Brazil that I will remember most about Fulbright.

James Eggers
2015, Brasil, UFMG, ETA

 

The content of this blog post reflects the author’s views, and not necessarily the views of the Fulbright Association nor of the San Diego Fulbright Chapter.