One Step Closer…

Somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue, and the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true. ~ Lyman Frank Baum


Photo by Marco Koch, taken from the Trachselwald Castle in Canton Bern

Last year I blogged about my dream of studying in Germany. I did nine months of background research and I networked with many professors on both sides of the Atlantic before I submitted my Fulbright application at the end of September. Here is the abstract of my proposal:

I intend to delve into the annals of German history to discover how the Anabaptist ancestors of the American Amish educated their children in Southwest German lands before they began emigrating to the U.S. Because Amish cherish a strong sense of continuity with their European ancestors, these practices may well have carried over to North America where the Amish of today uniformly end their children's education at eighth grade.

I found four professors in Germany who offered to advise my research. Together, they cover several aspects of my research: history of education, religion, Anabaptist social history, and Anabaptist religious history.

Once I submitted my application, I moved on to other pursuits to make the waiting easier. I knew I would hear in January from the American Fulbright Commission, and that the final decision would then be made by the German Commission.

Right on time, on Friday, the 15th, I received an email from the National Screening Committee. Here is how the email started:

We are pleased to inform you that you have been recommended as a semi-finalist by the National Screening Committee of the Institute of International Education (IIE) for the 2016-17 Fulbright U.S. Student Program. Your application has been forwarded to the supervising agency abroad for the next stage of the review process.  In addition, your application will be forwarded to the program sponsor, the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the United States Department of State, for transmittal to the presidentially-appointed J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board (FFSB).  The FFSB makes final decisions on Fulbright awards.

The Fulbright Commission in Germany is scheduled to notify candidates of their decision by mid-February. It is hard not to become anxious about it, but I tell myself that if it is meant to be, then I will get it. If not, then I have to accept that it is not meant to be and that there is another plan for my life that I will need to discover.

That said, I feel very good about the project. Donald Andrew, the coach at Smith College, has an excellent track record. The percentage of candidates who end up receiving a Fulbright is very high. Last I heard it was around 75 percent. Coupled with the support from the professors in Germany and the positive feedback from the people I've corresponded with about my application, I think my chances are high. Certainly they have improved greatly by making it past this first hurdle.

As soon as I have the final outcome, I will let you all know what it is. And as always, thank you for your support.

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31 thoughts on “One Step Closer…”

  1. Saloma, I am so excited for you! (You should see my ear-to-ear grin.) I’m praying that you will be granted the Fulbright!

  2. …I tell myself that if it is meant to be, then I will get it. If not, then I have to accept that it is not meant to be and that there is another plan for my life that I will need to discover. I perhaps hear a ring in this that harkens back to your Amish upbringing. I wish the best for you always.

    1. Tom, thank you for noticing that. There are some things from my Amish upbringing that I don’t ever want to lose. Knowing the limits of what we can affect in our lives is part of that. Some things are truly in God’s hands and not in our own.

      I wish you the best also, Tom, along the roads you travel.

  3. Oh Saloma, I am so excited. You must feel like pinching yourself!! I know how hard you have worked for this and how much it means to you. Pray it is God’s will for you. I’m doing my happy dance!!!!!

  4. As I was getting ready to write this week’s blog on my own fellowship in the fall, I said to myself, “I wonder if Saloma got her Fullbright yet?”

    Congrats on getting this far, Saloma. Like you, I have high hopes for a final “yes” and hope to celebrate with you when you get it.

    I also thought of you when I heard this story. Maybe you can pay a visit to the Charcuterie?


    1. Thank you, Shirley, for your support, and best of luck on your own fellowship!

      I read that story about the man who opened the shop in Unity Maine after joining the Amish. That is a pretty big commitment. I hope his family is as enthusiastic as he is!

      Good to see you here, and I wish you the best in your endeavors.

  5. What an exciting adventure and God’s peace until you find out. Your philosophical outlook here reminds me of the Amish … oh … yes, that comes somewhat naturally! Best wishes!

    1. Melodie, it is great to hear from you. Yes, I owe this philosophy to my upbringing. You can take me out of the Amish, but you can’t take the Amish out of me.

      Have a wonderful week.

  6. Pingback: One Step Closer… – Former Amish News

  7. Congratulations!! I am so happy for you!
    Heidelberg is such a well known city for the Christians. There comes the Heidelberg Catechism from. Germany is so beautiful and for sure that area.
    My prayer and wish for you is that you may go there. But it is only God who knows what is best for us.
    Love, Wilma

    1. Wilma, these are my thoughts exactly. This is why I did not ask that people pray for the outcome to be in my favor. I pray that God’s Will be done.

      Many blessings to you, Wilma.

  8. Hello Saloma,

    Oh that would be great! We’ll see what happens, but good luck with your research and the preparations. I hope your dream may come true …

    Greetingd from The Netherlands, Carolien

  9. Hello Saloma, This is great news. Heidelberg is a beautiful city. If and when you come I really hope we can connect. Both ways, you can come to Holland and we can go to Heidelberg. I also see you have another connection in Holland. We will keep you busy!
    Greetings, mary m

    1. Hello Mary! Thank you very much for your welcome. I really look forward to the possibility of meeting you. I won’t put your name in the drawing because you are out of the country, but I’ll tell you what. If we get to meet, I will give you a book as a gift, how’s that?

      Take good care!

  10. I have just finished reading both of your books… Bonnet Strings just about an hour ago… I live in the Pacific NW and it is the middle of the night, having some chronic pain keeping me up… so I’m sipping a cup of coffee and reading your blog. Thank you for including a link at the end of the book. I enjoyed both books, reading felt like sitting with a good friend and learning about their growing up and for God’s grace which when looking backwards we see most clearly. Congratulations on moving closer to your Fulbright goal, that would be an amazing opportunity and journey in itself. May God bless you, David, and your boys. Thank you for being sharing your life with us all. All my best,

    1. Madge, I’m so glad you found your way to my blog. Thank you so much for your kind words and for your good wishes on the Fulbright.

      Many blessings to you. I hope you find relief from the pain you are experiencing.

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