“The Fulbright is a very prestigious award to teach and study abroad for one school year. In Georgia, although we work in less developed regions of the country, we are well supported by the embassy.”

-- Survey Respondent, Fulbright Fellow

The U.S. government began to sponsor and fund international exchanges through the Fulbright Classroom Teacher Exchange Program shortly after the end of the Second World War. However, funding has been successively reduced.  In 2012-13, the program placed teachers in only five countries: The Czech Republic, Hungary, India, Mexico and the United Kingdom.  

When fully functioning, Fulbright provided opportunities for full-time teachers with at least five years of teaching experience to participate in direct exchanges of positions with colleagues from other countries for a semester or a year. Teachers exchanged classroom teaching assignments and related school duties. US teachers were granted a leave of absence with pay and benefits while international teachers were generally paid by their home schools and replaced their U.S. counterparts at no additional cost to the hosting school.  U.S. teachers were provided supplemental maintenance allowances to cover living expenses and a modest dependent allowance.  International teachers received smaller allowances.  

The Fulbright program is widely recognized for its high quality, and the number of qualified candidates always exceeded the number of available grants.  Program participants were carefully screened and matched with international applicants.  Teachers selected for an exchange attended a day-long spring preparatory meeting and a week-long pre-departure orientation.  While abroad they were supported by the international cooperating agency and also assigned a mentor at their matched school.  As part of the program they were offered one or more orientations and, in some cases, mid-year workshops.  

Upon their return, exchange teachers have numerous opportunities to remain connected to the program and nearly 300,000 Fulbright alumni worldwide.  They are able to share their experience abroad with one another online or through the Fulbright Association, an independent, private nonprofit, membership organization with 58 local chapters. 

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