Yoo Jin Lee '08 Awarded Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship
Yoo Jin Lee '08 has always wanted to experience Korea, her parents' homeland. Now, thanks to the Fulbright Program, she's getting her wish.
Lee is the recipient of a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship (ETA), which will send her to rural Korea to teach conversational English to middle school children during the 2008-09 academic year. She will also live with a Korean family as part of her cultural experience.
Unlike the Fulbright“Full Grant,” which involves research and study at a university abroad, the Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship is a half-time job as an assistant to an English teacher, usually at the primary or secondary level. At least one Haverford student has been awarded an ETA every year since 2002.
“The Fulbright is an amazing opportunity for me to live and teach for a year abroad in Korea,” she says.“I'm so excited about getting to know Korea in a much deeper way, because I'll be there for a year as opposed to visiting for a week or two.” She looks forward to traveling throughout the country, visiting family members in Seoul, and also taking side trips to Japan and China:“I'm not sure when else I'd be able to go see these amazing places.”
Lee applied for the Fulbright not only because of her desire to visit Korea, but also to provide a valuable service for children who might not have the opportunity to learn English otherwise. The fellowship lasts for a year, but Lee can apply for an extension of up to two more years of teaching if she so chooses. The history major hasn't yet decided what she'll do when the assistantship ends; she may apply to law school or seek writing and editing jobs.“I'm keeping an open mind,” she says,“because I might go to Korea and realize I'm passionate about teaching.”
Lee will leave for Korea in July, in time to attend a six-week orientation program which includes a crash course in the Korean language.“Since this is my first time going abroad, I'm pretty nervous,” she says,“but mostly excited because I'm sure it's going to be a great learning experience. I know there will be challenges to overcome, but I feel confident that it will ultimately be worthwhile.”