Isabel Floyd ’20 Selected for New Fulbright Program in Taiwan
The recent NYU Shanghai global writing and speaking fellow will teach English in Hualien as part of a new program designed to help Taiwan reach its goal of becoming a bilingual nation by 2030.
Isabel Floyd ’20 has been teaching ever since they were a student. While at Haverford, the philosophy major and computer science minor served as a teaching assistant both on campus and during their semester abroad in Belgium and mentored students in the College’s Writing Center. Since graduation, Floyd has been a global writing and speaking fellow at NYU Shanghai, where they provided academic support and enrichment to students. Floyd will have a class of their own, now that they have been selected for a Fulbright Taiwan English Teaching Flagship (ETF) Award.
This new award is like the Fulbright’s longstanding English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) Program, which places Fulbrighters in classrooms around the globe to assist local teachers with their English instruction. However, the ETF Program is designed for more experienced teachers, as the Fulbrighters may teach independently or collaboratively with local instructors. The new program was designed to meet the growing demand for English instruction in Taiwan, which aims to be a bilingual nation of Chinese and English speakers by 2030.
“I was so excited to be selected for this program,” said Floyd. “In Shanghai, two other fellows on my program had both done Fulbright Taiwan ETA, and the way that they discussed their experience was what inspired me to apply... I heard all about the striking beauty of Taiwan’s natural landscape, the cultural vibrance and queer-friendly culture, the amazing food, and the welcoming and friendly atmosphere. I heard about how much fun they had working with the kids in their schools, and how they formed meaningful and lasting friendships with their Taiwanese co-teachers. I learned that the Fulbright Taiwan program tends to attract energized and active young people who are passionate about education and eager to connect with the communities they are placed in. These aspects of their experience are all parts of what drew me to apply, and I am so excited to experience Taiwan for myself!”
Floyd will arrive in Taiwan in August for training, and will then begin placement at a yet-to-be-decided elementary or junior high school in Hualien. In addition to their classroom work, Floyd hopes to spend time exploring the islands and hiking the parks and trails, as well as getting to know the local English-language comedy scene—something they immersed themselves in while living in Shanghai.
While their job will be to improve their students’ English, Floyd is also looking forward to continuing their own language study.
“Outside of my work [at NYUSH], I also spent a lot of my time in China learning Chinese,” they said. “During breaks in the university schedule, I took the opportunity to travel from where I was living in Shanghai to a smaller Chinese city to attend an immersive Chinese language school. My Chinese is now intermediate, and I am looking forward to improving and also learning to read traditional characters—China uses simplified characters—while in Taiwan.”
The Fulbright ETF is an 11-month program, and when Floyd returns stateside next summer, they hope to find a job that will utilize the interpersonal communication skills have honed as a teacher—whether or not that job is in a classroom.
“I really value working with students to help them develop their unique voices,” said Floyd. “Teaching work is really energizing and exciting to me, and it is so rewarding to see students grow and know that I was able to help support them along the way.”