The Fulbright Program is sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The program operates in over 160 countries worldwide. Over 2,000 grants are given to graduating seniors, recent alumni, and graduate students to conduct research, carry out creative projects, pursue a year of postgraduate study, or teach English abroad.

VCU’s National Scholarship Office (NSO) is sharing spotlights on past Fulbright recipients. 

Name: Kunal Kapoor

Degree: B.A. Religious Studies, 2012

Fulbright Program: Study, 2012

Country: England

What program/country did you choose and why?

“I pursued a master’s degree in Medical Anthropology from Durham University, in England.  During undergrad, I studied abroad in England and really fell in love with my experience there. I knew I wanted to return if I could. Over the subsequent year, I developed a budding interest in medical anthropology. I found a great mentor at Durham University who was interested in and willing to supervise my project.”

What made you want to apply for Fulbright in the first place?

“I resonated a lot with the ideals of cultural exchange. I was excited by the idea of a truly immersive experience where I could meet people with different perspectives and life stories who were driven by brilliant ideals. Many of those people are still dear friends to this day!”

In what ways did your Fulbright program inform your future goals?

“Within medical anthropology, I focused on how individuals use aspects of their ‘enworldment’ to inform decisions regarding their body, and specifically their cardiac care. As a current cardiology fellow, I draw upon those lessons continuously to understand my patients’ stories and thought patterns towards treatment. In many ways, being open to the facets of their story helps to build a more meaningful rapport.”

How did the NSO help you during the application process?

“Tremendously!!  I benefited immensely [from] the panel discussions. Here, a multi-disciplinary group of individuals with various backgrounds reviewed my application and provided thoughtful feedback. Without question, the feedback, discussions, and insights borne from these sessions strengthened my application.”

What was your most memorable experience?

“Outside of the academic sphere, one of my most cherished moments happened on the tennis court. As a life-long tennis player, I was able to join the university team.  We finished the season as the top-ranked team in the UK! It was a dream of an experience.”

What advice would you give to prospective Fulbright applicants?

“The process is a way to examine our core-self, to illuminate our desires and to understand how our core passions can revolutionize the world. This self-illumination opens the door to a deeper understanding of the self and one’s purpose in this world. Beginning this quest, in my view, is winning. Applying for scholarships, therefore, is a win-win opportunity. You cannot lose. Only gain. Why be fearful? Take a risk. Open up your heart and go for it.”

VCU’s National Scholarship Office (NSO) assists students and recent alumni with the application process for the Fulbright Program and other esteemed awards. To learn more about external funding opportunities, schedule an appointment with a member of the NSO staff.

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