It felt like just a few moments passed since I was staring at the statue of Dante in Piazza Santa Croce in Florence, Italy until I was curiously looking at the gates of the beautiful Sterling Library in New Haven.
On my first day at the Yale University campus, the sight of the yellow school bus made me think “this is exactly as in the movies”. Since then, my time in the U.S. was a continuous construction and deconstruction of what the U.S. is like. I realized in the end that there is not one U.S. but actually a whole world in a country. In this process, I started to be more aware of my European identity. Answering the question “where do you come from?” made me realize more and more that the concept of “home” is fluid as living and studying in several European countries in the past years contributed to my identity.
My Fulbright experience exceeded my expectations in every single way. I had an incredibly productive time at Yale University where I continued my research on discrimination while refining my methodological skills. I had the chance to present my work, to engage, and to learn from some of the best scholars who work on randomized field experiments – an emerging research method in my field of study. I felt inspired and empowered by the conversations, debates, and exchanges that I had countless times with other researchers in New Haven. I appreciated the openness, the engagement of novel ideas, and the welcoming academic environment. Sterling, Bass and Lilian Goldman Law libraries were my favorite places for research as they offered great resources and a perfect ambiance that I found it very inspiring.
Staying in the U.S. for quite a few months, I also had the chance to meet and connect with great people. I found the Americans very inclusive and I felt welcomed both at my department but also in general. What I particularly enjoyed is that people were positive, smiling, and caring. I am happy that I made friends along the way and I shared several great moments. For example, going to the Yale-Harvard football game and tailgating was definitely an unforgettable experience. Even it was a very cold day, the vibes, the excitement and the informal atmosphere created a great event that made me understand more about the university traditions and the community spirit. In the days of the game, New Haven was crowded with researchers celebrating Yale’s winning and the streets were incredibly animated.
The time in the U.S. passed very fast but I am happy that I manage to enjoy it to the fullest. Traveling to New Orleans, Washington, New York, and Boston answered old questions but also opened new ones regarding American history, society, and culture. Now I am ready to share my knowledge, stories, and anecdotes with my fellows Europeans. Nevertheless, my academic engagement and cultural curiosity regarding the U.S. will not stop here. Hopefully, this is just the beginning of an ongoing academic and cultural exchange.
Diana galos IS A 2019-2020 FULBRIGHT Student Researcher IN Sociology AT Yale University. Diana is a Ph.D. researcher at the European University Institute in Florence. She is interested in social and educational inequality but also discrimination. For a few months this year she was a visiting scholar at The French Institute for Demographic Studies in Paris. She holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Oxford and a Bachelor degree in Sociology from Goldsmiths, University of London.
Articles are written by Fulbright grantees and do not reflect the opinions of the Fulbright Commission, the grantees’ host institutions, or the U.S. Department of State.