Developing a Host Country Affiliation

The candidate must document for the U.S. and host country reviewers why her/his project requires being in the host country. In other words, why the project could not be conducted in a university and/or library in the United States. One reason might be that the project would foster greater understanding between the United States and the host country. For example, the applicant could discuss how she/he would interact with host country citizens apart from and in addition to the project as a form of community outreach.

A literature search on-line and in the library can access information about the country and its culture. Reading the academic/scientific literature related to the proposal as well as magazines and newspapers published in the host country will provide information on current problems and issues. The application will be strengthened by incorporating the most current information relevant to the project.

The proposal should demonstrate compatibility among the project, host country, and the candidate's formal and informal training. The host country that most closely fits the candidate's qualifications is most likely to favor a successful grant. Reviewers must be convinced that the candidate is knowledgeable about and respectful of the host country's culture as well as political and social sensitivities. For example, in some cultures people are very hesitant to discuss intimate subjects and/or contacts. Therefore, questionnaires and/or surveys on such topics may not be practical or even possible.

Also, the host country may not accept a project that requires access to places of special religious or historical significance. In one instance, a very well written and highly rated proposal about Japanese mythology was rejected because it required the applicant to visit ancient tombs that even well known and respected Japanese researchers could not access. Such an application defeating possibility can be avoided by consulting knowledgeable faculty and/or other professionals from the intended host country. For additional information see: 1) How to Select Your Field of Proposed Study by Jonathan Akeley and Walter Jackson, 2) Regions and Fields: What Should You Know by Valerie Hymas, 3) Country Choice May Affect Selection by Anon., 4) Expanding Opportunities in East and Southeast Asia by Jonathan Akeley, 5) The US Student Fulbright Program in Europe and Eurasia by Valerie Hymas, and 6) Common Questions on Applying for Fulbright by Anon.

If the intended host country requires an affiliation with one of its universities, government agencies, or other organizations such as NGOs, likely candidates should be identified as soon as possible. In the United States we have become accustomed to receiving a rapid response, especially in electronic communication. However, many cultures do not have this expectation; and individuals may not enjoy easy access to the Internet. Therefore, do not expect a quick response.

However, communicating with academic, professional, and/or other expatriate citizens may lead to a successful collaborative relationship. This is essential to generate a letter of affiliation from a sponsoring organization in the host country. American embassies usually do not assist with this. If the host country requires that the candidate have a letter of affiliation, neither the Fulbright IIE or Fulbright-Hays DDRA program will award the grant unless the letter is included in the application. Therefore, the Fulbright IIE host country affiliation requirements should be consulted in the Individual Country Summaries as soon as possible.

Even if a host country affiliation is not required as a condition of the grant award, an affiliation letter from host country individuals, educational institutions, NGOs, or government agencies will strengthen an application. If a letter of affiliation is required, the applicant is responsible for securing it. Submitting either an IIE Fulbright U.S. Student Program or Fulbright-Hays DDRA application does not in itself constitute an application for affiliation. Therefore, a very early priority is to establish whether an affiliation is required by the host country and begin the process. If the project requires special resources and/or assistance from the host university/research institute/NGO/government agency, these needs should be addressed in the correspondence along with a request that agreement to the terms be included in the letter of affiliation. It must be printed on the organization's letterhead stationery because the Fulbright IIE will not accept fax or email correspondence. Upon receipt of the affiliation letter, it should be forwarded to the MSU Fulbright Program Adviser (FPA) or included with the application. The Fulbright-Hays DDRA Program requires that the letter of affiliation be submitted on-line.

Review the available information and evaluate whether it is feasible to conduct the project in the proposed host country. Then determine how to recruit an in-country host and develop an affiliation with an appropriate university, government agency, or NGO. A consultation with your MSU faculty advisers and/or other professionals may be helpful. Some of them may either be citizens of or have worked and lived in the proposed host country.

Faculty in the MSU foreign language departments or other universities may be able to provide useful contacts overseas or recommend colleagues who can. In addition, the IIE Program Manager for the intended host country and/or the MSU FPA can offer advice and more specific instructions. They can be contacted at IIE Fulbright staff members by world region.

Many university communities also have foreign students and expatriates living in the immediate areas e.g. Lansing, Detroit, Ann Arbor. They may be able to suggest individuals who could help with an overseas affiliation. For example, an applicant might consider contacting clergy (a minister, priest, rabbi, or imam) of a local religious group or the leaders of ethnic clubs/organizations. They may contribute information about the country as well as initiate an introduction to an overseas university, organization or government agency. They may also offer ways to strengthen the proposal and identify an audience before whom to present the results upon completion of the project.

Another option is to check the website of the intended host country. If none is available, contact the Cultural Educational Affairs Office of the host country's embassy in Washington D.C. by letter, e-mail, or telephone. While the host country's embassy staff usually will not directly assist in the development of affiliations, they can provide useful information about the mission, function, and location of important universities, organizations, and government agencies.

Of course, personal contacts with individuals and organizations in country are always likely prospects. In that case, write as soon as possible that you are applying for a Fulbright or a Fulbright-Hays DDRA grant and would like to be affiliated with them or their agency. If you receive an affirmative reply, offer to forward a preliminary draft of the proposal and request suggestions on how to improve it. As soon as you receive an indication that the individual is interested, request an on-line affiliation letter for a Fulbright-Hays DDRA application or for a Fulbright IIE application. The potential host must also submit the letter on organization's letterhead stationery to the MSU FPA by the MSU submission deadline.

For additional information on obtaining a host country affiliation see Tips for Getting Started and Choosing a Host Country and Tips: Developing a Project and Establishing a Host Affiliation by Valerie Hymas.