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Reach the World Travelers

U.S. Fulbright

Farewell!

May 26, 2016
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Shannon Foss, 2015-2015, Fulbright English Teaching Assistant to Romania

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. 

The end of March marked the end of my sixth month as a Fulbright grantee in Romania, which means that I still have one month left to go. The funny thing is that even though I’ve been here six months, I still feel in many ways like I’m just starting to adjust. It constantly surprises me how many new things I learn, experience or realize every day. I meet new people, hear new stories and even find new things in the grocery store!

This experience so far has been more challenging and rewarding that I ever could have imagined. My classes are nothing like I thought they would be, and a lot of that is because I learned how to adapt to the environment. I tried certain things with my students, learned what worked and what didn’t, and made changes. My teaching is still not perfect. A lot of times I expect things to go one way and then something completely different happens. I have also faced problems I never would have expected, like having issues with my health. However, having to deal with them has made me a more confident person.

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U.S. Fulbright

Time Flies When You’re Having Fun

May 2, 2016
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Kara Witherill, 2015-2016, Fulbright English Teaching Assistant to Germany and Reach the World Traveler

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. 

One thing that never changes, no matter where you are in the world, is how fast time goes by. It was almost exactly a year ago that I found out I had won a Fulbright U.S. Student grant and would be spending this year in Germany teaching English. Now, as I look forward, it’s hard to believe I only have four more months left in Germany and that this is my last journal entry for Reach the World. However, thinking about the passage of time brings me to one of the most important pieces of advice I can give to someone planning on pursuing a Fulbright grant: take it one day at a time.

I cannot emphasize this point enough. When I realized I was going to be leaving behind everything I knew and embarking on this journey in a foreign country, I was very excited, but I was also terrified. Thinking about moving to a foreign country for a year, especially one that speaks a different language is scary. When you think about the fact that you won’t see your friends or family for months, it can be sad. When you think about trying to find a place to live, navigating a new lifestyle and making new friends, it can be daunting. However, I’ve learned that instead of thinking about all those things at once and totally freaking myself out, I need to think about these things one day at a time.

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U.S. Fulbright

Learning About Diversity in Malaysia

April 19, 2016
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Kacy Rauschenberger, 2015-2016, Fulbright ETA to Malaysia and Reach the World Traveler (right)

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. 

During my eight weeks in Malaysia on a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship, I have been thinking a lot about the meaning of the word “diversity.” In the United States, we consider our society to be a diverse “melting pot” of all types of races, religions, cultures, and ethnicities. This means it is common for people in the U.S. to identity with multiple cultures and countries. For example, my roommate Carlina is Chinese-American. Both of Carlina’s parents are from China but she is a first generation American citizen because she was born in the U.S. Carlina’s first language was English but she can also speak Mandarin Chinese with her parents and grandparents. Carlina is an American citizen but she practices traditions from American and Chinese cultures! Can you think of anyone you know in the U.S. that can speak another language or whose parents are from another country?

Diversity in Malaysia, however, does not mean the same thing that it does in the U.S. There are only three main ethnic groups in Malaysia: Malay, Chinese, and Indian.  Even though Malaysia considers itself to be a diverse country, these three ethnic groups do not often mix in society. In many cases, there are separate schools for all three of these groups based on the language or religion that each cultural group speaks or practices.

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