Portland State’s Intensive English Language Program welcomed 35 international students on July 22 from a variety of countries for training in academic and cultural expectations. The Fulbright Program has provided opportunities to over 380,000 academics and professionals since 1946 in the hopes of finding solutions to international issues. On the morning of August 11, they departed for their host universities, which they will call home for the next two to five years.
Bagh, Kashmir, Pakistan .
Nazar Abbas began studying at the Mirpur University of Science and Technology in 2010 and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering in 2014. Though he originally became involved in the field due to his parents, over time it has become his passion. Abbas first began preparing for the Fulbright Program four years ago working as a research assistant for a year at the National University of Science and Technology. He will pursue a master’s degree in mechanical engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. He also hopes to act as cultural ambassador clearing misconceptions about Pakistan. Abbas would like to earn his doctoral degree either at Georgia Tech or Stanford, and he hopes to help send people to Mars in his lifetime. Back home, he has four brothers and two sisters – of which he is the youngest, and a fiancé who is also studying biomedical science.
Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire
Stanley Kouassi began studying in 2004 at the Institut National Polytechnique Félix Houphouet Boigny, located in the city of Yamoussoukro and graduated in 2009 with an Ingénieur d’Etat—a civil engineering degree in the French education system. While working for construction and economic development firm Louis Berger, he became aware of a need for sustainability over profit, which inspired him to pursue green civil engineering with a special focus toward bio-based and recycled materials. Kouassi first became interested in Fulbright in 2011 after a professor and former Fulbrighter encouraged him to apply. He is now at Washington State University working toward a Master of Science in Bio-Based Materials. After obtaining his degree, he wants to be a teacher and create curricula around sustainable materials. He also aspires to open a consultant firm and enter into politics to create unity in his country.
Kupang, Timur, Indonesia
Andreas Sihotang received a bachelor’s degree in mining engineering in 1999 from the Institut Teknologi Bandung; however, his focus changed after working with refugees fleeing riots in East Timor, which became Timor-Leste post-referendum. During that time, he worked on the border between Indonesia and Timor-Leste with the UN’s World Food Program, and in June 2001 he began working as a project coordinator for World Vision building peace between clashing Christian and Muslim communities in Central Sulawesi. In 2009, Sihotang received a scholarship from the USAID to study in the U.S. and received a master’s degree in conflict transformation with a concentration on peace and development in May 2010 from the Eastern Mennonite University in Virginia. After contributing a total of 16 years to World Vision Indonesia throughout his career, he will spend the next four at the University of Missouri in Columbia as a doctoral candidate in public affairs. Back home, he has a wife and two young children who will join him this December.
Due to her interests in art, design and math, Zahraa Yousif decided to pursue a degree in architecture, though what most drew her to the field was the human element and how architecture can act as a spatial experience. In 2012, Yousif began working for the nongovernmental organization AIESEC focusing on youth empowerment, and in 2014 she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of Bahrain. After leaving AIESEC in 2015, she worked with one of Bahrain’s most celebrated architects before going to Mexico to work with the marketing startup Wave México. During this time, Yousif became interested in organizational performance, and in 2017 she was accepted into the Fulbright Program. Now at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., she is pursuing a Master of Education in Organizational Performance and Leadership. In the future, she would like to restructure universities to be more student oriented and help nonprofits fulfill their potential output.