Fulbright Stories: My U.S. Experience is Helping me Advance my Career
Updated: Jan 3, 2022
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Teacher of English
Fulbright Teaching Excellence and Achievement Program (FTEA)
Media Literacy Cohort
Kent State University, Ohio, USA
January 2020 – March 2020
To many teachers, scholars, and professionals worldwide, winning a Fulbright fellowship is one of the most prestigious achievements in their lifetime. For most recipients, serious work starts when they return to their home countries. Fulbright exchange participants change lives. It is certainly not an overstatement to say that the Fulbright program is one of the best avenues to bring meaningful changes in communities around the world. With decades of history and experience hosting international scholars from various countries, the Gerald H. Read Center for International and Intercultural Education (CIIE) at Kent State University takes great pride in sharing the achievements of the recent Fulbright participants. They are now back in their home countries. Our alumni go home to accomplish amazing things to benefit their schools, students, and communities in general.
Aida Saric, an English teacher from Bosnia and Herzegovina, took part in the Fulbright Teaching Excellence and Achievement Program at Kent State University from January to March 2020. She came to learn about Media Literacy, but she went home with much more than that. When she returned to her native land, her experience from the United States opened many doors for her, and she is thankful for that. “Since I came back home, I became one of Edu Balkan Teachers’ Network administrators. It is a Facebook network of 300,000 members from different Balkan countries. The network provides professional development, education, learning materials, and support to teachers of the Balkan region.”
On behalf of Edu Balkan, Aida also added that she acted as an interpreter for the T4 Global Teacher Conference, which was virtually attended by 100,000 teachers from all over the world in May 2020. However, the most recent and rewarding experience from her participation in the Fulbright program is her selection to join the team in creating a new national curriculum for the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Her international perspective gained during her Fulbright experience and the knowledge of Media Literacy she just earned at Kent State University make her an invaluable resource and addition to the curriculum team.
To show that the connection with Kent State University and the alumni continues even when they go home, Aida Saric was recently a guest speaker in a virtual panel organized by the Center for International and Intercultural Education to educate people about the danger of war and the need to preserve peace. Aida Saric, along with her colleague and compatriot Mirela Fazlic, who was also a Fulbright participant at Kent State University in 2019, shared their perspectives on what it means to grow up in a country torn by war. More importantly, they shared what they are doing now as educators to ensure that the next generation of citizens in Bosnia and Herzegovina does not repeat past mistakes. Faculty members from the College of Education Health and Human Services at Kent State University are requesting the recording of the virtual event to use it as a teaching material with their students. This is another excellent example of how Fulbright participants contribute to helping US institutions reach the global learning goal they promise to their students.