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Bound for Bandung

26 March 2011

A man from UPS, wearing his brown uniform, banged on my door late in the afternoon yesterday. “UPS!” he called. I jumped up and went to open the front door. I wasn’t expecting anything.

“Do I need to sign for it?” I asked.

“No!” he said, holding out a big plastic envelope. “It’s from Indonesia!”

On behalf of Fulbright Indonesia and the American Indonesian Exchange Foundation (AMINEF) I am pleased to advise you of your selection for a 2011–2012 Fulbright Senior Scholar Award. This award is for a period of ten months and will commence in September 2011.

I will be teaching journalism at Universitas Padjadjaran (UNPAD) in Bandung, a city of more than 2 million people. There are 44,000 students at the university, which was founded in 1957. (The University of Florida has more than 50,000 students.)

So it begins!

On July 14, 2010, I submitted my application for a second Fulbright Scholar grant. Sitting in an Internet cafe on the second floor of a restaurant in Zambia, I clicked the Submit button on the form and sent it on its way. I had begun work on the application back in May (it’s a very long form). I knew from my previous experience that the process is not speedy, so I didn’t expect to hear from Fulbright for some time.

The first letter came in early December: I had passed the first phase of the process, and my papers had been forwarded to the Fulbright authority in the country I had chosen — Indonesia.

The second letter came in early March. It congratulated me on being selected, but no terms are provided for the award until one receives the packet from the host country. That’s what arrived yesterday!

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