Iuliana Vizan

Fulbright TEA, Spring 2020

My experience at Kent State University as a Fulbright Teaching Excellence and Achievement Program (TEA) grantee was the greatest experience in my entire career as a teacher of English. The time spent there varied from intensive courses and seminars to insightful cultural events, from which I gained and further developed significant teaching skills for my field of study. As a former student of Ovidius University, Constanţa with a B.A. in American Studies (2011), an M.A. in “Traductology, Terminology, Communication” (2013), another in “Anglo-American Studies” (2014) and a Ph.D. in Contemporary Japanese-American Literature (2017), I was looking forward for this unique opportunity. Due to the generosity of this professional development program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA), with funding provided by the U.S. Government and administered by IREX in collaboration with the Fulbright Commission, I was able to conduct my own research at Kent State University, Ohio, U.S.A.

The Kent State University family made this American experience memorable not only for me, but also for the other twenty-one participants for this spring cohort of the Fulbright TEA Media Literacy Program. My American family consisted of Dr. Linda Robertson, the director of the Read Center for International and Intercultural Education; Dr. Marty Jencius, the co-director of the grant and a faculty member in the College of Education, Health and Human Services; Dr. Anne B. Morrison, Professor Emeritus at Kent State University and the instructor for the General Academy Seminar; Mr. Keith M. Nedved, coordinator in the Department of Educational Services at PBS Western Reserve in Kent and the instructor for the Media Literacy Class; Mr. Abdoulaye Fall, a former teacher of English and the instructor for the Technology Class; Mrs. Mary Tipton, TEA Outreach Coordinator and our field experience organizer; Mrs. Rose Onders, our Special Assistant from the Center for International and Intercultural Education during our stay in the U.S.; Dave and Sheila Chiborek, retired educators who work with international scholars at Kent State University and were responsible with pairing us with families from the community.

The six weeks I spent in Kent comprised cultural orientation sessions with Dr. Jencius, attending the three courses mentioned above (Media Literacy, Technology and General Academic), field experience at Kenston High School – where I observed teaching and attended different classes among which I will mention U.S. and European history, English literature, Spanish and Russian as a second language. During my visit at Kenston I also delivered presentations on Romanian culture and history, and I shared information about my home school, “George Călinescu” High School, Constanţa. The program also implied visiting other school communities in Ohio such as Aurora High School, Barberton High School and even an Amish school.

I would say that the highlight of the program comprised different cultural events and field trips which proved to be equally important for both my career and my field of study. During our stay at Kent State we visited the WKSU—National Public Radio News, where Director Andrew Meyer presented the building, their mission as journalists and kindly answered all our questions. Our group also attended a presentation on how African Americans are portrayed in the media and another concerned with Latino representations in the media. I have to admit that these two presentations reminded me of the Ethnic Studies and Media Studies courses I most loved during my years as an undergraduate student at Ovidius University of Constanţa. Interestingly enough, during our visit to Columbus, we had the opportunity to visit Ohio Statehouse and to meet Ohio Supreme Court Justice Michael P. Donnelly.

Other activities included the concert Gospel Meets Symphony at E. J. Thomas Hall in Akron and the Broadway musical Anastasia at Playhouse Square in Cleveland. Some of us also supported the Kent State University Hockey team at the Ice Arena in Kent and, to get acquainted with each other’s competition and teambuilding skills, we also had a night of bowling and pizza at Spins Bowl in Kent.

The time spent with our host family, Emily and Davison Mupinga, was also a part of our cultural orientation and here I will mention the Super Bowl game and the traditional Zimbabwean dinner prepared for me and my Serbian roommate, Jelena Spasic. More importantly, our TEA group also had the chance to attend a Hawaiian party, a Thanksgiving dinner and a Mardi Gras themed party organized by Dr. Robertson, Dr. Jencius and Mary Tipton. I should not forget about the delicious lunches in the Gerald H. Read Center (Mexican, Native American, Italian and many more). All these gave us an idea about the diversity of ethnic groups in America and their culinary customs and traditions.

Other personal activities which were not included in the official schedule ranged from researching online critical materials on ethnic and film studies and media literacy, taking long walks along the hike and bike trial in Kent, visiting The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, attending The Lion King Jr. musical from Kenston High School, being a speaker in the International Parenting Panel organized at Kent State University, visiting the Harley-Davidson Motorcycle museum in Ravenna, hiking in Cuyahoga Valley National Park, visiting the May 4 Memorial from Kent State University, and enjoying the breath-taking Niagara Falls.

The surprises did not end here, as after these unforgettable six weeks spent in Kent, Ohio, we traveled to Washington D.C. for the End of Program Workshop Presentations and Certificate Ceremony, where I had the chance to attend interesting presentations and workshops on teaching and media literacy. I am grateful that I had the opportunity to meet some of our fellow Fulbright TEA scholars from other Universities in the United States and also that I was lucky to meet and talk to Belinda S. De Abreu, the author of Teaching Media Literacy and Mr. Michael Kuban, Senior Program Officer in the Fulbright Teacher Exchange Brach. My project, “Using Media Literacy and Critical Thinking in Interpreting Contemporary Films”, was well-received not only by my fellow colleagues and instructors at Kent State, but also by other Fulbright scholars and representatives of IREX. I proudly admit that this made me think about continuing my research and further explore the intricacies of media literacy and film studies.

I would like to express my deep gratitude to the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, to the U.S. Government, to IREX, and last but not least, to the Fulbright Commission for this unique opportunity. Having access not only to crucial materials for my career, but also engaging in discussions with professionals who either teach or write about media literacy is indeed an asset to my experience as a teacher and to my future research career.

U.S. Study Videos


My U.S. Study Experience


Discover U.S. Campuses




My fulbright experience

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
  • 13
  • 14
  • 15
  • 16
  • 17

Students at the advising center

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7

Romanian-U.S. Fulbright Commission

Adress: 2 Ing. Nicolae Costinescu Street, sector 1, Bucharest, Romania
E-mail: office@fulbright.ro

Privacy Policy

Fulbright Educational Advising Center

E-mail: feac@fulbright.ro

 Office hours

Monday to Friday

IMPORTANT : Visits and in person advising by appointment only.