November 8: Fulbright Scholars rolled up their sleeves and got to work painting Winthrop public school with the help of Publicolor, a local nonprofit that transforms under-funded inner-city schools into vibrant engaging spaces for children. Volunteer Scholars were paired with students to make Winthrop’s halls come to life by painting the walls with a student-chosen color scheme. Students taught scholars painting techniques and scholars had the chance to be mentors and role models, if only for a brief moment. A Visiting Scholar from the U.K commented, “My student was initially very shy, and a little disengaged, but we became very good friends during the day. We spoke about going to college, work, future aspirations, gym, sports, music, school in America and U.K., and family.” After a day of hard work, scholars felt rewarded by the relationships they built with local students.
Publicolor student helps British scholar, Amakai Kefas learn to properly use the pain roller
Turkish scholar, Asli Ozyar, has a conversation with a Publicolor student while painting the hallway at Winthrop
October 24: A group of Fulbright scholars, students, and their families headed out from Manhattan for Alstede Farm in New Jersey for their first ever apple picking experience! They were treated to a hay ride tour where they learned about the cultivation of a family owned farm and organic farming practices. After romping through the farm’s apple orchards and picking apples to take home, the group enjoyed an American BBQ and a chance to explore a corn maze, visit the petting zoo, and shop at the local store for farm fresh produce.
Albanian scholar Evetla Londo (left) and Pakistani scholar Shagufta Akhtar experience apple picking for the first time!
Shannon, a guide at Alstede Farms in Chester, New Jersey, shows Fulbright scholars and students the apple orchards
May 31, 2014: On one of the most beautiful days of the year, the group set out on a bus from Washington, DC to Annapolis, MD. There they met Chesapeake Bay Foundation staff who took them out on a day-long trip on a 112-year-old skipjack. Lunch was held at an old waterman’s hangout, where guests set the sails, dredged for oysters, talked about the history of the local waterman’s culture, and the current environmental challenges of the Chesapeake Bay.
Pre-departure instructions from Captain Dave
May 17, 2014: Scholars and their families took a three-hour sail down the Hudson River aboard the Clearwater, a replica of a traditional Dutch sloop that was common during the 18th and 19th centuries. During the trip, scholars had the opportunity to work with the crew to raise and lower the sails and navigate the boat on the water. Scholars explored the sleeping, living, and cooking quarters below decks and heard stories of life aboard the vessel. The Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, a non-profit organization that has been at the forefront of environmental efforts to clean the heavily polluted river, set up stations aboard the boat to teach the scholars about the river’s relationship to NYC, its role in supporting local ecosystems, and the environmental issues it faces.
On the tour, scholars and their families learned that the fort at West Point was built during the Revolutionary War by George Washington because of its strategic location on the narrowest point on the Hudson River. The West Point motto of “Duty, Honor, and Country” was truly reflected in the architecture, design and monuments throughout the campus of the USMA and our tour helped to situate this revered establishment within the context of U.S. history.
A Clearwater educator shows scholars Gian Luigi Rosso (Italy) and Sean Lei (Taiwan) a baby snapping turtle, while discussing marine life in the Hudson River
Belgian Fulbright scholar Olivier Sartenaer and his wife Marie navigating the sloop
The Fulbright group at the United States Military Academy at West Point
May 12, 2014: The Huntington Library, besides having one of the world’s finest collection of rare books, has a new science wing closely allied with Caltech which is five minutes away. The Fulbright group was treated to a tour by the curator of the restoration room, printing labs and visiting scholar library by the curator. The group then focused on the rare book exhibition where we saw an original copy of the Gutenberg Bible, Chaucer volumes, the Book of Hours, on up to Lincoln letters and the Federalist Papers. It was exciting to see the new science wing of the Library. From the Library, the group went to the Caltech Athenaeum for lunch hosted by Astrophysics Professor George Helou and then heard him give a riveting lecture about exploration of outer space with infra-red photography.
May 10, 2014: This event took the scholars out into the country to see three farms that are representative of U.S. farming today. Scholars visited two dairy farms – close in location but worlds apart in their modes of operation. One was an organic farm operated by a father and son representing five generations of family farmers who have worked this land. The cows roam freely and the father and son team are passionately committed to the idea of farming “the old-fashioned way.” Over the years they have tapped into a growing organic niche in the US market.
The other dairy farm was much larger in scale, and used a more conventional approach to farming. Using a carefully calculated mixture of purchased grains and grasses produced on the farm, the cows are kept mainly indoors in a controlled environment. They are bred and cared for using techniques that maximize milk production. This is also a successful family operation that goes back many generations and today targets a different segment of the US dairy market.
Finally, we visited a large orchard, again run by a family who had also been farming their land for generations. The 80-year-old patriarch instructed his son to drive us through the property on a hay wagon while he played the harmonica and his wife served us fresh cider and cookies – all to the great enjoyment of the Fulbrighters. All the visits represented a significant departure from the city lives that these Fulbrighters were accustomed to seeing. They saw some of the diverse lifestyles that exist within a short distance of Washington.
Fulbright Farmers in boots
Patriarch of the Orchard takes Fulbright Scholars for a ride
Wang Zhen, his daughter, and the wonder of baby chicks
May 2, 2014: Fulbright scholars and their guests convened outside Central Park for a 3 hour guided tour by noted social and architectural historian Justin Ferate. From the 1916 Fabbri mansion to Central Park’s blossoming Conservatory Gardens, the tour brought scholars one step closer to the elegant tastes of New York’s historical elite.