Fulbright Interview Experience, Questions, and Answers

Yes! If you made it this far, you presented yourself well in your application. You made the IIE people curious, and they want to meet you in person. Just like for the application, there is also a lot you can do to prepare for the interview. A lot of “highly conceptual” stuff has already been written elsewhere about this topic, so I’ll just share my experience. It is always a good anecdote when I explain people about how my interview went.

My Fulbright Interview Experience

It was held in the premises of the US Embassy in Ljubljana. I came early and was neatly dressed (business formal), which was appropriate. Most of my belongings had to be left with the guards, but you need nothing for the interview anyway. The appointments with candidates were scheduled by the hour, so I was the only one there at the time. When being called for, I was escorted to a conference room with a big table and about twelve people sitting around it. Half men, half women, all well dressed, in a good mood. The average age was around 40 and after they had introduced themselves (only a few sentences each) I could conclude that the average education in that room was almost a pure PhD. They were professors from the University of Ljubljana (Law, Business …), representatives of some Slovenian Ministries, IIE and the US Embassy people. Some of them were US Alumni (ex Fulbright scholars or academics who spent some time working in the USA).

I had to introduce myself, speak about my project and after that the conversation turned out to be quite informal. They commented on the institution I had selected, the Ivy League and Boston in general, about my recent travels and at the end we were all laughing at the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy which was (obviously) a common thread for almost all of the people present. We concluded in a friendly, relaxed manner after about twenty minutes.

Some Hints

The IIE representative had very good questions about my personal statement and project proposal. It was clear that she had read them thoroughly! Therefore, try to put some “eye catchers” in your personal statement. Some conversation pieces that could attract an intelligent person (there will definitely be a full room of those).

One of the most helpful articles I found online was Preparing for Your Fulbright Campus Committee Interview by Paul Bohlmann.

He states that: “Not only does this interview allow you to supplement your written and supporting materials personally, but the process allows a committee to assess—in person—the convergence of your project with the Fulbright program’s goals and standards. In a nutshell, the interview provides an opportunity for a committee to gauge how ready you are for the challenges of prolonged immersion in a new culture, as well as how prepared you are to pursue the project you have proposed. To understand the importance of your campus committee interview, keep one essential fact in mind: this interview will be the only occasion you have in the entire review process, here in the U.S. and overseas, to make a personal case for your abilities to live abroad and to undertake your project successfully. It is essential to know what to expect in your interview, and to take the time to prepare as well as you can.”


  1. Muhammad

    Dear Author

    Thank you for this website and for sharing your experience with the world.

    Regarding the interview, I get always asked this question and don’t really know what to say, the question is:

    “What do you want to get out of this program?” {the program referred to is Fulbright Foreign Student Program}. what kind of answer are they expecting?


    • PhDfriend

      `Cheshire Puss,’ she began, rather timidly, as she did not at all know whether it would like the name: however, it only grinned a little wider. `Come, it’s pleased so far,’ thought Alice, and she went on. `Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?’ Alice speaks to Cheshire Cat. `That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,’ said the Cat. `I don’t much care where–‘ said Alice. `Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,’ said the Cat. `–so long as I get somewhere,’ Alice added as an explanation. `Oh, you’re sure to do that,’ said the Cat, `if you only walk long enough.’ (Alice in Wonderland)

      Dear Muhammad, I guess that question is one of those, one should figure out for him/herself.

      • Eliana

        I Could not have answered Muhammad better. One should know… That is whats distinguishes the each of the applicants 🙂

  2. Jazib Zaheer

    I also found some interesting questions asked on the Fulbright interview over here:

    • Yandhira

      Thanks for sharing the link, it was very helpful!

  3. Yandhira

    Dear PhDfriend:

    Thank you for sharing your experience with us. Is it possible to know about your project? I´m really interested.

    What are the requirements for a PhD scholarship? Which are the main factors on which the committee bases to grant you this scholarship?

    Thanks in advance.

    • admin

      Hi, much of what you ask is answered in the ebook you can download at phdfriend.com!

  4. An Iraqi Student

    Dear PhDfriend,
    Please accept my best regards ..
    I have a little question ..
    -For how long it’s required to wait after interview ? I’m from Iraq

    • PhDfriend

      My exact timeline is in the ebook. I think it was a couple of months before they told me I was accepted.

  5. Christy


    i was wondering, was any part of your interview in the language of your Fulbright host country?
    I am applying for an ETA in France and I am wondering if any part of my interviews will be in French…

    Thank you so much!

    Christy Cole

    • PhDfriend

      Hi, it’s difficult for me to say, because I was an incoming Fulbrighter (to the US) and my interview was completely in English.

  6. bafreen

    Dear PHD friend
    could you tell me how long it takes to invite you for interview after deadline?I submitted my application form in May 2015 for fulbright program 2016-2018 and I didn’t get any email from fulbright. i’m from Iraq and the deadline was on 1st June.

  7. RaphaelN

    Dear PhDfriend
    I need to know something about the fulbright scholarship.If you receive a scholarship to study Master of science in usa,it is possible to find a Job and stay over there after finishing your studies?Thanks for your answers

    • phdfriend

      Hi. It is possible to do that, yes. Contact your local US Embassy to find out how. Best of luck!

      • RaphaelN

        Thanks a lot!

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