Adventures Abroad: How Fulbright Grants Enrich Education and Research for Bradley Scholars and Students

Since 1963, Bradley faculty and students have benefitted from, sending them to nearly 40 countries for research and teaching opportunities. Scholars and immerse themselves in other cultures, gain language skills, further their research and enrich their education while having adventures and making lifelong friends.

Jeanie Bukowski, associate professor of political science and international studies, spent three months each at the in Portugal in 2023 and the in Costa Rica in 2024, comparing social-ecological systems in forest and marine protected areas.

“This program is truly transformational. I lived the Fulbright mission by becoming a part of the communities, making lasting friendships with colleagues and neighbors, and seeing firsthand the passion and hard work of individuals striving to protect the world’s forests and oceans,” Bukowski explained. “And there was no shortage of adventure!”

Her experiences have included exploring the far reaches of a high-mountain forest restoration project to protect one of the most endangered bird species in Europe and witnessing a giant manta ray on her first-ever scuba experience in the Pacific Ocean.

Bukowski’s most memorable Fulbright experience was on a week-long voyage on the while she was in the Azores. The ship is a four-masted sailing schooner that began life in 1937 as a cod-fishing boat that traveled the dangerous journey from the islands to the frozen north of Newfoundland. It now provides environmentally conscious hands-on sailing voyages and scientific expeditions.

“With 21 other passengers from all over the world, and a Portuguese crew, we went island-hopping, traveling to three of the Azores islands (beyond São Miguel, my home-base island). The fact that such diverse individuals could become such a cohesive group amazed me—it was a once-in-a-lifetime privilege,” she explained. “And I will never forget helping to hoist the sails, climbing a 118-foot mast, and jumping into amazingly blue waters in the open ocean, with no land in sight.”

On her most recent trip to Costa Rica, Bukowski met with the recently retired Costa Rican Vice Minister in charge of the national parks system. “Having worked in the parks system for over 30 years, he provided historical context on Costa Rica as a pioneer in environmental protection, but also confirmed that this commitment has waned,” she explained. “This helped me to better understand the struggles of the local officials and researchers in the Guanacaste Conservation Area in terms of the lack of resources and support they receive from the national level—to the point that they sometimes do not have enough money to put gas in park vehicles.”

Bukowski experienced nature first-hand, staying in a wooded area where howler monkeys would linger in the trees above her front porch and iguanas freely roamed the property. She enjoyed experiencing this biodiversity outside her home away from home, but she was understandably frightened when she found a snake slithering under her refrigerator. “I was fully prepared to encounter snakes out in the protected area, but not in my house!”

To learn more about Fulbright opportunities at Bradley, contact

Emily Potts