HWS and the Fulbright Language Teaching Assistant (FLTA) Program have continued a longstanding partnership this year, with the Colleges currently hosting four teaching assistants from around the world. At HWS, the FLTAs share their native language and experiences through seminar classes, weekly conversation groups and engagement in student cultural organizations.
Hiba Amro, from Amman, Jordan, has assisted the Middle Eastern Studies Department as an instructor of Arabic language.
“The main reason I wanted to apply to the Fulbright Program was to help allow American students to deconstruct stereotypes they may have had about Arabic culture,” she says. “Generally speaking, people have been very understanding and accepting of difference. Students here are open-minded, and I appreciate that.”
Amro has been involved with a number of creative writing workshops and the mental health initiative with the Center for Counseling and Student Wellness. Her favorite activities have been cooking for students and hosting themed movie nights to discuss religious and cultural issues.
Yvonne Brieger, who hails from Gelsenkirchen, Germany, is responsible for teaching a course within the German Area Studies Department and offering intensive language labs and classes. In addition, she is involved with the German Club, helping to host coffee hours, biweekly meetings with traditional German snacks, movie nights, as well as cultural presentations.
One of the reasons Brieger elected to enter the Fulbright Program is that she “enjoyed how the American educational system engaged the teachers and students and wanted to experience that from the perspective of a teacher.” As a master’s degree student in her home country, she intends to bring back a sense of mutual understanding.
Lin-Yu Chen, of Taipei, Taiwan, begins the semester at HWS following several months of work at Sierra Nevada College as a multicultural literature teaching assistant, and a career as a teacher in Taiwan before that. At HWS, she has transitioned into a role as a lecturer in classes, and a leader of language tables.
Chen says that she is eager to share her knowledge of the Chinese language and of the politics of her home country.
“Some people believe that Taiwan is part of China, but Taiwan was ceded in 1895, and we have had our own president and political system for decades,” she says. “One of the things I try to do is teach the differences between the two countries.”
Mathias Valiente has lived in both France and Spain and joins the HWS campus as FLTA in French. Highly involved in global politics, Valiente contributes a perspective of critical thought and global citizenry to the HWS community.
Through his experience he hopes to have serious discussions with U.S. citizens about important issues such as the military and the influence of U.S. media across the globe.
“I came here also on the quest of finding people who were different from the image of Americans we were given as Europeans,” Valiente says.
Valiente, in addition to teaching, is enrolled in a class on the American Civil War, which he feels is integral to learning the story of this country.