Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Email Day

In Fall 2014, I decided to throw my name in the hat for the Fulbright Fellowship. I didn't think I would win, but I've never deterred from a challenge of applying to anything in life. I knew that winning the Fulbright was extremely difficult, that this prestigious fellowship is reserved for the select few, so I was sure not to keep my hopes high. Moreover, I was not serious about living abroad for a whole year; but as with all things in life, I told myself I would cross that bridge when, and if, I got there.

On March 19th at 11:37am, I received an email titled "Fulbright Application Status (P)." I'm not quite sure what the "P" stood for -- maybe it meant 'pass', in the "sorry, you didn't make it, we're passing your application" way. I was at work and it was almost lunch time, so I opened the email on my iPhone, knowing I'd be reading a rejection email. I already had the mushy-gushy sentences running through my head; "Thank you for applying...there were too many strong applicants this year...we wish you much success in your other endeavors... come again.." and blah, blah, blah.

Much to my surprise, though, the email started with a "Congratulations!"

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Introduction - Hello!

Hi everyone, welcome to my blog! For those of you who do not know me, my name is Mariya Ilyas. I'm a proud Muslim-Pakistani-American and a very proud Bowdoin College alumna. I love meeting people, traveling to new places, and discussing international affairs with anyone who is willing to entertain a conversation about current events.

The purpose of this blog is to share my experiences of being in Turkey on a Fulbright Scholarship. I will do my best to update this blog as often as possible, but no promises. I know that some experiences are meant to just be experienced in the moment, some are not worth sharing, and some are entirely personal. For this reason, I hope to give you a glimpse, not a memoir, of my time in Turkey.

I hope you enjoy reading this, and I look forward to your comments and feedback.