My Fulbright Experience: Afonso Ferreira
(Afonso is the second one from the left)
(The Fulbrighter is in the last column at the right, sitting in the middle)
«There is so much I could say about my incredibly rich five-month stay at Rutgers University, which was made possible by a Fulbright Research Grant with the support of the Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT). While it may sound cliché, the truth is this experience was nothing short of transformative, both professionally and personally.
Professionally, I was welcomed with open arms by Prof. Dr. Oscar Schofield and everyone at the Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences (DMCS). From the moment I first stepped into the DMCS, Oscar did everything he could to provide me with any resources I needed and create a conducive environment for my research project. He also made sure I connected with other researchers in the Antarctic scientific community, even from other institutions. As a result, even though my research did not always go according to plan, the unwavering support of Oscar and his team allowed me to push forward. I return to Portugal knowing that I am now better a researcher than when I left in April. More importantly, my work with Oscar and other US-based researchers that I met during this period will not end here. We have laid the foundation for ongoing research collaborations that would not have been possible without this grant.
On a personal level, I thoroughly enjoyed my time in New Brunswick. I was initially a tad cautious and apprehensive of spending five months abroad, far from family and friends. However, these sentiments soon vanished. New Brunswick is a calm, yet vibrant city, which swiftly welcomed me. Moreover, its proximity to New York City allowed me to visit the Big Apple frequently and dive deep into its arts and culture scene. I also took the opportunity to travel and learn more about other cities in the U.S.A., which made me realize that this country has so much to offer. If anything, this five-month stay has only made me want to visit U.S. more often in the near future.
Overall, I am truly grateful to Fulbright Portugal, FCT and to Rutgers University. I wholeheartedly recommend these grant opportunities for any other researchers and students seeking an enriching professional and personal experience. Do not underestimate the impact a fulfilling experience abroad may have on all aspects of your life.»
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Thank you, Afonso, for being part of this wide and friendly community, welcome back!