Fulbright Takes Purdue Graduate to Colombia
Sharon Smith has been in Bogotá, Colombia for six weeks with a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship grant. Since she returned from Mexico in 2010 after a 15 month study abroad program, her goal was to win a Fulbright ETA grant to Colombia. She says, "I was ecstatic when I found out that I had realized one of my long-term dreams. I graduated from Purdue this past May with dual degrees in Elementary Education and Spanish... "
Fulbright placed Sharon in Bogotá in the Universidad Católica de Colombia (Catholic University of Colombia), a small, private university where she spends 20 hours a week. She visits 25 English classes a week in addition to office hours and a conversation club for professors from different departments.
An ETA grant is unique in its social service component, through which grantees are required to volunteer for 20 hours a week at organizations of their choice. Sharon says, "Because of some wonderful connections with the Colombia-Purdue Institute for Advanced Scientific Research, I am working two days a week at the Ministry of Education, and volunteering another day at a school/ foundation for children from low-income neighborhoods that surround the school. I am growing professionally and personally through this experience. " She adds, "I am so thankful that Purdue helped prepare me for this opportunity through its different course, faculty, and especially study abroad programs. I feel very lucky to be able to experience the 'real' Colombia: a country extremely diverse in every sense, rich in culture, and full of welcoming people who have made this a positive experience for me."