Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship

Initial Bowdoin Deadline: September 4, 2018 (noon) (Includes References and Evaluations)
Campus Interview: September 7 - 28, 2018
Final Bowdoin Deadline: October 2, 2018 (noon)
Fulbright Submission Deadline: October 9, 2018 (noon)
Web site: http://us.fulbrightonline.org
Campus Contact: Cindy Stocks, Kate Myall

*Information derived from http://us.fulbrightonline.org 

Description. The Fulbright U.S. Student Program aims to increase mutual understanding between the peoples of the United States and other countries through the exchange of persons, knowledge and skills. In most cases, an English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) places a Fulbrighter in a classroom abroad to provide assistance to teachers of English to non-native English-speakers. English Teaching Assistants help teach English language while serving as cultural ambassadors for U.S. culture. (The age and academic level of classroom students varies by country, ranging from kindergarten to university level.) At the same time, U.S. participants are encouraged to conduct community work, gain from intensive cross-cultural interactions, and possibly increase their own language skills and knowledge of the host country. Applicants for English Teaching Assistantships can apply to only one country. Consult this table for details on specific country requirements and numbers of awards.

ETA grants, which are offered in approximately 70 different countries, vary greatly by country.  See the Participating Country Summary for details on placements, responsibilities and opportunities for research or coursework. All Fulbright ETA affiliations will be made by either the Fulbright Commission or the Public Affairs Section at the U.S. Embassy in the host country.

Last year, the overall funding rate for ETA program was approximately 22%.

Benefits. English Teaching Assistantship grantees will be provided with round-trip transportation; maintenance for the academic year; supplemental health and accident coverage; tuition assistance, in some cases; and language or orientation programs, where appropriate.


An overview of eligibility requirements are listed below; however, applicants should visit the "Eligibility" portion of the Fulbright website for complete details.

  • Applicants must be U.S. citizens at the time of application.
  • Applicants must hold a Bachelor's degree or the equivalent before the beginning date of the grant.
  • Applicants may not hold a doctoral degree at the time of application, but may hold a J.D. degree.
  • Applicants must be in good health. Grantees will be required to submit a satisfactory Certificate of Health from a physician.
  • The language requirements vary greatly by country. Applicants should review the applicable country profile to ensure their written and spoken language skills are sufficient.
  • Preference will be given to those applicants who have undertaken their higher education primarily at educational institutions in the United States. Foreign study during junior year or other periods of undergraduate study that are integral parts of the curricula of American institutions will not be considered a disadvantage.
  • Preference will be given to those applicants who have not resided or studied for more than six months in the country to which they are applying for.
  • Applicants should be aware that the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs is involved with the campus review process.  Students with serious social or academic violations, such as those that are included as part of their permanent record at Bowdoin, are advised to consult with the Director of Student Fellowships and Research early in the process.  Students may also consult with their dean for guidance.

Bowdoin's Initial Application Process. 


By the initial Bowdoin deadline:

1) Complete the Fulbright ETA application through the Embark online system. The application includes the following:

  • Biographical data
  • Statement of Grant Purpose (1 page)
  • Personal Statement (1 page)
  • Foreign language evaluation (if applicable)
  • Foreign language self-evaluation (if applicable)
  • Three references (forms not letters)
  • Unofficial academic history from Polaris

2) Submit (in person or by email) a signed and witnessed "Permission Form and Waiver" to Gina Pappas (gpappas@bowdoin.edu).

3) Sign up for a campus interview. (The SFR Office will contact you to schedule this interview around the time of the initial Bowdoin deadline.)

Note:  When you submit your online application through Embark for the initial Bowdoin deadline, your application WILL NOT go to Fulbright; it will ONLY be seen by SFR.  The SFR office will make a PDF of your online application, share it with the campus Fulbright committee, and then electronically return your application to you, usually several days after the initial Bowdoin deadline.  You may continue to polish up your application until the final Bowdoin deadline, when you will resubmit it electronically.

For guidance about Fulbright’s online application, formatting requirements, recommendation process, and more, see Fulbright’s Tips for ETA Programs page.


Fulbright requires Bowdoin to interview every applicant. Around the same time as the initial Bowdoin deadline, students will sign up for individual interview slots.  These 15-minute interviews are conducted by members of Bowdoin's internal campus committee who have read the initial applications and are knowledgeable about the Fulbright program. Following each interview, members of the committee will complete a Fulbright Campus Committee Evaluation (CCE) form for each applicant, addressing the candidate’s qualifications and suitability to his or her chosen country.  This CCE form will be attached to your final application but like a recommendation you will not have access to it.

Immediately following the 15-minute interview, students will receive 5 minutes of feedback from the committee.  Students will then have the opportunity to revise their applications using this feedback.  Please know that Bowdoin does not narrow down the applicant pool through the interview process.

Revision process

Applicants can revise their applications up until the final Bowdoin deadline, incorporating interview feedback, any new experiences, and ensuring any typos or errors are corrected on the application itself.  

Note that the final Bowdoin deadline is several days in advance of the official Fulbright deadline found on the Fulbright website. This gives SFR time to upload the CCE forms and double-check all components of the application.  Bowdoin students must meet the final Bowdoin deadline.

Please be reminded that Bowdoin’s Honor Code applies to the fellowship application process.

Materials for Final Application.

By the final Bowdoin deadline, submit your final Fulbright ETA application through the Embark application system.  Your final application includes the following: 

  • Biographical data
  • Statement of Grant Purpose (1 page)
  • Personal Statement (1 page)
  • Foreign language evaluation (if applicable)
  • Foreign language self-evaluation (if applicable)
  • Three references (forms not letters)
  • Official transcript(s)
***Please note: Our office will request official Bowdoin transcripts on your behalf. When we receive them, we will email them to you as PDFs before the final Bowdoin deadline. You will be responsible for uploading it to your application, in place of your unofficial academic history.  Please also include transcripts from any other institutions of higher education from which you have earned credit.

Pay close attention to Fulbright’s guidance about the ETA application, following all guidance around preferred content, formatting (e.g. essay headers), and more, as listed in the Tips for ETA Programs page.

Final Deadline Schedule.

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 2, 11:59 PMfinal Bowdoin deadline. In order for Cindy & Kate to review students' applications and allow them to make changes based on their feedback, students must submit their applications by this deadline.

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 3 – Our office will pull applications and release back to students before 5 PM.

OCTOBER 3–8 – We will review each application and contact students individually with:

  • Minor changes/suggestions, or
  • The all-clear to submit

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 9 at noon – FINAL SUBMISSION TO FULBRIGHT. Students must hit the submit button in Embark by noon.* This is the ABSOLUTE FINAL DEADLINE.

*Fulbright’s official submission deadline is 5 PM on October 9. However, past students who have waited until the last minute have experienced trouble with the online system and were not able to make the deadline. DO NOT WAIT – submit by noon.

Please be reminded that Bowdoin’s Honor Code applies to the fellowship application process.

Fulbright’s national review and selection process.

Fulbright will convene a National Screening Committee from November through December. There are sub-committees divided by countries/regions who consider all the ETA applications to each country. These reviewers are often academics and will have expertise in the given country/region, and determine which applications are recommended for final consideration in the host countries. They typically put forward to the host country reviewers twice as many final applications as there are grants available.

In January, Fulbright will send all Bowdoin applicants Initial Notifications stating whether or not they have been “recommended” (meaning they are a finalist being considered directly now by the country), or “not recommended” (meaning they are no longer in the competition).

Occasionally a host country may request a brief follow up interview, conducted by phone or Skype, which students arrange with the host country directly. Please inform SFR if your host country has asked for such an interview.

Fulbright sends out Final Selection Notifications country by country, typically between mid-March and the end of May, depending on the in-country process and timing. Applicants will be notified by email if they have been selected, designated as an alternate, or not selected. Please inform SFR when you have been notified by Fulbright of your status. 


Daniel Castro Bonilla '17


Graduating from Bowdoin in 2018 with an Asian studies major, Daniel received a Fulbright grant to work as an English teaching assistant in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. His experience participating in both the U.S. State Department's Critical Language Scholarship program in China and a study abroad program in Yunnan have strengthened his cultural awareness and linguistic skills in Mandarin Chinese, which, along with his past experience as an English teaching assistant in Honduras, will prepare him to be an engaging and dedicated assistant in the classroom. Daniel also hopes to be involved with farming groups in his community and learn about the immigrant community in Taiwan. 

EstherLillian Eckstein '18


At Bowdoin, Lillian majored in government and legal studies with a focus on comparative politics and minored in anthropology. Lillian focused her studies -- especially during her semester abroad in Sri Lanka and as a teacher in Villa el Salvador, Peru -- on communities experiencing social and cultural crises of division. As an English teaching assistant in Madrid, Spain, she is excited to teach in a secondary school while also being involved with the Global Classrooms program. Originally from Chicago, she is also looking forward to experiencing Madrid, another metropolitan city, and is eager to spend time volunteering with an organization dedicated to community health and development.

For a comprehensive list of Bowdoin fellowship winners, click here.

Resources for Fulbright Applicants: 

1) Three online tutorials.  These up-to-date, accessible slideshow videos allow applicants to learn about the basics of the Fulbright U.S. Student Program.

2) Visit and subscribe to the Fulbright U.S. Student Blog. The blog features tips and advice on applying, student testimonials, and a calendar with upcoming webinars and campus visits. 

3) The Fulbright Program attempts to be always accessible on social media streams - including Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and LinkedIn - so you can stay abreast of updates through your preferred medium.