UNH Senior Receives Fulbright to Teach in Colombia

UNH Senior Receives Fulbright to Teach in Colombia

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Nicole Chartier, a senior linguistics major, has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) at the District University of Bogotá in Columbia.

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is the largest U.S. educational and cultural exchange program, offering opportunities for students to engage in international graduate study, advanced research in foreign countries, and English language teaching worldwide.

Colombia looks for students who have Spanish language ability; academic backgrounds in fields like English, education, or linguistics; and some teaching or tutoring experience. In addition to her coursework in linguistics and Spanish, Chartier completed a tutor-training program through the UNH Manchester Center for Academic Enrichment, where she has worked for the past three years and teaches with the English as a Second Language (ESOL) bridge program.

“Nicole has been an integral part of my classroom 'team' for the last several semesters,” said Dot Sherman, adjunct professor of English at UNHM. “As the class link tutor for my Introduction to College Composition class, Nicole has helped first-year students in every stage of the writing process. She gets to know each student on an individual basis and is, therefore, able to assist them at point of need.”

Teaching for most Fulbright ETAs is less than 40 hours a week, so students are encouraged to interact with local communities outside the classroom. Because of her academic interests and plans to attend graduate school in sociolinguistics, Chartier’s application described her plans to research bilingual communities in Colombia. As she noted in her application essay, the Colombian Ministry of Education implemented the National Bilingual Programme in 2004 to promote Spanish-English bilingualism for the growing global market; Chartier hopes to “investigate how this program is influencing the use of English in Colombia.” Chartier has also been invited to get involved in research being conducted by Judy Sharkey, associate professor education at UNH, and her Colombian counterparts, who are investigating the role of community-based pedagogies in language teacher education.

The Fulbright program, which has been in existence since 1946, encourages applications from a diverse range of students, especially those who have less experience traveling or studying abroad. “This is very exciting for me because I am interested in other cultures’ perspectives, and I haven’t yet had the opportunity to experience that,” Chartier said. “Without Fulbright, I wouldn’t be able to travel or live abroad for this length of time.”

Chartier noted the support provided by the university’s Office of National Fellowships for students, from providing information about available opportunities to help with interviews.

Eleven undergraduate students from UNH competed in the Fulbright competition this year, with four advancing as finalists. Two students were named alternates, which means they may still be offered an award if a recipient declines or additional funds become available.

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. The program operates in over 155 countries worldwide.

Established in 2005, the UNH Office of National Fellowships provides information, counsel, and editorial support to high achieving students applying for national and international fellowships and scholarships. The services of the Fellowships Office are available to undergraduates, graduate students, and alumni. Contact Jeanne Sokolowski at (603) 862-0733 or jeanne.sokolowski@unh.edu or visit http://www.unh.edu/fellowships-office/