The Collegian
Monday, August 08, 2022

Fulbright grants awarded to five teaching abroad, six others awaiting decision

Four students and one professor at the University of Richmond have been awarded Fulbright grants to teach abroad in the countries of Spain, Indonesia, Taiwan and Sierra Leone next year.

The four accepted students are: Kyle Bell for Spain, Aaron Daugherty for Indonesia, and John Calhoun and Jill Eisenberg for Taiwan. All four were awarded Bachelor's English Teaching Assistantships, which last between nine months and a year.

In addition, six other students who applied have been recommended for the next phase of competition through Fulbright, said Amy Bergmann, a study abroad advisor in the Office of International Education who also helps organize the interviews with Fulbright and advise the students.

As of late last week, six other students were waiting for the final decision, but none had been turned down, Bergmann said.

Lauren Grewe for Bangladesh, Kate Simma for Ecuador and Peru, and Rebecca Walker for Egypt applied for the Bachelor's English Teaching Assistantship as well.

The other three recommended applicants were: Ethan Long for Spain for a Bachelor's of Linguistics, Melissa Pham for Vietnam for a Bachelor's of Public Health and William Goodyear for Egypt for a Bachelor's of Modern History.

The professor, Jimmy Kandeh, associate professor of Political Science, received a grant to teach in his native country of Sierra Leone. Kandeh will spend the year teaching democratization and state building.

Since the country's 10-year civil war ended, citizens of Sierra Leone have seen two elections and a peaceful change of government. Kandeh will teach students about the politics of cultural pluralism and subaltern politics. He chose this subject matter because he wanted his students to become more confidently involved in the politics of the country, and because of his previous research in these areas.

During the year, Kandeh said he wanted to continue his research. In 2004, he published his book, "Coups from below: Armed subalterns and state power in West Africa." Kandeh said he wished to focus his work next year on Sierra Leone. He said he hoped that this work would be a way to make a contribution, as an academic, to the country's work.

Although the four Richmond students have less teaching experience, they said they were excited about the opportunity to live abroad. The students will receive training to teach English to mostly secondary school students, but the details for the program in each country are different.

Each had his or her own reasons for embarking on the lengthy application process and taking on the challenges to come. Kyle Bell said he was excited by the prospect of returning to Spain.

Bell studied abroad in Bilbao, a small city in northern Spain near the French border. He has taken Spanish language courses since high school and maintained a fervent interest in the language.

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For Aaron Daugherty, the decision to apply was also inspired by studying abroad. Daugherty said he saw this as an amazing opportunity to re-enter the travel culture. He said he became an avid traveler while abroad, seeing as many new places as possible and heard much about Southeast Asia.

Placed in Indonesia, Daugherty will be able to live in a new country and travel throughout the region. He said he was also attracted to the region's biodiversity and wanted to look at the different species in the region.

But these students will gain more than personal experience. As grantees of the Fulbright program, participants will be expected to help open the lines of communication with their host countries. The program seeks to improve relations between the United States and other countries by increasing personal exchanges.

These Fulbright teachers are seen as conduits for improving foreign relations with the countries they visit. The program began after former Sen. J. William Fulbright passed legislation to better international relations in 1946.

Today, the Fulbright Program is administered through the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs under the Department of State. The program sends students, scholars and teachers from the United States and abroad to teach and engage in international dialogue.

Contact staff writer Amelie LeBreton at amelie.lebreton@richmond.edu

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