NIU is giving a crash course on the United States to a collection of new Fulbright scholars this week.
The Fulbright program was created in 1946 to provide scholarships to international students interested in studying in America, and for U.S. citizens to do the same abroad. This week, Northern Illinois University is holding a “gateway orientation” for 65 foreign students who will study across the country. Stephanie Brown, Associate Director of the NIU Student and Faculty Office, said the campus provides a broad base for students preparing to study across the U.S.
"It’s a similar type of location to where these people are going, but it’s also drastically different to where some of our NYU or Berkeley students are going when they’re done here as well," she said. "It gives a really nice ‘Intro to U.S.’”
Brown credits this as part of the reason the State Department chose NIU as one of this year’s gateway hosts. She says her office still sees previous attendees communicating via the event’s private Facebook groups.
"We’ll see somebody from two years ago posting, ‘Hey, I’m going to be in New York this weekend. Anybody have a couch for me to crash on?’ It’s just really nice seeing how they maintain those relationships.”
Brown noted a pair of students from a previous group even got married.
Many of the current attendees are Central and South American scholars, but there are also students from areas as diverse as Turkey, India, the United Kingdom, and Cambodia. The program lasts until Friday, and two members of this group will join the NIU student body this fall.