Nelson Tamayo, Fulbright English Teaching Assistant at Instituto Politécnico de Coimbra, 2015/2016


“My year spent teaching English and lecturing on American politics and culture as a Fulbright ETA at the Escola Superior de Educação de Coimbra was pivotal in helping me pursue my current career as a Public Diplomacy Officer with the U.S. Foreign Service.

As a Fulbrighter, I had the privilege of sharing America’s story to classrooms of Portuguese university students and professors.  For many of my students, I was the first American they had ever met.

This experience emphasized for me the importance of meaningful and personal cross-cultural relationships in our globalized world.  From my position at the front of the classroom, I was able to underscore the shared history and common values that bind the people of the United States with the people of Portugal – creating a basis for mutual understanding.

I will continue this important work in the Foreign Service by supporting Fulbright and other grant programs that help facilitate international exchange.  While the process for becoming a Foreign Service Officer does take some time – and includes a written test, personal narratives, and an oral assessment – many of the skills I needed to pass, including cultural adaptability, resourcefulness, initiative and leadership, were some of the same ones I needed to successfully complete my Fulbright.

The Fulbright Program opened my eyes to the important work of people-to-people diplomacy, and I am proud to help foster mutual understanding yet again, as a member of the U.S. Foreign Service.”


Nelson Tamayo holds a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy & Certificate in Diplomatic Studies from Tufts University Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and a Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs from the George Washington University.