Abu Dhabi: Three Emirati women have won the coveted Fulbright scholarship to study for their Master's in the US after a gruelling year of exams and interviews.

The Fulbright programme was founded in 1946 in Washington to provide a bridge between the US and the world.

The students are funded by the State Department and receive around $120,000 (Dh440,000) for the two-year programme. This covers everything from tuition fees to housing. Since the programme was founded in 1946, 183,000 students have gone to the US through the scholarship and 110,000 US students have travelled abroad.

The UAE sent its first scholars in 2006. Including the latest three, seven have gone through the selection process.

"My family wanted me to study in the UK but I managed to persuade them that this was a good opportunity for me," said Rana Mohammad Al Hammadi, who will be studying for her Masters in Art History.

Mental health is a huge issue in the UAE and we should have more Emiratis in this field because they can understand the issues being faced by our community and take the best course of action," said Umaimah Rasheed, who will be studying for a degree in clinical psychology.

"I have a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology and will be studying for a Masters in Business Management," said Mariam Mohammad Al Meqbaali.

The women said they were nervous about going to the US but couldn't wait to interact with the people.