Fulbright Student Program Blog

Tag Archives: Reach the World Travelers

Leveraging Fulbrighters’ Insights for American Classrooms: The Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Program and Reach the World

Katherine Long, 2016-2017, Tajikistan (right), playing a game with two young Tajik girls.

For nearly ten years, Fulbright English Teaching Assistants (ETAs) have had the opportunity to volunteer with Reach the World (RTW) to share their experiences abroad with pre-kindergarten through 12th grade classrooms back home in the United States.

RTW utilizes the power of virtual exchange to enable Fulbright ETAs, who apply to volunteer with RTW, to bring their host country into an engaged classroom of American students. Fulbright ETAs share many aspects of life in another country with their student audiences in the United States, from grilled meats in Argentina to the unique plant life in the Maltese archipelago. These talented, passionate recent college graduates and early career professionals also capture rare, extraordinary experiences, like visiting the remote Caño Cristales river in Colombia. As young learners from throughout the United States interact with Fulbright ETAs, they are building vital global competencies that will serve them for years to come while challenging their perspectives about the world and their role as citizens. These global competencies include such things as increased geographic literacy and a greater desire to travel, changes in empathetic thinking when encountering difference, and pursuing higher education opportunities.

Breaking Down Stereotypes

Katie Salgado, 2016-2017, Fulbright English Teaching Assistant to Portugal, sitting on a tiled stoop in Seia

In partnership with Reach the World (RTW), the Fulbright U.S. Student Program is publishing a series of articles written by Fulbright English Teaching Assistants participating in Reach the World’s Traveler correspondents program, which through its interactive website, enriches the curriculum of elementary and secondary classrooms (primarily located in New York City but also nationwide) by connecting them to the experiences of volunteer Fulbright English Teaching Assistants (ETAs) and other world travelers who are currently studying and living abroad.

It was a misty Thursday morning in Seia. I exited the passenger side door of a silver compact car and looked up at the yellow Instituto Politécnico da Guarda (IPG) School of Tourism building. I was with my coworker, Rita, who had asked me to do a presententation to her management students on American culture. This was my first experience teaching English as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant to a group of students in Portugal, and I was eager to discover what the students knew about American culture and traditions. Rita and I entered the building and prepared the classroom for the day.

By 9:15 a.m., the freshman students shuffled sleepily into the classroom and took their seats. They exchanged confused glances with one another, unsure of whether to speak to me in English or in Portuguese. I stood there in my black blazer and greeted them with “Good morning, everyone.” Rita sat in the back of the classroom and remained there to observe my presentation. Once the last straggler sat down at his desk, Rita smiled and flashed me a thumbs up. It was time to begin.

I introduced myself to the twenty students in the room and began my PowerPoint presentation on where I was from, my academic background and hobbies.

I then clicked to the next slide: an outline of the United States of America with the red, white and blue flag waving in the background.

Open the Door and People Will Enter

Corey Fayne

Corey Fayne, 2015-2016, Fulbright English Teaching Assistant to South Korea

In partnership with Reach the World (RTW), the Fulbright U.S. Student Program is publishing a series of articles written by Fulbright English Teaching Assistants participating in Reach the World’s Traveler correspondents program, which through its interactive website, enriches the curriculum of elementary and secondary classrooms (primarily located in New York City but also nationwide) by connecting them to the experiences of volunteer Fulbright English Teaching Assistants (ETAs) and other world travelers who are currently studying and living abroad. 

When I think about where I come from, I think about the diverse neighborhood I grew up in, the different types of ethnic cuisines I could try, and the ‘corn man’ ringing his bell, so my sisters and I could eat some delicious Mexican-style cucumbers! Although the current neighborhood I live in South Korea as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant is not as diverse as my hometown, Chicago, I still feel at home because of my homestay family’s open arms.

Living away from home for a long time is like eating pancakes every morning for three weeks without syrup. It is not easy. It also means that you do not get to hang out with your close friends, eat certain foods that you are used to, or, perhaps, speak the language you are most comfortable with. It is scary. But even this difficulty and fear can bring about growth and a better sense of awareness.

Home Sweet Home

Mikayla Posey

Mikayla Posey, 2015-2016, Fulbright English Teaching Assistant to Germany and Reach the World Traveler (left), with a friend

In partnership with Reach the World (RTW), the Fulbright U.S. Student Program is publishing a series of articles written by Fulbright English Teaching Assistants participating in Reach the World’s Traveler correspondents program, which through its interactive website, enriches the curriculum of elementary and secondary classrooms (primarily located in New York City but also nationwide) by connecting them to the experiences of volunteer Fulbright English Teaching Assistants (ETAs) and other world travelers who are currently studying and living abroad. 

Where do you consider your home? What are important parts of your home? Can your home change? When I was a kid, I had very clear answers to these questions. My home was 760 Crestwood. It was the brick house with a pine tree out front, my room inside with my stuffed animals and the people who lived there—my family! However, over time my understanding of my “home” changed. First, it changed when my parents divorced and then I had two homes and eventually two great families. It also changed when I decided to go to university over 1,000 miles away from Arizona. But even when my address changed and new people surrounded me, I always felt at home because I always had a community. What is a community? It can mean lots of things, but for me it means being surrounded by people who truly care about you, whether family, friends, teachers, coworkers or roommates.

Until I moved to Germany on a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship, my community always sprung from either my family or my school.  However, when I arrived in Germany, I felt for the first time that I was very alone. I did not know anyone my city, all my coworkers seemed to already have their own friends and, on top of that, I was having a hard time speaking German. It’s much harder to make friends when you are not comfortable speaking their language!

To Taiwan and Beyond!

Lucille Boco

Lucille Boco, 2015-2016, Fulbright English Teaching Assistant to Taiwan

In partnership with Reach the World (RTW), the Fulbright U.S. Student Program is publishing a series of articles written by Fulbright English Teaching Assistants participating in Reach the World’s Traveler correspondents program, which through its interactive website, enriches the curriculum of elementary and secondary classrooms (primarily located in New York City but also nationwide) by connecting them to the experiences of volunteer Fulbright English Teaching Assistants (ETAs) and other world travelers who are currently studying and living abroad. 

 大 家好! (大-Dà,家-jiā,好-hǎo- Hello everyone!) My name is Boco and I’m currently a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Taidong City, in Taiwan. Taiwan is a small island in the Pacific Ocean, north of the Philippines, and south of Japan. The temperature in Taiwan is very hot, so it takes a while to get used to. Especially if, like me, you are used to the cold temperatures of New England.