Morocco. Argentina. Panama. Chile. Norway.

What do these five countries have in common? They are all destinations for this year’s group of Fairfield Fulbright hopefuls.

This year, 16 Fairfield students and alumni have applied to the Fulbright program, according to Miriam Gogol, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and the advisor of the program.

One applicant, Fairfield alumnus Patricia Hardendorp, hopes to study and teach in Morocco through the program. She recognized the opportunities afforded to her by the Fulbright program.

“It gives you the opportunity to pursue your own interests and supports you for a full year,” said Hardendorp, who also appreciates how the program brings cultures together to “reach understanding in the world we live in today.”

Through the program, Hardendorp said she hopes to study women’s acquisition of the French language in Morocco, because French is the language of the economy. By learning the language, women then are able to improve their position in society, she said.

This year’s applicants have varying interests. Two students have applied to go to Chile, one to teach English and the other to conduct research, according to Gogol. Others have applied to countries all over the world, including Venezuela, Georgia, Panama, Argentina, Norway and Ireland. Typically, most students apply for non-Western European countries because there is more competition in those applicant pools, said Gogol.

Many applicants become interested in the program through Study Abroad, and from other students who travel to non-traditional places.

Students who apply are known as intellectually adventurous and ambitious. They apply because they have the confidence to know they are good enough to receive this prestigious award, said Gogol.

The applicants will find out on Jan. 31 if they have made it through the first round.

Last year, eight students were recommended by the host countries and made it past the first round, but only five received the Fulbright.

Hardendorp said Fairfield and especially Gogol were very helpful throughout the process. They went out of their way to help the students through the difficult application process, which includes establishing contacts in the host country to get a sponsor and a recommendation for the award.

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