Name: Tom Bowman
Hometown: Des Moines, Iowa
Type of Fulbright award: English Teaching Assistantship Award to Bulgaria
Degree and field of study: BS international relations (transnational issues track), minors in political science, international studies, and Spanish
Teaching Research: (please describe what kind of research/teaching you will be conducting)
I will be teaching in a public secondary school, most likely in an intensive English language program.
What drew you to this field of study?
My interest in international relations grew out of a love for travel and politics. Every time I travel abroad, I uncover a deeper appreciation for the different cultures of the world, and I learn more about myself in the process. Combined with a zeal for solving complex problems, my international curiosity fuels my love for this area of study.
How do you envision this will change your life?
I hope that teaching in Bulgaria will foster my international curiosity and challenge me to adjust to a completely new lifestyle. I do not think that the adjustment will be easy, but I absolutely look forward to it. I will have so much to learn from Bulgarian people, and hopefully, I will be able to return the favor. Ultimately, I hope that my experiences in Bulgaria will prepare me for a lifetime of service in an internationally-focused career.
What advice do you have for future students interested in pursuing a Fulbright award?
Start early, trust the process, and trust yourself. At the end of the day, your application must be a reflection of you, and you will know yourself better than anyone else.
Are there any individuals (UI faculty, staff, mentors) you'd like to personally to thank for their investment in this process?
I have had tremendous help throughout the application process. First, I’d like to thank Ambassador in Residence Ron McMullen, Sabrina Tapps-Fee and Aaron Horsfield for writing my recommendations and constantly offering their support. I also owe great thanks to Bill Reisinger and, of course, the tremendous Karen Wachsmuth (UI Fulbright advisor), for guiding my application throughout the entire process. Finally, I would like to thank the countless other professors, advisors, and mentors who encouraged me along the way, and above all, my friends and family who have shown me more love than I could ever imagine.