About My Time with the Fulbright Program

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During the spring of my Junior year at Hope College I had the privilege and wonderful opportunity to attend Hope’s Washington Honors Semester. In my time interning in the Nations Capitol during 2011 I had met and worked with a wide variety of people and personalities, some of which had seen far more of the world than I had. One of my colleagues frequently gushed about his time as a Fulbright Scholar in India, another, about their time teaching English in Japan. Naturally, I was envious of their wealth of experience and knowledge of different cultures. That same day in February, the Crossroads Program at Hope sent me, and I assume most all Juniors, an email about the opportunities the Fulbright program had to offer in multicultural learning, teaching and professional research. I was instantly entranced and eager to embark upon my own experience.

I had then begun researching a number of countries to travel to and the opportunities given by the Fulbright there. After initially looking into placements in Eastern Europe and Africa, I was then drawn to Southeast Asia purely out of its unparalleled cultural diversity, and looked to it as a place where very few things would be part of my commonplace life in Western Michigan. I viewed the region as a welcome challenge and an unequaled learning experience in as many different kinds of people, cultures, and religions as the world could give. It was then that my attention turned distinctively to Malaysia. My Aunt, who has traveled to the region numerous times, then encouraged me to look into Malaysia as it was a bastion for multicultural life which had a deep need for an English speaking populous, and needed some help in expanding the Fulbright program there. Teaching is certainly something I have developed a passion for during my time at Hope, and Malaysia seemed to be destined to be a place where my passions and hungers met the deep needs of others.

Consequently, I will be serving in an English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) as a representative of the United States in Malaysia from January until November. I am both excited and terribly nervous about this time, but I know that it will serve me in untold ways as I continue to grow and learn, and hopefully; it is my fervent hope, that I may aid many, teach many, foster goodwill, and serve as a positive role model for the United States of America and our values as I serve.

Please feel free to follow me as I embark upon this journey for which I have so long prepared. I will try my hardest, as hard as it may be, to keep you all updated.

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  1. you’ve done such a great job, mike! wish you all the best for the years to come..Kerrie

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