Rose Sybrant, Augsburg Masters of Education student served as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Ecuador from 2012-2013. She is now using her Spanish skills to teach 5th grade at at Robbinsdale Spanish Immersion School. Fulbright does not require teaching experience, but for those majoring in education, it is a great way to get experience abroad!
How did you decide to apply for a Fulbright? What interested you about the program?
I was interested in an opportunity to travel and teach abroad. I had heard of the Fulbright program and knew that my participation in the program would help me in my future career. Having studied abroad as a high school student, I also knew that living in another culture provides experiences that cannot be matched here at home!
What are some of the most meaningful lessons you learned from your year as a Fulbrighter?
I learned to be flexible, take things as they come and be open to new experiences. While my time in Ecuador certainly had its ups and downs, I wasn’t afraid to try new things and that made my time richer and much more beneficial. I met lots of different people, many of whom I am still in contact with to this day.
How did you change or grow from the experience?
I learned a lot about Ecuador, the culture, its education system and had the chance to improve my Spanish. I now teach in a Spanish immersion school – I would not be here if not for the Fulbright program!
The Fulbright program is designed to be an inter-cultural exchange. How did you get to know those in your community? How did you learn about your host country and its culture?
During my first several months in Cuenca, Ecuador, I lived in a boarding house for college students. I got to know a lot about student life there. I think it can be easy to live with other Americans, but you don’t learn as fast as if you live with a family or in a boarding house like I did. I worked with the Foreign Languages department at the University of Cuenca where I taught English classes and became acquainted with the faculty there.
I learned about Ecuador and its culture simply by participating it. I attended holiday parties and other celebrations at the boarding house. I went to festivals with friends, I tried everything (except for guinea pig, I admit it).
I am a big knitter and I also joined a cross-cultural knitting group. I just found people knitting in a cafe one day and asked if I could join! There were Canadian, American, and Ecuadorian knitters in the group. It was a lot of fun.
What are you doing now? What are your plans for the future?
I am known as Sra. Sybrant at Robbinsdale Spanish Immersion School. I teach fifth grade and my plan is to keep doing so for as long as they will let me! I am a graduate student at Augsburg, I obtained my teaching license in Elementary Education and Middle School Math in January 2014. I plan on finishing my master’s degree during the next school year.
What advice would you give to a current Augsburg student who is considering applying to Fulbright?
My advice is to go for it! The application process is long, but for such a life-changing opportunity, it was totally worth it! I learned a lot about myself while applying and even more during my amazing experience.
To learn more about Fulbright, join us at our Information lunch today, March 27th at 12:30 in Lindell 301!