Spring break is usually a time for rest and relaxation, but for Dr. Charity Alinda, spring break will include a full schedule in Taiwan thanks to the Fulbright Scholar Program.
Alinda, the acting director of international student and scholar services at Millersville University, is also a Fulbright Scholar. This means that he is part of an organization that, according to the program’s website, encourages its scholars to “build their skills and connections, gain valuable international insights, and return home to share their experiences with their students and colleagues,” including Alinda’s trip to Taiwan.
“When I travel to Taiwan in March, I will be part of a cohort of U.S. education professionals who will participate in the Fulbright International Education Administrators Program,” Alinda explains. “The program is aimed at educating professionals in international education about the higher education system in host countries.”
This grant program allows awarded scholars to experience a host country’s education system and meet colleagues from all around the world. Applicants who are selected for these opportunities will visit campuses, meet with faculty and education experts, tour historical and cultural sites with the Fulbright Scholar Program providing travel, accommodation and related program expenses. Alinda’s cohort will also have one year following the trip to complete a series of projects, as a part of the grant.
Alinda’s trip includes university visits with other higher education institutions and organizations including the Foundation for International Cooperation in Higher Education in Taiwan, which helps facilitate partnerships between universities.
Additionally, he will meet with representatives from the American Institute in Taiwan and Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, visit an indigenous community to learn about their cultural activities, tour the Sun Moon Lake, and visit night markets and the Xingtian Temple.
Alinda became involved with the Fulbright Scholar Program in 2019 when he attended an information session during International Education Week. “A Fulbright Scholar program official out of Washington D.C. ran the session, and as part of the session, explained Fulbright grant opportunities,” Alinda says. “Following the session, I started to explore the options being offered.”
As for why he pursued the grant to Taiwan, Alinda explains that even though there were many options, Taiwan immediately stood out to him. “Ever since I was in high school, I have always been fascinated by Taiwan and how it has come to be one of the most technologically advanced regions in Asia.”
“I strongly believe in the power of having a globalized society,” he continues. “In a globalized society, the values of diversity, equity and inclusion are normalized, and such principles become expectations in daily operations and at all decision-making levels within institutions.”
Alinda’s hope for his participation in this program is that it encourages other University faculty and staff to do the same, whether it be through Fulbright or through similar grants. “As we expand our internationalization initiatives at Millersville University, my participation in the Fulbright program will enhance our global initiatives,” he says.
“These programs can add to our current momentum as we continue to further internationalize our campus,” he continues. “Meaningful cross-cultural connections cannot occur in a vacuum. Through programs like this Fulbright IEA, people from diverse backgrounds come together and life-changing relationships form.”
Alinda will depart for Taiwan on March 3, and he and his cohort have a busy two-week schedule full of opportunities to further their knowledge, education and experiences.
“I believe that creating a peaceful and accepting society starts with building bridges,” Alinda concludes. “Connections that bring together people from various cultural backgrounds and schools of thought are just one example of how these bridges can form. This Fulbright program allows connections to happen, and I look forward to participating in such an opportunity.”
For information about international programs and services at MU, click here.