Bratislava, September 7 (TASR) – Experts from various scientific spheres and teachers from the United States have been able since this summer to come to Slovakia more easily on no-fee non-immigrant visas, US Ambassador to Slovakia Adam Sterling announced on Wednesday at a ceremony marking the beginning of the new academic year with the Fulbright Exchange programme.
This new procedure significantly eases the administrative burden on Fulbright scholars and specialists, the Fulbright Commission in Slovakia, and the Governments of both countries.
The easing of this process will allow American scholarship holders to teach or pursue research in Slovakia immediately.
This new amendment took effect on July 30 after nearly a year of negotiations between representatives of the US Embassy and the Slovak Government.
“The programme itself is a great boost for US-Slovak relations. Approximately 360 Americans have come to teach here and study in the past 23 years, and around 340 Slovaks have gone to the United States. This is a significant number of people who have profound experience in our countries, particularly in the academic sector, people who understand the values that unite us and who understand the histories of our countries and what our relations are based on,” Sterling told TASR.
The simplification of the procedures was also welcomed by Slovak Education, Science, Research and Sport Ministry State Secretary Olga Nachtmannova.
“I regard it as an important step towards simplifying stays for the students’ family members as well. This could bring even closer links in the future, including the emergence of friendships and knowledge of each other’s nations. Interpersonal relations then also facilitate the creation of politics,” Nachtmannova told TASR.
For example, the Fulbright programme makes it possible for American English language teachers to work at all kinds of secondary schools throughout Slovakia.
Peter Terem, head of the International Relations and Diplomacy Department at Matej Bel University’s Faculty of Political Sciences and International Relations, acquired a scholarship in the United States in 2013-14.
“As in the sphere that I focus on – international relations and more specifically US foreign policy, including the use of nuclear weapons and security policy – I had reached a certain ceiling in Slovakia, I was looking for further opportunities,” said Terem when asked why he joined the programme.
“The stay helped me in a fantastic way. I can hardly praise it enough. I made a shift to a completely different expert level. I used the opportunities offered by this stay to the maximum. This included not only a stay at the Boston institute itself, but also lectures, seminars and conferences with people that I had only read about in books before. Now I was able to see them live, talk to them and consult with them,” said Terem.
A total of 17 Americans have come to Slovakia under the programme, while 15 Slovaks are taking part in the programme in the United States.