Michael Brier '17 Earns Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Award
After graduation the English major is headed to Thailand to help teach the English language and serve as a cultural ambassador for the U.S.
Last summer, for nine weeks, Michael Brier '17 taught an 8th-grade writing class at the Breakthrough Collaborative, a pre-professional teacher residency program for undergraduates serving college-aspiring students from under-resourced schools. And he found he loved the challenge.
"Just as I love to learn new concepts and means for communicating in more dynamic ways with broader groups of people, I feel this same joy when providing a new tool-kit to people to express their ideas and stories," says the English major. "As far as I see it, teaching and learning a new language is one of the clearest and best means for doing so."
Brier will get a chance to do both next year as the recipient of a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) Award. He is one of just 25 people selected by the program to teach in either a primary or secondary school in Thailand—specific assignments haven't yet been given out. The Fulbright ETA program places exceptional American graduates in classrooms in more than 70 different countries around the world to provide assistance to local English-language teachers and to act as cultural ambassadors for the United States.
Brier was drawn to Thailand initially because of his passion for Buddhist philosophy and art, but a chat with a family friend from his Scranton, Pa., hometown solidified his interest in the Southeast Asian nation.
"He has lived in Thailand for the past 30 years," says Brier of the pal, "and shared hours of stories and insights from these years. After this conversation, I was absolutely certain that I wanted to live and learn there."
Here at Haverford, Brier has been a four-year member of the cross country and indoor/outdoor track teams and has served as a peer tutor in the Writing Center for two years. He plans to eventually pursue a career in journalism and is excited for the all the stories he will be able to pursue in Thailand.
"I will continue to write, read, and tell stories through various media, so as to build a profile of journalistic accounts and stories—both non-fiction and fiction," he says. "I hope that doing this in an unfamiliar place, so full of inspiring art and stories, will be particularly challenging and edifying."