29 March 2015

Thesis blues? Here's FULBRIGHT NEWS

Hi everyone,

I heard back from Fulbright:
I received a Fulbright ETA. I can't even. How? HOW?

First, if you don't know what Fulbright is, here is a link to their website: 

    This is still sinking in, but I'll try to at least explain why I applied for this. While on a LC program in Seville, Spain, I tutored English to a 12 year old boy named Eduardo, and I learned so much about Spanish culture from our short classes. I'd ask Eduardo to tell me about his day, just a typical day at school, and what he liked to do on the weekends. He would talk about soccer practice, how he was looking forward to the summer holidays, and we would tease each other because I was still learning Spanish and he thought his English was better than my Spanish (it was-- he was a quick little booger). Teaching him was fun, and I realized that I missed it when I came back to Portland. Also, I felt like my summer service job was slowly sucking away all the sincerity out of human interaction. ssssssss

    I started volunteer tutoring ESL (English as a Second Language) in SE Portland, and had incredible students, most of them adult immigrants and refugees. I learned about why people come to the US and the resources that are available to them here. Also, it turns out that language and literacy are important. Teaching ESL led me to the very personal revelation that not everyone grows up with their parents reading Harry Potter to them at night.
       Some people are raised in a refugee camp and then come to the US, sit through high school ESL in complete culture shock, and then take free English classes from ignorant people like me. And, it turns out that any little bit of progress they make in class is such an astoundingly important little bit. Then, that student changes their teacher's life, making her want to understand language and how it can change other people's lives. It's really hard to articulate this. 

Too many words. Now here's a photo of my cute housemates being cute:


    Anyway, I have a lot of reasons for wanting to teach in English in Colombia, a country with millions of internal refugees but also AMAZING authors and poets and a rich literary culture. I didn't think that Fulbright was really an option because it is has a capital F for Fulbright and a very leggy legacy (idk I'm writing this late at night sorry), but I spent a few weekends drafting my application essays and working with LC Fulbright advisors because I couldn't not try. Dreams come true sometimes. Dream is a cheesy, cheesy, yet accurate word for this news. 

     It was a long application process that happened through most of October, and I was already making plans to stay in Portland because it would have been ridiculous to not make other plans. But now I have the news, and I am going to go on a big fat adventure after graduation. HELP my life isn't real.

I just want to point out too, that I'm lucky  LC has a great reputation of student's receiving Fulbrights: Go LC!

If you have any questions about college, Lewis & Clark, or just want to talk, I'm here:
marissaburke@lclark.edu