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Fulbright 2015-16 ETA Narrative Reflection August Edition

Check out the sixth edition of narrative reflection from our 2015-16 English Teaching Assistants (ETAs)!!!!

Elizabeth (Edie) Wilson
is a 2015-16 Fulbright-AMCHAM ETA at Muang Chaliang School in Si Satchanalai, Sukhothai, Thailand where she teaches students in Mattayom 1-Mattayom 5 (Grade 7-Grade 11). She graduated from Hamilton College with a concentration in Anthropology and minors in Economics and Government. Prior to coming to Thailand, Edie worked as a Research Assistant at ICF International studying the effectiveness of US education programs. In her free time, Edie can be found running through the rice fields, writing in her journal, attempting to decipher Thai, drinking green tea, or eating yummy Thai food with fellow teachers. In her narrative, Elizabeth Edie Wilson shares about her gratitude to Thailand and the people who have made it home to her. From large life-changing experiences to tiny nuances, her story portrays how teacher-student relationships are formed in Thailand differently from in the U.S. Close ties with colleagues and students at Muang Chaliang School in Sukhothai Province have given Edie family away from home this year.

Christine Fortner is a 2015-16 Fulbright-AMCHAM ETA at Thaikasikorn Songraw in Si Racha, Chonburi, Thailand. She is from Charlottesville, VA and graduated from Elon University a year ago with a degree in Education. Christine loves to travel and explore and has been to 6 continents. In her free time, she enjoys making new friends, running, and exploring the beautiful beaches around Chonburi. After Fulbright, she plans to move to Washington DC and pursue a career that makes a lasting impact on the world of education. In her reflection,
she describes how selfies help break down the walls put up by language—they help create connections and make Thai people feel more comfortable around her as a farang. The story explains how selfies and social media allow Christine’s Thai friends to really open up despite their differences. After all, they all love a good selfie!

Meg Ziegler is from Rhode Island and graduated from the University of Vermont last spring. She majored in Secondary Education with an English concentration and minored in Special Education, all of which did little to prepare her for the amazing and challenging experience that is teaching English as a foreign language. Meg is a 2015-2016 Fulbright-AMCHAM ETA at Ban Phai Pittayakom School in the Khon Kaen province in northeastern Thailand. This year in Thailand has given Meg new friends, a wealth of elephant knowledge, a much higher spice tolerance, and an expanded worldview, something she hopes to bring to future studies in either education policy or education law. In this reflection, she describes answers—that can’t be put in one simple sentence—to the question “How was Thailand?” The story gives an insight into the beauty of nature in the country and the cultural experience that opened her eyes to a new part of the world.

Polly Woodbury is a #Khmerican born and raised in Tacoma, Washington. She recently graduated from Western Washington University with a double major in Psychology and Communication Studies, and a double minor in Political Science and Diversity in Higher Education. Polly is a 2015-16 Fulbright-AMCHAM ETA at Yangtaladwittayakarn School, Kalasin province in northeastern Isaan Thailand. In her free time, Polly enjoys traveling and exploring as much of Southeast Asia as possible, especially in her mother’s homeland of Cambodia. She is passionate about working with the immigrants and displaced communities, especially those suffering from war trauma.  After Fulbright, Polly hopes to live in Cambodia to study the Khmer language and intern at a mental health clinic before applying to graduate programs. In this reflection, she shares about her internship with Borderless Friendship Foundation (BFF), which holds some of her fondest memories of Thailand. Her internship experience went beyond volunteering at the organization as she gained a Thai family, friends, and memories for a lifetime.


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