Central Michigan University senior Amanda Jackson was recently awarded a nationally competitive Fulbright Grant for a teaching assistantship in Mexico. The Fulbright Program grants 1,900 U.S. citizens the opportunity to teach, conduct research and provide expertise abroad for the length of an entire academic year.
Two years ago, Jackson completed a Learning About Mexican Education Through Action education internship at the Tecnologico de Monterrey in Queretaro, Mexico. This experience helped her become more fluent and encouraged her to apply for the grant.
"The Fulbright is an exchange of cultures and learning about one another," Jackson, a Spanish major from Oak Harbor, Washington, said. "This time in Mexico, I'm going as a professional. I'll be teaching English as an assistant in an English-speaking program anywhere from K-12 to college or I could even help English teachers teach English."
While she does not yet know where she is placed, she is looking forward to sharing her U.S. culture and language with her students.
"I felt like I always wanted to be a teacher," she said. "When I came to CMU, the Spanish education program piqued my interest and the culture of Mexico inspired me to learn the language. I have so much praise for the world language department at CMU."
Earning a Fulbright
Maureen Harke, the coordinator of the National Scholarship Program at CMU, says the Fulbright Program is not limited to any specific fields and operates in more than 140 countries.
"Fulbright is for students who have an appreciation for cultural differences," Harke said. "The focus of the program is to build mutual understanding between people in the United States and people of other countries."
The National Scholarship Program at CMU nominates students to compete for nationally and internationally prestigious awards such as the Fulbright U.S. Student Grants. A campus committee interviews applicants to assess their fit with the proposed country and grant, and provides a written evaluation which is included in the students' applications, Harke said. Recipients are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement, as well as record of service and demonstrated leadership in their respective fields.