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Noel Ottman '10 sits between statues of Sancho Panza and Don Quixote outside the home of Miguel Cervantes, near Madrid.
Noel Ottman '10 sits between statues of Sancho Panza and Don Quixote outside the home of Miguel Cervantes, near Madrid.

Fulbright Teaching Assistantship Sends Noel Ottman '10 Back to Spain

For Noel Ottman ’10, Spain has become like a second home.

She studied abroad at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid in the spring of ’09, and received a grant from the Center for Peace and Global Citizenship to conduct research for her senior thesis in the country’s national archives. In addition, she has taken a class on contemporary Spain with Assistant Professor of Spanish Ana Lopez-Sanchez.

Next year, Ottman, a double major in history and Spanish and a Kafker Family Scholarship recipient, will return to Madrid with a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship. She’ll teach in a secondary school bilingual program, and give presentations to her students about the United States and American culture.

Ottman has always been intrigued by Spain’s history and identity as a part-European, part-Arabic country. “Being an English teaching assistant and a sort of cultural ambassador is particularly interesting to me, because at the moment Spain is becoming home to people from many different cultures, such as sub-Saharan Africa and Morocco,” she says. “This is a time in Spain where fostering intercultural understanding is vital—even if I may be helping to build relations between America and Spain, I feel that in general challenging stereotypes and exposing young people to different cultural outlooks is important.”

Besides teaching, Ottman would like to build on her past volunteer work with women’s health issues. “This is a hot topic in Spain right now, as the morning-after pill was just recently allowed to be sold at pharmacies,” she says. She also wants to continue her academic research at the country’s archives, and explore Madrid’s vibrant art scene.

In the future, Ottman would like to attend medical school or obtain a master’s degree in public health, so she can provide care to U.S. immigrant populations. “But that all may change if I discover that I love teaching!” she says.

-Brenna McBride

Prof. Anita Isaacs (Political Science) and students cross Founders Green after class.

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