Dr. Krzysztof Ostaszewski, professor of mathematics and director of the Actuarial Program at Illinois State University, has been reappointed as a Fulbright Specialist. A specialist since 2002, he has served several appointments in Poland. To celebrate Fulbright alumni at Illinois State, he recounts his days in the program and the impact it made. #Fulbright@ISU #FulbrightPrgrm

Describe your Fulbright project.
As of February 7, 2020, I have been reappointed as a Fulbright Specialist. This means that I am available for short-term visits at universities around the world, supported by the Fulbright program.

How do you believe your Fulbright experience changed your work after you returned?
I have been a Fulbright Specialist since 2002, very soon after I came to ISU. This has always been a very enriching experience. I was also a Fulbright Research Fellow in Poland in 1995.

Travel can be referred to as the gift of the unexpected. What was the most unexpected thing you saw or experienced?
I am always amazed when I see people in countries around the world always insisting that things are different in their country, and at the same time, always struggling with similar problems all around the world.

Have you returned to the country where you served your Fulbright award? Had it changed? Had you changed?
Yes. I had several Fulbright appointments in Poland. Dramatic improvements in the economy of the country since 2015, my last two visits there as a Fulbright Specialist. Of course the COVID-19 pandemic situation will undo some or even a lot of that progress.

What do you most wish people could understand about the Fulbright experience?
How similar people’s problems are worldwide, even though people insist so much about their problems being unique.

What advice would you give to someone who is thinking of applying for Fulbright?
Lose any fear you have, and apply, and present your true interests, and your research, to the world.