Mary Stanton Has Led Two Fulbright Association Trips to India

The Golden Triangle of India. It sounds exotic, ancient and fascinating … but maybe a little too distant and confusing for a vacation destination? What if you could make that trip of a lifetime with someone who knows her way around and wants to share her knowledge with you?

Mary Stanton is a retired Richfield High School teacher who spent six months teaching in India, as part of a Fulbright teacher exchange program, during the 2010–2011 school year. Since then she’s led two trips to India as part of the Fulbright Association trips program. She says the trips sponsored by the Fulbright Association are “travel with a purpose.”

“The thing that makes these trips special is the opportunity to connect with people in the country you are visiting,” Stanton says. “Being with a Fulbright group opens doors and gives you a chance to meet and talk with all kinds of people.”

Education was the theme of Stanton’s trips. Because of her contacts she was able to take her travel group to the school where she’d taught and then to the home of one of the teachers for dinner and conversation about the differences in education in India and the U.S. Her tour groups traveled to Agra and saw the Taj Mahal and they also met with a Fulbright alumni who lives there and visited his home. In Jaipur they toured the ancient city, and one of the tour members made a presentation to a gathering of local students and educators.

Stanton is ready to lead another trip to India whenever the opportunity arises. In the meantime, she traveled to Serbia in 2016 with the Fulbright Association on a service trip to help revive their wine industry. And in April of this year, she went to Vietnam to help with an English language program.

She’s not only excited by the connections she makes with people in the countries she visits, but says she makes friends with other tour members on every trip. “You are travelling with people with a similar mindset,” she says. “I always feel comfortable with the group right away.”

The Fulbright Scholarship program, which was established in 1947 and is managed by the U.S. Department of State, is probably the best-known Fulbright program. The Fulbright Association was setup in 1977 to be a networking and support organization for alumni of the Scholars program as well as other Fulbright programs.
Stanton is on the national board of the Fulbright Association and is chair of the travel task force. She says you don’t have to have been a member of another Fulbright program to register for one of the trips. You can go to their website to get information about upcoming trips and become a Friend of Fulbright to be eligible to register for an association trip.

There are two kinds of trips offered—insight trips and service trips. Both are meant to give the traveler an experience that is more than tourism. “All of the trips have a purpose beyond just seeing the sites,” Stanton says. “I would encourage anyone who wants to really experience another culture to look into a Fulbright Association trip.”