Two Emmanuel students, Johanna Salisbury '15 and Hilary Skov '15, both recently were named Fulbright U.S. Student Grant recipients. Salisbury will work as an English Teaching Assistant (ETA) in Andorra and Skov will work as an ETA in Indonesia. The awards mark the first year Emmanuel has had two winners, and the fifth-consecutive year the College has had a recipient.
The ETA program places Fulbrighters in classrooms abroad to provide assistance to the local English teachers for non-native English speakers. In this role, ETAs help teach the English language while serving as cultural ambassadors for the United States. The age and academic level of the students varies by country, ranging from kindergarten to university level.
Salisbury, an English literature major, chose Andorra because it's a multilingual country, with French, Spanish and Catalan being the three most-spoken languages. Salisbury said despite the multiple languages, there is a unity, unlike in Belgium, where she visited previously, that is much more divided along linguistic lines.
"Aside from teaching English, I want to observe the mechanics of the multilingual communities in Andorra, especially in comparison to those in Belgium. I think an understanding of multilingual communities, and the harmonious coexistence of multiple languages and cultures in one community, is particularly relevant, especially given the increasing numbers of speakers of languages other than English in the United States," she said.
She will teach students ages 11 to 18 in a secondary school, "which is a fun, albeit difficult age group." She hopes to read short stories to the children, as well as play with them, to focus on getting each student more comfortable speaking. The Emmanuel senior says she has a considerable amount of experience in learning languages, and she believes the most effective way to teach a new language is to make grammar lessons fun and interactive.
Salisbury has been in contact with a current Fulbright ETA in Andorra, who told her the country can be difficult to teach in because many places don't have good resources for English teachers; however, she is keeping optimistic about her placement.
"It's going to be a challenge, but I think I'm prepared for it," Salisbury said.
After traveling abroad to Indonesia her junior year, Skov, who is completing an Individualized major in health and rehabilitation science, fell in love with the country's people, culture, food and environment - that's why she chose to go back to teach English. While her first trip was to Bali, she anticipates her Fulbright placement will be in an area less saturated with Western culture.
On her previous visit, she stayed with three host families who made her feel at home by teaching her how to cook traditional food, carve masks, weld silver, dance and how to pronounce difficult worlds.
"The people were so unbelievably warm and welcoming," Skov said. "What struck me especially, though, was their curiosity about my life in America. In addition to teaching me, they genuinely wanted to learn from me. It was a very unique and rewarding bond and I can't wait to return and continue learning from them."
Along with teaching, Skov will work with Yayasan Wisma Cheshire and Yayasan Cipta Mandiri, two organizations that focus on increasing the accessibility of employment and educational skills for individuals with disabilities. When she visited Indonesia previously, she noticed the mental and physical barriers people with disabilities face in the country on daily basis. On her own daily commute, Skov would witness a woman carry her elementary school-aged son everywhere because he was paralyzed from the waist down, and the family could not afford a wheelchair. However, she said the unpaved roads and broken sidewalks make it difficult to even use a wheelchair for those fortunate enough to own one.
"I hope to work to de-stigmatize disability and increase individual levels of self-efficacy. Of course, this is not a quick-fix, but I look forward to doing the best that I can and helping in any way possible," Skov said.