September 2012, Volume 16, Number 4


Fulbright fellows
Every year, Miami Dade College welcomes students and professionals from around the world as a host of the Fulbright Gateway Orientation program.

U.S. Culture 101

Every summer, as a host institution for the U.S. Department of State’s Fulbright Gateway Orientation Program, MDC becomes home base for a life-changing week of exploration and adaptation for some of the world’s brightest minds as they gain their first taste of America.

The Fulbright International Educational Exchange Program, with assistance from the Institute for International Education, enables students and professionals from around the world to deepen their expertise through study, research and work at U.S. universities.

Employing years of experience, smart planning and a lot of heart, MDC faculty members support the endeavors by providing the new arrivals a multidimensional introduction to life in the U.S. with informative lectures, group discussions and exciting outings, all leading to lasting friendships.

Memorable Encounter

“It is such a unique phenomenon to have all of these enthusiastic, intelligent people from all over the world come together and share these experiences,” said MDC English Professor Maureen O’Hara, who directs the Gateway Program along with Professor Dorothy Avondstondt, assistant director.

Orientation lecture topics run the gamut to cover various angles of life stateside, from U.S. history and jazz to understanding academic culture and avoiding culture shock. Fulbrighters enjoy meals at local hotspots, such as Nikki Beach and The Knife, as well as special excursions, including an evening boat tour on Biscayne Bay. Discussions are lively, friendly and often humorous as participants share their perspectives and experiences, thanks to the comfortable yet stimulating environment fostered by Miami Dade College.


Given the mix of people and circumstances, the orientation goes well beyond shedding light on U.S. lifestyles to highlight global differences and similarities. And, by sharing their stories, Fulbrighters also learn a lot about themselves.

Nobody knows that better than O’Hara, who frequently receives emails from program participants.

“I discovered my very own identity during the orientation in Miami,” said Dalia Ghosh Dastidar, a graduate student from India studying biological sciences at the University of Northern Colorado.

Kays Fattal, a Fulbrighter from Syria studying at the University of Maryland, also attested to the lasting impression of his experience in Miami: “Thanks for giving us unforgettable memories that we will hold for our whole lives and tell our grandkids about.”

— MR

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Miami Dade College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate and baccalaureate degrees.
Contact the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Miami Dade College.
Miami Dade College is an equal access/equal opportunity institution which does not discriminate on the basis of sex, race, color, marital status, age, religion, national origin,
disability, veteran’s status, ethnicity, pregnancy, sexual orientation or genetic information. Additional information may be obtained by contacting the
Office of Equal Opportunity Programs/ADA Coordinator/Title IX Coordinator, at 305.237.2577.