Ethan Wood
at University of Bristol

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Meeri Shin
at University of Bristol

Meet Our Fulbrighters »

University of Bristol Summer Institute for Young American Student Leaders


Bristol University from Cabot TowerThe Fulbright Commission-University of Bristol Summer Institute for Young American Student Leaders is a four-week cultural and academic programme for US students held at the University of Bristol in the UK.

The theme of the institute is Slavery and the Atlantic Heritage.

Participants in this summer school will get the opportunity to:

further their understanding of the history and culture of Bristol in particular and the United Kingdom in general

explore the specific role Bristol has played in US history

understand the relevance of the Slave Trade of the C18th and smuggling on modern Bristol and the UK

develop their academic and study skills

have the opportunity to enhance their leadership skills

get involved in a variety of community and civic activities

meet a wide range of people from a variety of backgrounds – both from within the University and from outside

develop their academic knowledge, be taught by world leaders in their field and receive credit they can transfer to their US University

make friends and experience life as a real student in the UK

become an ambassador for studying in the United Kingdom, and for the prestigious internationally renowned University of Bristol

The Institute will run from 30 May-24 June 2016.

Bristol was famous for its pirates and smugglers, with smuggling of goods being a major source of commercial activity. As a city, however, Bristol has neglected to come to terms with its involvement in the notorious Triangle Trade, taking slaves from Africa to the sugar plantations of the Southern US. The Bristol Summer Institute, staffed by scholars from Africa, North America and the U.K., offers American students an unprecedented perspective from all three continents in the triangle. Multiple approaches to the African diaspora will include archaeological remains, a critical view of the historical record, and analysis of the contrast of legacies of the slave trade between the UK and Africa. The programme closes with a comparison between colonised West Africa and Ethiopia, a nation not extensively colonised or heavily affected by the slave trade.

2015 Fulbrighters in BristolEducational and cultural site visits are an important part of the Institutes and will be fully integrated into the programme.

A full programme of cultural activities will be organised for the participants by the University of Bristol.

The University will also arrange for the participants to spend 1-2 hours each week as volunteers with a community service organisation in Bristol.

For more information on the Bristol Institute see the Programme Outline under the Additional Information tab.

The City of Bristol

Bristol is one of the best places to live in the UK and is one of the UK's smartest cities.  Thanks to a creative atmosphere and super-fast internet, it outdoes London when it comes to technological innovation!

The city has been crowned European Green Capital for 2015 thanks to an innovative energy strategy by Bristol City Council alongside grassroots community action.  Bristol has also won plaudits nationally in the Sunday Times (March 2014) as the 'best city in the UK to live in' and also by students across the UK as 'The best for city life in Britian' (Whatuni Student Choice Awards, April 2015).



Bristol 2015 FulbrightersThe majority of the participant costs will be covered. This includes:

•    round-trip airfare from the US to the UK;
•    tuition and fees at the University of Bristol;
•    accommodation and social programme;
•    subsistence e.g. food and drink

Participants are expected to pay for their own travel, health and accident insurance.


Participants will be housed together in a University hall of residence near the main University precinct. Accommodation will be based on students sharing rooms. All accommodation is University owned and managed, and has wi-fi and cable internet connections.

Participants will be provided with a catering card for the University refectories. Travel and cultural events which are undertaken as part of the Institute will be covered by the University of Bristol.

Selection Criteria

To meet the minimum eligibility for this Institute you need to:

• be a US citizen (resident anywhere except the UK) and possess a US passport; Bristol Cathedral
• be at least 18 years old by the start of the programme;
• be able to participate in the programme in its entirety;
• have a high level of academic achievement with a minimum GPA of 3.7 (confirmed by academic marks, awards and references);
• have at least two years of undergraduate study left to complete, i.e. applicants should currently be a Freshman or Sophomore in college/university;
• be mature, responsible, independent, and open-minded;
• be willing and able to fully participate in an academically intensive programme that includes attending all sessions, completing all assignments, contributing to classroom discussions and supporting student ambassador style work as required;
• have had little or no study or travel experience in the UK or elsewhere outside of the US and;
• expect to return to the US and continue your education.
• be able to adapt to UK university life, share living accommodation while travelling with a group and with UK/EU citizens, and make adjustments to cultural and social practices different from those of their home country

Note: The programme is open to students in all courses of study

Upon their return to the US, they will be expected to contribute to a better understanding of UK culture and society among their university and community peers. As alumni of the programme, they will be expected to help actively promote the programme in the US.

Those holding permanent residency ‘green cards’ may not apply.

Please read the Terms and Conditions for this award before making an application.
In making these awards the Commission is looking not only for academic excellence but a focused application, a range of extracurricular and community activities, an indication of ambassadorial skills, a desire to further the Fulbright Programme and a plan to give back to your home country upon returning.

Candidates will be considered without respect to race, colour, religion, national origin, ethnicity, sexual preference or gender (including gender reassignment). 


Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol Deadline: Applications are due 23 February 2016 by 5pm (UK Time).

Before you begin the application process, please read the FAQs document and application instructions.  If you have questions or any general enquiries about the programme, you may send them to:  Be sure to follow us on twitter and receive application tips throughout the period.

To Apply: 

1. Complete our online application form (including Equal Opportunities survey). We recommend you use a drafting version of the application form to draft your responses before submitting the online application form.


2. Request two reference letters: Request letters from two (2) references and supply them with the following online reference letter form.  Reference letters should come directly from the referee via the online  form.   References must be received at the Commission by 5pm (UK time) on the day of the deadline or the application will not be considered even if other pieces have been received on time. Students should not submit letters on their referees' behalf; we will be checking references. 

3. Send a copy of your transcripts: Transcripts should be sent to the Commission by email to in the form of a PDF.  Please do not send links to transcript access sites, as we have not always been able to access transcripts from these sites and your application may be considered incomplete. We recommend you request a transcript be sent to you, and you send a copy to the address above. We will accept these transcripts.  Please note that we request official transcripts, however, if for financial or similar reasons it is difficult to obtain an official transcript, we will accept an unofficial transcript in its place.  

The 'Summer Institutes' email address is for transcript attachments only. Applications not submitted by the online system will not be accepted. Transcripts or reference letters sent in by post, fax or to any email address other than will not be accepted. 


Applications will be short-listed and successful applicants will be invited to telephone interview sometime between the dates of 5 -15 April (subject to change). Interviews will only be held selected days and may not be rescheduled.

If you are making an application, please save these dates as an invitation to interview may come within a few days of the interview date. The selection committee will be comprised of Fulbright Commission staff and on occasion representatives from partner universities, US Embassy representatives, or Fulbright alumni.

Important note: The US-UK Fulbright Commission is unable to give feedback on individual applications or to provide reasons for their refusal.

Individuals from a broad range of ethnic, religious, geographic, and socio-economic backgrounds are encouraged to apply.


(Timeline subject to change)
25 November: Competition opens
23 February:  Application deadline
Late March:  Short-listed candidates invited to Interview
5-15 April:  Telephone Interviews 
Late April:  Notification for successful applicants
May: Preparation and Pre-Departure Information
27 May:  Departure for UK
28 May:  Arrival in the UK
25 June:  Return to USA

Additional Information

Programme Outline (please note that this is subject to change)

Academic Programme

Week One: Introduction to Britain, Bristol and the Transatlantic Slave System.

Week Two: History and the Transatlantic Slave System: Views from three continents.

Week Three: The archaeology of the Transatlantic Slave System.

Week Four: The legacy of the slave trade: Views from three continents.

Throughout the four-week programme, participants will undertake a variety of coursework to help provide them with a broad and balanced understanding of the topics and themes being discussed. Participants will work closely with the course/ module leaders who will provide direction, guidance and feedback to the participants – both as a group and individually.

Participants who successfully complete the Summer Institute will be awarded with the four (4) academic credits.  Credits will be awarded for the students’ academic presentation at the end of the Summer Institute. This will be assessed by faculty members and an academic advisor.  Each student will receive an official certificate with their results from the University of Bristol at the end of the programme.

Site Visits

Visits to sites of historical and cultural relevance in Bristol, such as:

• Members of Parliament for Bristol
• Member of European Parliament for South West England, Ashley Fox MEP
• Bristol City Council
• Mayor of Bristol
• meetings with other community leaders from the voluntary, charitable and NGO sectors

Cultural Activities

A full programme of cultural activities will be organised for the participants by the University of Bristol, such as:

• theatre night at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre (the oldest continually operating theatre in the UK)
• the UNESCO World Heritage Site Roman Baths in Bath
• a Twenty20 cricket match at Gloucestershire County Cricket Club
• SS Great Britain (the world’s first great ocean liner – designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel) in Bristol harbour
• comedy night at the Tobacco Factory
• tailored tour of M Shed (Museum of Bristol) and City Museum
• pirate city tour
• historical boat tour of Bristol’s floating harbour

The University of Bristol will organise a welcome reception and dinner for the participants to formally inaugurate the programme. At the end of the programme, there will be a farewell reception.


For the duration of the Institute, the participants will be accompanied by two fully-trained, International Office Ambassadors who will act as mentors to the group.

International Office Ambassadors are current University of Bristol students who have been recruited and trained specifically to help support international students during their time in Bristol.