Meghan Wingate '17 Receives Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Award
The political science major and environmental studies minor will spend next year teaching in an elementary school in La Rioja, Spain.
At Haverford, you will find Meghan Wingate '17 working on the Haverfarm, cooking in Ehaus (the sustainability-focused community house), and playing with the Sneetches Ultimate team. But after her May graduation, you will find the political science major and environmental studies minor 3600 miles away, in an elementary school classroom in La Rioja, Spain.
Wingate was selected for a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) Award, which places exceptional American graduates abroad to provide assistance to local English-language teachers and to act as cultural ambassadors for the U.S. She will spend next year in an elementary school in La Rioja, teaching English and assisting in other subjects ranging from social studies and science to art and technology.
"I have always been interested in working with children, learning new languages, and traveling," says Wingate. "During winter and summer breaks [from Haverford], I've worked as a substitute teacher and have appreciated the joy, imagination, and silliness that I've found in the classroom. I think teaching has been some of the most challenging and rewarding work that I've done, and I'm really excited for the opportunity to delve more fully into the role next year, while being in a completely new environment."
The Vermont native began studying Spanish when she arrived at Haverford, and spent a semester abroad in Ecuador improving her skills during junior year. But now she's eager to further her language study, while educating small children about her own language.
The award will fund Wingate's travel to and from Spain, health insurance, and housing and incidentals. With a teaching load that is limited to 16 hours per week, Fulbright ETAs are also asked to propose a community engagement project to enact during their time abroad. Wingate is hoping to either start a community garden or work with an already existing one—either at her school or in a local town.
"I'm hoping to relate my interest in teaching to my other interests in the environment, agriculture, and food access, which I've studied while at Haverford," says Wingate, whose senior thesis is about food-sovereignty movements. "I've found that gardening, cooking, and almost anything involving food is a great way to meet new people, get to know a community, and connect, even with language barriers."