“Hailing from a humble background, I am grateful for the privilege of joining the ranks of Fulbright scholars around the world. I look back at the time I spent at Harvard with nostalgia, recollecting the intellectual pleasure of attending seminars and courses with world-class scholars, and the personal pleasure of living in a beautiful and richly diverse environment. I developed long-lasting professional and personal relationships that have endured beyond my time in Cambridge, allowing me to remain in touch with both academic and non-academic life in that wonderful city.
Of the several cherished memories of getting to know other Fulbrighters, I particularly remember a Fulbright chapter trip to the historic cities of Lexington and Concord. It was like living the past in the present! One could imagine Paul Revere’s horse galloping urgently along to warn the Minutemen of the troops’ impending arrival, passing just steps from my home in Cambridge along its storied route. A walk around Walden Pond evoked recollections of simpler times, and was filled with the friendship and laughter of people gathered from many different countries. I was deeply touched by the generosity of the people I met everyday. I recall with much fondness an invitation to celebrate the American Thanksgiving holiday over a family dinner at the home of a work colleague. I was touched by this gesture and the experience – it made me feel at home thousands of miles away across the Atlantic. It was one of many times that people opened up their homes to me.
A significant lesson of the Fulbright exposure was the acceptance – and, indeed, celebration – of pluralism and respect for diverse opinions. I have carried this enhanced awareness into my everyday life back home in Lisbon, where I now run the Business Research Unit of the Lisbon University Institute, creating conditions for researchers to conduct world class research whilst promoting pluralism and academic diversity and discourse.
Time ebbed away very fast and in next to no time my 10-month tenure at Harvard had come to an end. It was soon time to bid goodbye. My Fulbright experience has been unbelievably rich and gratifying, providing a rare opportunity for collaboration and reflection. I feel that I have gained much more from the experience than I have yet had a chance to give back, especially as the desire to contribute has been a significant life-long driver of both my academic and personal voyage. I look forward to bringing back the fullness of the experience to my local community, starting with my new tenure at the business center and outreach activities in the community. It is only over the years that I will be able to assess the real impact my experience has made within the local context. I am looking forward to observing this!”
Portuguese Fulbright Scholar, Harvard University, AY2009/2010