Grayce Walker ’22 in front of stonehenge

Grayce Walker ’22 spent the summer of 2019 in the United Kingdom, where she explored the culture, heritage, and history the country, including Stonehenge (pictured here).

Grayce Walker ’22 (anthropology and sociology, women’s and gender studies, English)

US-UK Fulbright Summer Institute (Summer 2019)

Summary: The Fulbright UK Summer Institute program is a fully funded scholarship wherein undergraduate students are allowed to travel abroad and explore the culture, heritage, and history of the UK while taking a summer course for three to four weeks. The application has short essay questions and one full essay question covering why you want to participate in the program, what your academic and career goals are, and a standard statement of purpose informing those reading your application who you are. It is a three-round process, with your application first reviewed by the Fulbright board, secondly by the institution that you applied to, and lastly a video conference interview with individuals from both organizations. Besides writing the application, I did extensive research beforehand to make the best decision of which institution I wanted to apply to.

Highlight of the experience: As a part of a series of Discover More trips to experience the culture of the UK, I took a day trip to Stonehenge and the Roman baths, which was definitely a highlight. Visiting two monuments that I have studied extensively in my past and finally having the opportunity to see both in person was exhilarating.

How will your experience benefit you in the future? I think having international experience automatically shapes someone’s view of the world. Knowing that there are whole words and experiences out there that I have yet to experience makes me excited to continue traveling and exposing myself to as many new cultures and ways of life as possible. This was my first international trip, as well as my first solo traveling experience, and knowing that I was able to cross the ocean on an eight-hour flight twice—something so extremely daunting for most of my childhood—truly makes me feel like I can do anything.

Can you recall one experience/moment that will stay with you for the rest of your life? During another Discover More trip, I went to Shakespeare’s Globe Theater to see a showing of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. While I had read the play in high school and knew that it was a very interesting and funny story, I expected the performance to be recited in Old English and essentially boring, but I wanted to experience as many things as I could during my month in the UK. I am so glad that I had that mindset, as the play started with a New Orleans jazz version of the opening to Beyonce’s Coachella set—which I was listening to on repeat at the time. The majority of the cast were people of color, there were hilarious contemporary jokes thrown into the script, an audience member got to participate, and overall it was just a fun time. I was pleasantly surprised, and I will always remember it as one of my best nights during my trip.