Francisco Vaz da Silva
“In 1999 I was awarded a Fulbright grant that allowed me to spend a six-month sabbatical leave at the University of California, Berkeley, as a Visiting Scholar.
This was a most rewarding experience, both in personal and in professional terms.
The months I spent in Berkeley were the closest I ever came to that ideal haven of study that Hermann Hesse describes in his Glass Bead Game-an old wishful fantasy of mine-with here the added advantage of having the possibility of indulging in more agreeably prosaic aspects of life, like chatting over a beer or dinning out in cozy exotic restaurants.
As a result, I established precious professional links, read immensely, had plenty of undisturbed time to write, and added to my personal library scores of materials not to be found in Portugal. My intellectual horizon widened up, and three papers now in print plus an almost ready book, all in English, are the visible result of that intense if short period that made me realize the importance of setting my work on an international plane.
During this turning point in my professional life, I repeatedly felt the benefits incumbent to the prestige of being a Fulbright grantee. And I realized that officials in charge of foreign visiting scholars in the US take very seriously the Fulbright Program’s statement of mission-to foster mutual understanding between the peoples of the USA and of other countries-by offering all kinds of opportunities to establish human contacts and exchange ideas.
Overall, I felt pampered, in a good sort of way; and it is only fair to note that this sweet feeling started, even before I left Lisbon, in face of the dedicated work of the Luso-American Cultural Commission.”
Fulbright Scholar at University of California, Berkeley, AY 1998/1999