Before arriving in the U.S., I was expecting my Fulbright exchange at the Johns Hopkins’ Center for Talented Youth to be an invaluable and exciting experience. Now that I am back in Greece, I can confirm not only the fulfillment of my high expectations, but also the realization that even a global pandemic could not eclipse the Fulbright Program’s value, and its positive short- and long-term impact.
During my 6-month stay in Baltimore, Maryland, I had the luck to be part of the research team of CTY, a pioneering institution in the field of Gifted Education. I was welcome to join their projects, which helped me better understand the current directions of educational research, toward serving the needs of advanced learners. I also had a firsthand experience of CTY’s recent efforts to bridge the gap between non-privileged children and the provision of equal educational opportunities for them, through the Baltimore Emerging Scholars initiative. The professional and personal relationships that I established at CTY during these months have set the stage for further collaboration in the years to come.
In parallel with my research work, I had the unique opportunity to audit a series of captivating weekly courses at Johns Hopkins University. Courses such as The Gifted Learner, Teacher Leadership, Global Education Policy and Analysis, School, Family & Community Collaboration for School Development, further deepened my field knowledge and contributed to the expansion of my academic network. Moreover, the inspiring academic environment of Johns Hopkins campus and its rich library resources helped me focus on my doctoral dissertation on the motivation and emotions of academically gifted students in mathematics, and significantly progress towards its completion, under the supervision of Dr. Eleftheria Gonida.
Of equal importance were the cultural opportunities that the Fulbright Exchange Program provided me, which facilitated a better understanding of the American people and its ethics, business, politics, and other aspects of everyday life. Living in a society much more diverse than the Greek one, and through the social bonds I developed, my worldview has been further expanded.
I hope that this priceless exchange program, which is supported by the genuine efforts of the Fulbright Foundation team, will continue to provide world-class academic and cultural immersion experiences to interested Greek and American citizens in the following years.