Fulbright and mtvU sent students around the world to study and promote "the power of music." Check out their blogs here.

After-race Arabic night

Crowd Concert

Abu Dhabi was full of high profile concerts during the Formula One race weekend, November 20-23. The concerts were part of an entertainment festival called Yasalam, organized by the Abu Dhabi-based live events company, Flash Entertainment. The festival culminated during the race weekend with huge, simultaneous concerts in different parts of Abu Dhabi. I went to the opening Arabic night of the after-race concert series at du Arena on Yas Island (where the race circuit is also located), a half hour drive from downtown Abu Dhabi. The Arabic night featured four singers—Palestinian singer Mohammed Assaf, Lebanese artist Carole Samaha, Emirati Fayez AlSaeed, and Egyptian Tamer Hosny.
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Friday, February 27th, 2015 Thoughts, Video No Comments

Be Yourself! and Other Tips For Your Fulbright-mvU Application

As I was looking for funding opportunities for my Japan-based dissertation research,a professor on my dissertation committee told me about the Fulbright-mtvU fellowship. There was never any question about where I would carry out my Fulbright-mtvU project since I’m pursuing a doctorate in Japanese music at Cornell, although I didn’t become interested in Japan until I was a junior at the University of Chicago. I was studying abroad in an immersion-only advanced Chinese language course in Beijing during the summer of 2007. It was only my second time leaving the States, and the program I participated in was extremely demanding. I imagine that pre-Olympics Beijing was quite a lot for anyone to process: as one of the biggest cities in the world with a mind-boggling energy and jarring income inequality, it quite honestly took me a little while to get used to it all. I inevitably fell in love with China (The people! The energy! The food!), but by the end of the program and a two-week solo sojourn throughout the country, my nerves were totally fried.
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Thursday, February 19th, 2015 Call For Applications, Thoughts No Comments

Learning Icelandic in a Tin Can Factory

When I first arrived to the country, a friend told me about an alternative Icelandic school called Tin Can Factory, so I decided to check it out.

I was expecting something more factory-like when I first walked into the school the next day. There were a few unique characteristics: a shared kitchen, herbs laid out neatly on a table and a guitar resting against the wall. However, everything else was typical of a school setting: multiple classrooms, whiteboards and a reception in the front with a smiling lady.

That lady was Gígja Svavarsdóttir, who started the school in 2008 when she moved back to Iceland without a job, ironically arriving on the day the country’s first bank collapsed.
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Wednesday, February 18th, 2015 Thoughts No Comments

Fulbright-mtvU Application Advice

Applying for any Fulbright can be an overwhelming process, but I imagine the open nature of the Fulbright-mtvU Fellowship specifically adds even more difficulty. My greatest overall suggestions would be to remain open, flexible and practical and to use as many different sources of help as you can. If you take one thing from this article, please MAKE SURE that the last question you ask EVERY single person you speak with is: “Who else should I speak to about this?” This will grow your network exponentially and keep you from hitting dead ends.

Choosing your host country does not have to be the first step. You can start by narrowing down what type of work you want to do, what connections you may already have and where that type of work may be most helpful. I had no prior experience in Ghana but my neighbor who had spent a few summers in Cape Coast on various grants was a perfect jumping off point for me to look into Ghana’s potential as a final destination. The more people I spoke with, the larger my network grew until it finally became the perfect place around which to craft my proposal. I tried to remain open, flexible and practical in order to make a proposal which offered the greatest chance of my success.
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Tuesday, February 17th, 2015 Call For Applications, Thoughts No Comments

Saga Fest Update

The Sagas of Icelanders are narratives about 10th and 11th century Iceland, when communities would gather around winter fires to share stories and music.


FTER A PERSPECTIVE-CHANGING TRIP TO PETRA, Jordan, I started to learn as much as I could about the Sagas of Icelanders. I spent my free time researching facts about the country and even started attending an Icelandic language MeetUp group at a library an hour away from my house. Given my background, I was specifically fascinated by the country’s vibrant music scene. I discovered dozens of festivals that took place in Iceland each year, a surprising finding given the country’s population is barely over 320,000 people.

But even with such a saturated market, I couldn’t find a festival that combined music with the Sagas.
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Wednesday, February 11th, 2015 Thoughts, Video No Comments


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