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CageFree

Fulbright Research - Personal Statement?

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I find myself struggling to write the personal statement portion for my Fulbright application (this is the one for US students going abroad to conduct research). I'm trying to avoid talking about my project directly, since that's what the Statement of Grant Purpose is supposed to do.

 

I am a historian. My parents were born in the country I study, and we moved there when I was young, though I have been back in the United States since I was a teenager. My research is not in any way connected to any family relations.

 

I am not sure whether I should focus more on a) how I became interested in what I'm researching, or b )how my connection to the country in question makes me a potentially good 'ambassador,' so to speak. I have what I would call a binational identity, and I think that would be an interesting angle/theme, but my research is not at all about that. Ideally, I'd combine the two, but we only have one page to write.

 

My question is whether I should focus on a) or b ), or whether I'm just approaching this the wrong way altogether.

Edited by CageFree

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I have a very similar background, and also applied--successfully--for the Fulbright last year. And I'm also a historian. I decided to go with option B, detailing my binational identity and its potential for "bringing together" two ostensibly disparate cultures. This worked out well for me.  

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I have a very similar background, and also applied--successfully--for the Fulbright last year. And I'm also a historian. I decided to go with option B, detailing my binational identity and its potential for "bringing together" two ostensibly disparate cultures. This worked out well for me.  

 

Does your identity pose any relevance to your research? If not, how did you tie the two things together?

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No, my background has nothing to do with my research, although the language knowledge has been handy. My personal statement made no effort to tie them together. Instead, it focused on how I, personally, would be a good representative of the US in that (this--I'm here now) country and how my multicultural background made me a better scholar. If I remember correctly, they explicitly say to avoid repeating the proposal or your CV in the personal statement, so I was careful to focus on my non-research related attributes. It's tempting to use the personal statement as an extension of the proposal, but that's exactly what they don't want. After all, this is the Fulbright IIE, not the Fulbright-Hays, which is exclusively research oriented.      

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