Snuck out of Jeffrey Sweet’s seminar and dropped in on Juanita Rockwell’s: “Elsewhere: The Fulbright and Other Journeys.” She participated in what’s called the Fulbright “Specialist Program.” Lots of tips in no particular order:
Instead of a one year or three month program, Rockwell was given the option of going overseas for a shorter period of time: two to six weeks. Her posting was in San Jose, Costa Rica. She knew a little Spanish, but worked on it before going. While in country, she had theatre rehearsals in the morning, and two afternoons a week, she went up to the university in the mountains and taught class and met with students. “A fantastic experience!”
For the Specialist Program, you have to be invited. You’re put on the roster for five years – meaning you may get a call sometime in that five years to go somewhere to do something. Or not. It’s better to create your own opportunity. If you know someone who teaches in a university in another country, ask if there are exchange possibilities. She had colleagues in Costa Rica who taught there, and through their institution, invited her to come. Fulbright is talking about perhaps allowing a theatre (rather than a university) make the invitation. Frame the invitation from the institution so that it can only be you.
Qualifications: It used to be required that you have a PhD or terminal degree (MBA), but now it’s expanding to include “professional equivalency.” Get fancy people to make recommendations.
US Studies is an area to look at: ie, contemporary American theatre. Any area of American culture would fit under this category. There are also humanities categories, or propose using contemporary American culture (ie: theatre) to teach English. What is it in your background that you can frame towards what they’re asking for.
The Fulbright officers are very helpful.
On language: in Western Europe: if you can’t speak the language, it ain’t gonna happen. No one’s sending you to Paris if you don’t speak French. But many countries have languages few folks speak and often they want English speakers to work with their students. Sometimes the posting will say “language helpful but not required.” Do take the language course before you go.
Here’s a resource: Theatre without Borders – a website where you can make connections to feed into other programs to get you abroad.
How to get started: go to the website. Search for areas of interest. Look at how many Fulbrights are being offered in that country. Check out the “new” section for countries that have added a slew of new postings. Or look for the countries you’re dying to go to. Look at what’s available and see if you fit the qualifications. Look for those that look for “all disciplines.” Or “arts.” Sometimes they say “drama” or “playwriting” or “theatre.” Sometimes.