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International Office Trains Fulbright Winners to Teach in Africa, Asia

fulbright africa

5 July 2012

INSPIRED TO SHARE and learn, 60 new Fulbright scholars from across the U.S. recently visited campus to attend a five-day orientation program for English Teaching Assistants headed to teach English in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. During the comprehensive training program designed and delivered by the UT International Office, participants received an introduction to the culture of their host countries, learned about instructional strategies for teaching English, and had the chance to network with other teaching assistants from across the country.ma

Mary Kracklauer was one of several ESL faculty members from the UT International Office to share instructional techniques with the Fulbright trainees. “Whether teaching younger students or older ones— teaching with only a chalkboard and piece of chalk or in a more equipped classroom—these engaged young teachers will make an important contribution to our global community. They have such a passion for helping others. It was a wonderful experience for all of us,” Mary said.

Mica Fidler from Brown University will teach in South Africa and hopes to help students share their stories through the performing arts, as she has done with a school program in Washington D.C. The connections Mica made during her time in Austin inspired her, “I’ve done a lot of work in international education, including two years of teaching in China, but in this training I’ve met the most adventurous, high-achieving global scholars. I feel so privileged to be a part of a group so committed to making a global impact.” She plans to one day work as a chief education officer for an urban U.S. school district or as an international education development specialist.

Alfred Yannucci completed his bachelor’s degree in Slavic Studies and International Relations at Brown University.  With Fulbright, he will be traveling to Tajikistan, a country west of China and north of Pakistan. He hopes to one day work as a public diplomacy officer abroad, and recognizes this Fulbright program as a way to deepen his knowledge of foreign cultures. “I’ve spent time in Siberia and now look forward to living with a host family while I’m in Tajikistan. I really value the opportunity to become a cultural ambassador, helping to build cultural understanding between the U.S. and Persian cultures.”

Shawn Russell completed his degree in English from the University of Michigan at Dearborn and will be teaching English in Bangladesh. He sees this experience as a chance to strengthen ties with his Bangladeshian ancestry, while using the power of a common language to strengthen international relations. “The U.S. and Bangladesh were both part of the British Empire. Our shared history and language provide a common platform to get to know and learn from each other.” While in Bangladesh, Shawn also hopes to work with the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee, which offers English education in rural Bangladesh communities as a way to help these often underprivileged residents access opportunities for social mobility.

“This type of person-to-person diplomacy presents such an incredible opportunity for building cross-cultural understanding and friendship. It’s the real power of international education,” said Dr. Teri Albrecht, Director of International Student & Scholar Services. “We are honored that Fulbright selected the UT International Office to provide the foundation for this valuable cultural exchange program.”

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The Fulbright Program has provided more than 300,000 participants – chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential – with the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns. The UT International Office has a long-standing partnership with Fulbright and has been selected to create and deliver a number of professional development programs for Fulbright scholars.

Story by Angie Pastorek

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