Fulbright Friends Mentoring Programme
The 'Fulbright Friend' scheme offers alumni an opportunity to welcome, connect with, and befriend new Fulbrighters and help them get the most out of their time abroad . This can involve meeting for coffee, trips to the theatre, and dinner out - it can also include practical support for arriving in a new city, pointing them in the direction of support networks and helping them find their feet. Both alumni and grantees alike often state that this is one of the most memorable and enjoyable parts of their Fulbright experience!
Whether you have previously been a 'Fulbright Friend' and would like to do so again, or if you're interested in helping with the scheme, please email us stating your location and subject area and we will get back to you as soon as possible to confirm your interest.
A Mentor's Perspective
Jon Bendall, (UK Police Scholar, University of Colorado 2010-11)
"When I was asked to mentor back in August 2012, I was unsure about the process; I have a really busy work life as well as being in the midst of completing my Professional Doctorate. I sought assurances from the BFSA about what commitment was needed and was reassured by their responses. I also reflected on how much the people who I had met during my Fulbright year, had made my experience, especially being so far from the rest of the Fulbright community. Without these people and their hospitality and local knowledge, my experience would have been nowhere as near as rich as it was and the phrase "pay it forward" sprang to mind. I therefore agreed to put myself forward and was paired with Kurt Berning from near Portland, Oregon, who was to study at the University of East Anglia.
Being Kurt's Fulbright "friend" has encouraged me to become more involved in the Fulbright community. Kurt has become like part of our family and will be hugely missed when he moves on to his next adventure, both by myself, my wife and our dog Dude, who adores Kurt. I look forward to mentoring the next person to attend the UEA. They have a lot to live up to."
A Mentee's Perspective
Kurt Berning (US Postgraduate, University of East Anglia, 2012-13).
"The Fulbright Friend programme has been one of the most important parts of my time in the UK as a Postgraduate Scholar. I arrived in Norwich two days before my accommodation opened, and Jon Bendall and his wife Kammy gave me a place to stay, showed me around the city, introduced me to their dog Dude, and took me to their favorite local pubs. Since then we’ve been in touch about once a week for a myriad of different events. I’ve learned to cook Indian curry with Kammy’s mom, they met my family over Christmas, we’ve gone to London together for BFSA events, visited the north Norfolk coast with Jon’s family, had countless dinners and pub nights out, and are planning a mountain biking trip in Wales this August. Oh, and Jon has successfully turned me into a Welsh rugby fan.
I’m so fortunate to have been linked with Jon in this programme, and he and Kammy are a model of the perfect Fulbright Friends. Jon and Kammy’s kindness and courtesy made me feel immediately at home in the UK, and I proudly think of them as my British family."