Learn About the Fulbright-Hays Act


2 minutes

Part of the necessary rebuilding after World War II included the fostering and development of relations with other countries. The war had so decimated much of Europe economically and socially that some American politicians saw the need to institute U.S. initiatives that would help in the rebuilding process. One of the American leaders in the movement to improve cultural understanding between countries was J. William Fulbright, who at the time was representing the state of Arkansas in the United States Senate. He spearheaded the creation of the Fulbright Program, out of which the Fulbright-Hays Act, the law that dictates the principles of the J-1 Visa, came to exist.

As a J-1 visitor, you are familiar with the goals of the visa: fostering international cooperation and creating ways to facilitate exchanges between countries. Fulbright agreed with these goals, especially given the tension and destruction after the war. Countries all over Europe and Asia were in ruins, so the United States, then emerging as a super power, naturally felt it had a part to play in the ensuing reconstruction years. Fulbright sponsored a bill in 1945, a few months after fighting had stopped, to sell surplus war goods to raise money to create cultural exchange programs. American scholars, teachers, and professionals would receive money to go and work abroad, while citizens of other countries would receive money to come to the United States. On August 1, 1946, President Harry Truman signed the Fulbright bill into law. The grants that the law created went to students and scholars from almost all fields except medical professions that required patient contact.

By 1961, thousands of these grants were awarded, and the programs were growing in popularity. The Fulbright-Hays Act of that year consolidated the existing exchange laws and increased the authorization of the U.S. State Department to oversee these exchanges. The Fulbright-Hays Act is now the governing regulation by which all U.S Exchange Programs operate. InterExchange is one of the companies that offers these reciprocal exchanges. We help residents of other countries obtain visas to do Internships/Training programs, Summer Work Travel, Au Pair, and Camp programs. U.S. Citizens may participate in our Working Abroad program to teach English, volunteer, and perform temporary, seasonal work in other countries.

The U.S. Department of State describes the Fulbright Program as one of the most enlightened initiatives undertaken by this country in its relations with the other nations of the world. It was unquestionably needed after World War II, and people from all over the world continue to benefit today. The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, a part of the U.S. State Department, now oversees the program to ensure that cultural exchange requirements are being met. Over the years, hundreds of thousands of Americans have taken advantage of Fulbright programs to travel abroad, and in turn, even more visitors have traveled to the U.S. from other parts of the world.

InterExchange Career Training USA is a top J-1 Visa sponsor for university students and young professionals who have already secured internships or training programs with companies in the U.S. If you still need to find an internship or training program in the U.S., check out our resources and start the J-1 Visa sponsorship process early.

Ani Kington Ani Kington

Originally from Columbus, Ohio, Ani is a fan of exploring new places through photography and the local cuisine. After earning her BFA in photography from NYU and gaining communications experience at International Planned Parenthood Federation, she joined InterExchange in 2012, and worked as the Marketing Producer until 2016.

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U.S. Department of State-Designated J-1 Visa Sponsor
Alliance for International Exchange
Exclusive partner of the Erasmus Student Network for J-1 Visa sponsorship of internships in the U.S.
European-American Chamber of Commerce New York
Generation Study Abroad
Global Ties U.S.
International Au Pair Association
WYSE Travel Confederation