Q&A with Walleska Lantigua '08, Fulbright Scholar
Walleska Lantigua ‘08, Fulbright Scholar
Q: How will you be using your Fulbright?
Walleska: Professionally, I will be teaching English as a second language to Korean students as well as working with an orphanage in the city of Cheongju. On a personal level, I will be using my Fulbright grant to promote intercultural understanding and dispel misconceptions and stereotypes about Americans and the United States. I will use these experiences to advance my goal of bridging cultural gaps.
Q: Why did you choose this particular country/program?
Walleska: I discovered South Korea through Pace University’s Model United Nations. Through my research, I became enthralled by South Korea’s rich history in civic and political engagement as well as its commitment to international peace. Korea has overcome a turbulent history and has responded by establishing cooperative relations with neighboring and distant countries. Fundamentally, I found a common thread between Korea’s situation and my own struggles as a first-generation American. I chose to apply for the Fulbright Teaching Assistantship Program because I want to help open doors for children. For me, teaching children English signifies providing global opportunities, promoting intercultural acceptance and giving them a better understanding of the international realm.
Q: What do you hope to gain from the experience?
Walleska: I hope to gain a deeper understanding of Korean culture and language as well as a wider perspective on the global community. I also hope to learn from my students: just as I will be teaching my students English, I will look to them to assist me in my transition to become a member of their society. Finally, I have a vested interest in enriching the lives of children living in orphanages. I hope to improve their lives and support orphaned youth in any way that I can
Q: What is your advice to students who might be considering applying for a Fulbright?
Walleska: I strongly encourage students who are considering the Fulbright Program to begin working on their application as soon as possible. The personal statement and the statement of proposal will undergo many revisions before they will be ready for submission. I advise students to find a professor who can work closely with them during this revision process. The application process may seem difficult in the beginning, but after the October deadline, it is just a matter of waiting. I began working on my Fulbright application the summer before my senior year. Those few months of dedication are well worth the year that I will spend teaching in South Korea.