A Mobility of the Professoriate: Motivations of Bulgarian Scholars to Pursue a Fulbright Fellowship

Desislava Karaasenova

Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”



Abstract: Drawing on a qualitative study which explored the experience of Bulgarian academics who conducted research and taught in the United States under the Fulbright Program, this paper looks closely at the motivations behind the scholars’ choice to undertake transnational mobility. The scholars see the Fulbright award as a unique opportunity to overcome their scientific isolation, self-actualize professionally, attain academic excellence, enhance the value and visibility of their research, increase their career prospects, contribute to the common good, experience a different culture. Analysis of the factors underlying the motivations for mobility leads to a notable contradiction. The Fulbright award, which is an epitome of success and scientific excellence, becomes an epitome of the Bulgarian scholars’ scientific lag. Participation in the Fulbright mobility serves as an instrument in their battle against their local institutional environment.

Key words: academic mobility, scholars, Fulbright, internationalisation of academia.

Rhetoric and Communications E-journal, Issue 31, November 2017, rhetoric.bg/, journal.rhetoric.bg, ISSN 1314-4464

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