Fulbright ETA, 2017–2018
In March 2016, a friend of mine won an ETA to teach in Malaysia, and though I knew very little about the program, I was envious of his newfound freedom to engage in professional pursuits across the world. I eagerly applied the next year, looking forward to such an experience. While the opportunity to teach abroad has been important to me, I also came to Poland because of an interest in entrepreneurial education and support. Poland had gone through a uniquely successful education reform in 1999 and, at the time of my application, the country was in an interesting place culturally, educationally and economically as a result.
My time on the ground here has exceeded my wildest expectations. My students are amazing. They’ve openly taught me Polish cultural norms and eagerly engaged in discussions comparing and contrasting our two cultures across entertainment, politics, and sport. I’ve also had the freedom outside the classroom to research a topic of personal interest to me: teaching entrepreneurial skills and financing new businesses in poor + rural areas. The Fulbright name has given me access to informational interviews and conferences throughout Europe that have exponentially broadened my network, exposed me to creative lessons I can bring back to the US to more effectively create impact through my non-profit, and offered numerous opportunities for self-reflection, growth and a deeper understanding of what matters most to me.