Let me dispel two myths at the beginning. First of all, even though Fulbright is typically thought of as a scholarship program for students and scholars, it isn’t just that. American higher education institutions can apply for Fulbright grants too, and if you are a scholar, you can benefit from that. The Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence (S-I-R) program is governed directly by the United States Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, and assists U.S. higher education institutions in expanding their programs of academic exchange.
Secondly, it is a myth that the best people in academia always flock to the elite, Ivy League-type institutions. In fact, if your field is anything like mine, this will be somewhat untrue and your experts will be spread all over the country, often tenured at regional universities or community colleges. This is where you can benefit as well: S-I-R was designed with such institutions in mind. This Fulbright program gives them the opportunity to diversify educational experiences of its students and faculty members by inviting a fellow scholar from abroad.
Do not worry if you are not very accomplished yet – enthusiasm and willingness to work hard are more important anyway. Have you met a friendly American professor at a conference and your academic discussion really took off, but you never reached out to him or her again? It may be worthwhile to revisit that. Do inquire about a potential cooperation!
I was awarded a Scholar-in-Residence grant at Eastern Kentucky University for the academic year 2014-15. EKU is a regional institution and home to a very successful Animal Studies Major program*. My activities here include teaching an introductory course and a seminar, as well as doing my own research and writing a book. Considering I ended up not only among experts, but also among people I now call true friends, I cannot think of a better fit.