Seeking a Fulbright Affiliation
The right affiliation and a strong affiliation letter are essential to the success of a Fulbright application. It can take months to secure the right affiliation, so it is important to begin this process as early as possible.
Key points about the affiliation search:
- Get started! It can take a long time, much longer than you might expect. It might take you a while to identify the right affiliation and to establish contact with them. Once you do that, obtaining their support and a letter can sometimes take longer than you expect.
- Be clear. You will have to explain what you want from a potential affiliate. Sometimes organizations are a little bewildered when an American student contacts them suddenly and wants their support. It is better to explain first what you are trying to accomplish before asking them for anything.
- Factor cultural differences into this process. Email communication may or may not be a good idea. What you consider a slow response rate may be considered prompt in your host country. Also, some organizations and offices may close during vacation months for weeks at a time.
- Err on the side of formality. Be professional and respectful in your communication with potential affiliates, and do not exhibit any presumption that the organization will be lucky to get you or even willing to work with you. Show that you understand and respect their cultural norms.
- Be patient. It is typical for the affiliation agreement to come after a good deal of back-and-forth communication between you and the organization. You want to be comfortable with each other and certain that there is mutual benefit to be had from the arrangement. Don’t expect to “seal the deal” as a result of your first conversation or email exchange.