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Bard Seniors Win 2008 Fulbright English Teaching Assistantships in Korea and Russia

Jennifer Wai-Lan Huang
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—Bard College seniors Siobhan Churchill of Acton, Massachusetts, and Abigail Weil of Cleveland, Ohio, have won prestigious Fulbright English Teaching Assistantships (ETA) in Korea and Russia respectively. Churchill will spend just over a year living with a host family and teaching conversational English to middle and high school students in Korea. Weil will spend 10 months teaching conversational English and American culture to students in Russian schools and universities. Both Churchill and Weil plan to pursue independent language study while abroad.

Churchill, an Asian studies major who has studied Chinese for four years and Japanese for two and a half years at Bard, became interested in the Korean ETA program because it is difficult for foreigners to find teaching placement in Korean schools. “With a Fulbright ETA in Korea, you are directly involved with the community, living with a host family, working with teachers and up to a few hundred students,” says Churchill. “If placed in a rural area, you might be the first native English-speaking teacher the school has ever had, and you truly represent America for the whole town. It’s both a daunting and exciting prospect.”

Weil, a Russian studies major who has taken three years of Russian at Bard, plans to use her skills for a career in government, academia, or the arts. “I picked a major that I was passionate about, but was not necessarily practical. The fact that I’ve won this prestigious Fulbright award validates my commitment to pursue Russian and Russian studies,” says Weil.

The Fulbright ETA Program places U.S. students as English teaching assistants in overseas schools. ETA recipients get a monthly stipend, are fully integrated into the host community, and may also pursue individual study/research plans in addition to their teaching responsibilities. The Fulbright ETA Program has grown rapidly over the last two years and is part of the broader Fulbright Program, the flagship international educational exchange program, sponsored by the U.S. government, designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and other countries.

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This event was last updated on 09-05-2008