Passion for study abroad leads to Fulbright award

Recent CMU graduate will teach English as a second language in Thailand

| Author: Ari Harris

Katherine Pulaski, a 2021 Central Michigan University graduate and Swartz Creek, Michigan, native, received a Fulbright grant to travel to Thailand as a teaching assistant for English as a second language.

When she first arrived at CMU, Pulaski did not know which path to follow for her studies, so she registered for a wide range of classes. A Buddhism class sparked Pulaski's passion for cultural studies and ethnographic research.

"Ethnographic research is a form of research where you go and live in an environment and you build a strong relationship with the people who you want to understand more," she said. "You immerse yourself in their environment, and it helps you understand different aspects of the culture."

Pulaski chose majors in anthropology and public and nonprofit administration to build upon her interests. She took her passion for travel to the Study Abroad office, where she completed an internship and completed a study abroad trip in Thailand. She described the experience as life changing.

"Studying abroad altered everything. It changed the way I saw the world, what I wanted to do and how I thought about things," Pulaski said.

Now, she lives for the adventure of immersing herself into a new environment and culture to understand how these two factors are woven together. Making connections and promoting understanding among cultures have been the most rewarding parts of her studies, she said.

Pulaski is now preparing for her travels to Thailand and has dreams of pursuing a doctoral degree in anthropology in the years ahead. She is particularly interested in a career in the nonprofit sector working with refugee populations.

"The opportunity to teach English and be engaged in a classroom in another country will be transformational," she said. "I am not sure how it will change or affect me yet, but I am really excited to find out."

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program provides grants for students for study and research projects abroad, as well as English teaching assistant programs. Fulbright recipients are able to live with and learn from people across the world in over 140 countries.

Students interested in applying for funded international opportunities for graduate study can go to the CMU National Scholarship Program page.

This story was written by University Communications intern Caroline Kramer.

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