Senior Lauran Young has been accepted into the highly competitive Fulbright Student Program, a cultural exchange program meant to improve intercultural relations and diplomacy.
Young completed her TESOL major last May and returned this semester to complete a second major in Spanish. Young’s double majors will come in handy as she travels to Nájera, La Rioja, Spain to be an English teaching assistant.
Young will travel to Spain in early January where she will work closely with the staff to plan for different language classes and help teach in either a preschool or elementary classroom. Young said she will be working with the staff to provide excellent English materials and instruction until the program ends in June.
“I was drawn to the Fulbright Program because it is the culmination of two of the things I am most passionate about—education and multiculturalism,” Young said. “This scholarship is built on the foundation of fostering deep cultural awareness and mutual respect through learning in order to create a more understanding and stronger community.”
Young said everyone is a lifelong learner and she cannot wait to not only continue her education as she learns more about Spanish culture but to also have the honor to encourage and assist students in developing their own learning goals and passions.
“I chose Spain because of its vibrant culture and atmosphere,” Young said. “I had no idea how rich Spain’s culture was and having the opportunity to experience it and celebrate many national and local holidays was life changing. I am very excited to learn and experience more there.”
Getting to know the culture and history of Spain is the aspect Young is looking forward to the most. She said she cannot wait to explore the different cities and build connections with people she meets.
While in Spain, Young said she will also work with the host community to establish an after school literacy program with the local library. The goal of the program is to provide educational programs, presentations and other fun activities to engage local students. She hopes to reach out to local businesses and museums to create exciting and engaging educational experiences.
“I cannot wait to get to know my students and build connections with them and the staff at the school,” Young said. “I love teaching and I love students, so to be able to do it in such a beautiful place is incredibly exciting.”
Young said she fell in love with Spain when she studied abroad in Segovia last June heading into her senior year. While abroad, she took a literature and phonetics class and traveled to different cities like Salamanca, Madrid and Toledo.
Young also went on educational tours around each city before exploring the city independently. She said she visited several museums and bookstores, her favorite being the Pablo Picasso museum in Málaga.
In high school, Young studied abroad in Singapore for a semester then traveled to Vietnam and Thailand. With her family, Young has also been to France, Monaco and Italy.
“The best part of traveling is having the opportunity to broaden your horizons and build your own new cultural understanding while creating new relationships that could last a lifetime.”