“It was with great expectations that I’ve arrived in the US as Fulbright scholar, to spend three months as a post-doctoral fellow in one of the most prestigious US Public Health institutions, the Bloomberg School of Public Health, at Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, Maryland).
Immediately after arrival, I felt it was going to be a demanding and intensive period. Firstly, the need of adjustment to the American society, which compared to the Portuguese counterpart, is more structured and runs on many rules and forms. There are instructions for almost everything, from bathtub cleaning “dos & don’ts” to a range of Hopkins and Fulbright requirements and deadlines. Secondly, the challenge of being part of a very special research team (Prof Debra Roter and the RIAS research group), so active that during my stay received, besides de Portuguese fellow, visitors from England to China.
Living in Baltimore offered me the experience of a city of contrasts: from the touristy downtown (including the famous Inner Harbor area) and the lovely Hopkins University Homewood Campus, to the difficulty of knowing how safe to walk it was in several city neighborhoods. Here, I could appreciate not only a multiethnic and multicultural society, but also the value of the advice and support from my colleagues at Hopkins.
Academic work involved, besides research project intensive labor, contacting with graduate students and participating in departmental meetings. It was really interesting to experience RIAS team work philosophy and the different lines of research, to meet and be in touch with renowned scientists, while enjoying a simultaneous affable atmosphere.
I also had the possibility of returning to my pharmacy roots (as a pharmaceutical sciences lecturer), by visiting the College of Pharmacy, at the Oregon State University (Corvallis, Oregon). Through the Fulbright Occasional Lecturing Program, I had the chance to travel and talk about my home Social Pharmacy Department research for Faculty members and the Portuguese pharmaceutical profession for students. Combined with the North Pacific Ocean shore, this was a memorable occasion.
Overall, through the Fulbright grant I was truly favored with a very special opportunity. Not only have I evolved in my scientific knowledge and started a prolific network of international collaboration, but also I have benefit from inner development and growing as a better individual. Having experienced one of the present world’s most influential cultures, this period was a personal landmark. It is my advice to anyone who has the chance to pursue a Fulbright fellowship to do so, being sure that its unquestionable value will provide significant professional and personal outcomes in a near future.”
Fulbright Scholar at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, AY 2007/2008.