Naomi Kalombo ’22 Wins Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Award
The linguistics major will spend next year in Luxembourg teaching English in the tiny, multilingual nation, where she also hopes to learn French.
Language inquiry is fundamental for Naomi Kalombo ‘22. At Haverford, she explores it as a linguistics major. She lived it growing up in a multilingual household where Lingala, Swahili, and French were spoken. And now, as the recipient of a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) Award, she will be passing that passion on to others, helping to teach English in the small European nation of Luxembourg next year.
The ETA Program places Fulbrighters in classrooms abroad to provide assistance to local English teachers. ETAs help teach English language while serving as cultural ambassadors for the U.S. Kalombo is one of only four awardees selected for placement in Luxembourg by the program next year. She doesn’t yet know where she will be living or teaching, but she could be placed in a classroom in primary or secondary school or in a university.
She was interested in Luxembourg in particular because, though it is only 998 square miles large, it is home to people of many nationalities and has three administrative languages: French, German, and Luxembourgish. Kalombo is eager to learn French in such an immersive environment.
“I applied to the Fulbright ETA Program because I wanted a chance to explore a different country before heading off to law school,” she said. “I have a lot of experience teaching and tutoring so it made sense to apply to the ETA. … Growing up in a multiple-lingual and multicultural household, Luxembourg reminded me of home.”
In addition to being a teaching assistant for a “Sociolinguistics” class and tutoring elementary- and high school-age students, Kalombo has been a four-year member of the Quaker Bouncers, Haverford’s unique, student-run campus-party monitoring program, which she helped run this year. She has also been a member of the Black Students’ League, the Pre-Law Society, and the College’s first step team, Iconic, for which she served as treasurer. She aims to be equally involved with her local community in Luxembourg, where she is hoping to host a storytelling club in addition to her duties in the classroom.
“I grew up hearing stories from my parents, from books, and from the people around me,” she said. “They positively influenced my life. I want to share that with other people, and Luxembourg seems like the best place to do that because of its diversity and its strong tie to its history.”