a sunset as seen from within a plane

On Applying for the Fulbright Killam Fellowship

I have the Centre for International Experience (CIE) to thank for giving me the assistance I needed to submit my application. I remember having found this opportunity via the CIE portal, it was the only means by which an undergraduate could apply for direct exchange in the United States.

I just wanted to share my experience, for I hope it can offer you some insight into how to get started with an application. For reference, I applied for the direct exchange program offered by the Killam Fellowship. The open competition option is for students who 1) are not enrolled at an institution on the Killam Partner Institutions list 2) are hoping to apply for an exchange at an institution not on the Killam Partner Institutions list. For more information, feel free to reach out to the CIE.

the front of the Capitol
The Capitol in D.C.

I started my application in early December, which entailed writing a personal statement reflecting my history and desires to study in the United States. As a double major in political science and in American studies, I wanted the chance to take a spring term abroad at American University in Washington D.C. to diversify my understanding of American politics. I had to rank three direct exchange institutions, which I did by researching the faculty of the Killam Partners and deciding which courses and professors I wished to learn from.

Part of the application also requires a course selection to be filled out for each of the top three choices. For the universities whose online course catalogs are not yet updated for my intended term abroad, I referred to those of previous years as a proxy. I also consulted the academic advisor of the department of political science to understand what (year) level-designation each course abroad would hold on my transcript.

My reference was a teaching assistant who knew me well from a course I was currently taking. A reference letter in addition to the reference form issued by the fellowship application is optional. Given how my reference was short on time, she submitted only the form.

In the end, my entire application package was signed off by an advisor at the CIE whom I made an appointment with. After that was done, I scanned my documents and uploaded them into the portal for submission the evening it was due.

After receiving the email that I had been nominated by my university after their internal selection about two months after my submission, I waited for another couple of months for the email Fulbright Canada sent. It informed me that I was accepted as a 2020-21 Killam Fellow at one of my top choice institutions: American University in Washington D.C.! From then on, I got to signing the paperwork and getting in touch with the international experience office at my host university.

A subway entering the train station
The subway in Washington, which I had ridden on a trip to the US after my virtual exchange.

This is a very busy time of year for both students and university staff alike. If you will be submitting an application for the Killam Fellowship, I would keep that in mind and get started early. Good luck with your application! This fellowship has helped me make academic connections and discover new interests—among them, political theory. I am thankful for the opportunity, and will always look fondly upon this period of my undergraduate career.

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