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Four panel collage of students involved in international programming

Students

Miguel Toro


Do you remember why you chose to apply for your Fulbright?

When I finished college in 2010, I had two objectives; using the knowledge I had executing applied projects and keep studying and learning. Eventually, I did both. When I finished my master and I had a short experience with the research process, I found that research was what I wanted to do the next perhaps 10 - 15 years of my career. The alternatives were a few, however, Fulbright presented itself as more than only scholarships. It was about mutual understanding and acceptance between the U.S. and the world. I liked the idea; particularly in these days where mutual understanding among peoples on earth appears to be more difficult.

What motivated you to apply?

What motivated me to apply was the challenge to come to the U.S. to learn about the American culture and, with my actions and work, hopefully, let my fellow Americans and international friends, learn a bit about my culture beyond the stereotypes that we sometimes inaccurately create about "the rest of the world."

How would you articulate how living and studying abroad has transformed you?

This will be the second experience for me. Both were different and rich. This one as Fulbright scholar has finished changing in me the idea that I had of my own people and of all the peoples in developing countries. In these years I have convinced myself that the differences among all of us are mere superficialities. I am convinced now that there are only a few structural economic dysfunctions that differentiates developed and developing countries. After my experiences here, I am convinced that all peoples have the same potential to provide the well-being that a good part of the U.S. citizens take for granted.

What will you do in the year immediately after graduating?

Hopefully I will be developing research from Ecuador.

What was your most memorable moment as a student?

Learning how taught can be developing a truly innovative idea that can become a research project.

What was your funniest moment as a student?

In general, I appreciate all my days here. I value so much this opportunity that I kind of have fun all the time.

Describe ODU in 3 words?

Inclusive, supportive, and ambitious

What is your lasting impression of ODU?

I remember I had five options at the beginning of my process. I chose ODU because it was especially welcoming and supportive. My general impression of the university is that embraces internationals in a way that let them feel that the university really want them here.

Faculty

Joe Cosco


Having retired from ODU last May after a 20-plus-years tenure, I can honestly say that my time at UKK many years ago was one of the most rewarding experiences of my academic life. My only regret is that it was too short.

I won't lie: It was a challenging assignment -- five consecutive days of back-to-back-to-back, 90-minute sessions with some 50 Japanese undergraduates (all but a handful of them women), who, by their own admissions, weren't used to and intimidated by my preference for classroom discussion over lecturing. And so I struggled, in class, to get them to respond to my crash course on the American Dream (and American Nightmares) or to open up about their own Japanese Dreams.

The daily journals I had them keep turned out to be another matter. As I read these journals on my long flights home, I was overwhelmed by their honesty and openness regarding America/Americans, the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II and use of the atomic bomb against Japan, and their own dreams of travel and a world blessed with equal rights, tolerance, and peace.

One way I tried (with limited success) to engage the students was to start each class with a haiku. The first one, i'd like to be drunk/and sleep among blooming pinks/on a cool stone, got a few giggles. So, it was very gratifying when, in a final journal entry, one student spoke of the brief time we had had together to think about America and Japan, amid the daily afternoon thunderstorms. "But I am sure that this was precious time," she wrote. "And these five days were in an instant. Passing time is fast. So I made this haiku." It was a haiku worthy of Basho: summer rain/connected our feelings/that is a moment.

Alumni

Do you remember why you chose to apply for your Fulbright?

More than 50 Nobel Laureates from the Fulbright Scholars convinced me that Fulbright is the most prestigious scholarship in the world. In order to follow in the footsteps of those highly successful Fulbright scholars who are bringing peace and prosperity across the globe through their prudence and intelligence, I choose Fulbright to bring significant change in my life and in the international society through academic and cross-cultural learning from the program.

What motivated you to apply?

It is a life-long opportunity to improve academically, professionally and socially. The rigorous academic learning and multicultural exposure of the program help scholars to transform their lives to the best stage of their dream. The world-wide Fulbright network can be useful to anyone anywhere in the world.

How would you articulate how living and studying abroad has transformed you?

Over the last two years, this scholarship has made me not only self-dependent, but also more confident academically. The lesson learned inside and outside the classroom has opened my eyes to think big, to take initiative, and to create a big social impact.

What will you do in the year immediately after graduating?

After my completion of the program, I will join the Government of Bangladesh in a relevant department where I will apply my learning from the program.

What was your most memorable moment as a student?

My Fulbright life in the USA was so eventful. Every moment is memorable to me. However, my favorite moment was Fulbright Enrichment Seminar held in the Oklahoma City, where I got the opportunity to interact with more than 120 Fulbright Scholars from more than 50-60 countries.

What was your funniest moment as a student?

I am learning everyday through fun, which creates a lasting impact on my achievements from the program. In a dinner program, I learned that Turkey is a traditional meat in the USA. When someone asked me, "do you like Turkey?" I thought he was asking about the country Turkey. I replied Turkey is a very good country and I like it. He laughed at me loudly.

Describe ODU in 3 words?

Innovative, qualitative, transformative

What is your lasting impression of ODU?

My lasting impression of ODU is that it is an excellent academic institution to build up a sustainable career globally.

What do you do for a living now?

About to graduate in May, so unemployed currently, but I plan to kickstart my startup before graduation. It is a startup aimed at putting dormant taxi drivers to use and generating income.

Do you think your time at ODU helped you to pursue this? If yes, how?

ODU enabled me to experience things that I often saw in Hollywood movies, and this is no exaggeration, from getting to learn and practice American and German Ballroom Dances with beautiful partners to Rolling over the wooden floor in the name of Aikido 101 to some serious stuff like running up in a Business competition for my BUSN110 class. ODU's experiences felt like just what I needed to grow and evolve.

Did you ever envisage doing this while you were at ODU?

I would say mostly I didn't as it was something that I accidentally came across, but in a way yes I also did envisage since I kept looking out for experiences that were connected my way of experiencing life and it's colors.

What did you do in the year immediately after graduating?

I haven't graduated yet, but immediately after, I will rush to my laptop, open up my CV (saved on the desktop) and changed my education status, from to-be-graduated to BSc Engineering 2015-2019.

Where do you live now?

Pakistan

Where did you live when you were a student?

Powhatan housing

Who was your favourite lecturer and why?

HIST110 Professor Dixon Mcknight, she is simply one of the sweetest, wise and humble teachers I have come across. It was always fun to attend her lecture.

What were ODU students campaigning for when you were a student?

I cannot recall completely but ideas centered around equality.

What was your most memorable moment as a student?

When I had to stay up all night completing my ENMA401 project, while working on the workstation in library, felt really driven and result oriented.

What was your funniest moment as a student?

I had a pair of Arab leather sandals I brought from Oman, and one day while walking back from library to Powhattan, one of the sandal's notch came out rendering it useless, so I sat and tried to adjust it such that it would atleast get me to the room, then a few drags later the other one also malfunctioned, so I removed both the sandals threw them in a dustbin nearby and walked barefoot to Powhatan, picking up a few laughs on my way, but I would say I enjoy walking barefooted on the grass.

Are you still friends with anybody you met at ODU?

Oh yes, so many of them, my very good friend David from Brazil, we both are still connected and share updates on each other's lives, and my good friend Kurnia Foe, who must be the most popular person among international students by now.

Would you send your children to ODU?

Well, if I ever move to Norfolk, why not!

Describe ODU in 3 words?

Poetic, Planned and Progressing

Do you still believe in the same principles as you did when you were a student?

Yes, I would agree some have evolved but towards a positively driven end.

What is your lasting impression of ODU?

Elizabeth River and me playing my music instrument by the shore.

What do you do for a living now?

I am still a student. I'm in the final phase of my Masters program.

Do you think your time at ODU helped you to pursue this? If yes, how?

Yes. The time, even though short, I spent at ODU gave me so much confidence to pursue my dreams. It was a major milestone in disproving many of my own doubts.

Did you ever envisage doing this while you were at ODU?

Yes, I was planning to do Masters even when I was at ODU.

What did you do in the year immediately after graduating?

I joined for the Masters.

Where do you live now?

In the college hostel

Where did you live when you were a student?

Powhatan Apartments

Who was your favourite lecturer and why?

In ODU, all the four teachers (Prof. Janis K Smith, Prof. Janet Y Meyer, Prof. Mary Porter Troupe and Prof. Matthew Montoya) who taught me were wonderful.

What was your most memorable moment as a student?

As someone who has been to the U.S for the first time, every single experience from buying a coffee to making new friends and visiting new places were memorable for me. The celebrations especially were lovely. The ODU culture is really inclusive and diverse as it celebrates not just the U.S festivals but also gives space for festivals across the world.

Are you still friends with anybody you met at ODU?

Yes, I'm occasionally in touch with some of my friends including my roommates and fellow UGRADs.

Would you send your children to ODU?

I would love to. Who doesn't want their children to experience something as wonderful as ODU?

Describe ODU in 3 words?

Terrific, Beautiful, and Informative.

Do you still believe in the same principles as you did when you were a student?

I do believe in many of the principles as I did when I was a student. At the same time, ODU and the U.S. taught me a lot which shaped my thoughts and opinions. I believe I learned to be more open-minded and inclusive.

What is your lasting impression of ODU?

ODU is life changing. One will never be the same after doing a course at ODU. It has a lasting influence on my life.