Dr. Katrina Stark, professor of business administration at the University of Providence, was nominated as a 2019 Fulbright Scholar and was invited to travel to Taiwan in March of 2023. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Dr. Stark did not have the opportunity to travel to Taiwan in 2020 when the trip was intended to take place. All Fulbright Scholars for the years of 2020, 2021, and 2022 had their trips postponed. This year all scholars had the opportunity to travel as a large group.
“I was able to go as an international educator. It’s a long application process to be a Fulbright Scholar and it’s highly selective. I wanted specifically Taiwan because their students don’t get to come to America much. The difference in price is night and day. Universities in America are very, very expensive compared to the Taiwanese tuition,” Stark said.
The Fulbright Program is the United States government’s flagship program of international educational and cultural exchange. College and university students,
faculty, administrators, researchers, artists, and professionals are competitively selected through a very intricate and extensive application process. Scholars are nominated around the world, enabling approximately 800 U.S. scholars to go abroad and 900 scholars from varying countries to visit the U.S.
The purpose of the program is to provide scholars the opportunity to build skills, make connections, and gain valuable cross-cultural perspectives and educational knowledge of other countries, thus allowing the scholars to share their experiences with people among their represented institutions.
“It is quite an honor. Quite an honor. So, I’ve been back a week and I still pinch myself. I got to go on a Fulbright, so it’s thrilling!” Stark said.
Stark’s experience allowed her to speak with other university representatives She learned about the day-to-day operations of other institutions, the various programs offered by each university/college, and student exchange opportunities.
“We went to 22 universities. We spoke to two government areas: the office of foreign affairs and the office of education to also hear about what we can do to collaborate. Many of the universities where we visited are high in engineering, mathematics, and biology, because they are a huge semi-conductor industry, and they also do a lot with artificial intelligence and working with robotics,” Stark said.
Stark states the Fulbright Program is a wonderful opportunity to have cultural interchange. It provides a pathway to meet other people and network with other representatives from different universities and see what they have to offer and learn from each other’s institutional success and progress.
“To change the world you have to be educated. You can’t just throw money at a problem and expect to work. Education is what pulls people up and out. These programs are set up to use their expertise elsewhere. Many scholars go for language either to learn or to teach. Others go for research. There are different areas of scholarship. You can’t teach without learning,” Stark said.
Stark also mentioned that her visit to Taiwan sparked opportunities for UP students to expand upon their educational knowledge and share their experiences.
“Not necessarily as much that the university can do some exchanges with, but I’m looking at perhaps exchanges for athletes for summer projects. Many of them have projects. Right now, Taiwan set up an initiative for the entire country to be bilingual with English by 2030. That’s just seven years from now, so they’re seeking a lot of English speakers who want to come speak English,” Stark said.
Stark states that UP education students could have the opportunity to do their practicum teaching English and hopes some initiatives can be created in doing some exchanges.
Being a Fulbright Scholar is a wonderful opportunity for individuals to grow in cultural fluency, educational standards, and network. It serves as an honorable experience to enrich scholars and share and expand upon opportunities across the globe.
The University of Providence appreciates Dr. Katrina Stark for her dedication and commitment to serving and providing students a liberal arts education for living and making a living.