As noted in our previous post, the Department of Sociology and Anthropologywas pleased to learn that two of our graduating seniors had been awarded Fulbright scholarships for the coming year. The Fulbright program has long endeavored to connect America with the diverse cultures of our world by funding Americans’ time abroad. Indeed, several faculty in the SOAN department began their careers with a Fulbright cultural exchange. We asked Charlotte Parker, one of our two awardees, to tell us a little bit about what the Fulbright award has in store for her. Here’s Charlotte’s response:
大家好！My name is Charlotte and I will be traveling to Taiwan in August of 2018 on a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship (ETA). While in Taiwan I will be living in a city called Changhua (彰化) located in the center of Taiwan. Just an hour away from Taiwan’s two largest cities, I will be living and working in the most densely populated county in Taiwan! I am especially excited to be working in Changhua because this is the first year a Taiwan ETA will be placed there! Although many details are still to come from Fulbright, I will be working alongside a Lead English Teacher (LET) instructing a class of elementary or middle school students. I also plan to maintain a steady diet of bubble tea (which was invented in Taiwan!), spiced tea eggs, and soup dumplings!
I also really value my experiences in the SOAN department at University of Puget Sound. As a SOAN major with a Chinese minor, I spent the last four years learning about the connections between language, culture, and identity. My interests concern linguistic anthropology, where questions regarding how language shapes our interactions and our perceptions of the world are explored. Taking SOAN classes also helped me think critically about my responsibility as a teacher and as a cultural ambassador. I feel very strongly that it is my responsibility to explore how we as anthropologists can work to improve the quality of life for those around us.
In addition to my experience in the SOAN department, I have spent the last four years teaching Spanish and Chinese at a number of local Tacoma and Gig Harbor schools. Because language is my passion, I am very excited to continue sharing this passion with young students. During my time in Taiwan, I hope to gain a better understanding of the Taiwanese education system, and to bring this knowledge back home so that the American education system can continue growing and improving. Additionally, I have spent the last few years training as a marathon runner in Tacoma, and I hope to join a local running team while in Taiwan. If all goes well, I will also run in the Wulai Gorge Marathon in January 2019! I am very much looking forward to this upcoming year and all the experiences to be had during my time in Taiwan!
Charlotte, we’re so very proud of you, and we’ll be in touch again for an update from Taiwan.