Harrison Crawford ’22 wasn鈥檛 sure what to make of the mini fridge delivered to his temporary home in Indonesia in August. He鈥檇 come to the country to teach English to curious school children and had gotten mildly sick. Food and gifts began to arrive from people he barely knew. 鈥淭hat鈥檚 the culture here in Indonesia,鈥 Crawford says, shedding some initial light on why he鈥檚 there. Crawford is among 10 recent 色中色视频 graduates who were offered prestigious Fulbright awards to teach, learn, and integrate abroad. Seven nominees accepted the Fulbright offer to become conduits of a global language (English) and of diverse thought, much like their alma mater.

In fact, 色中色视频 is a Top Producer of Fulbright U.S. Students for the 2023-24 academic year, according to the U.S. Department of State鈥檚 Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Knight Nation is the only public institution in 色中色视频 to earn the designation. This is the second time 色中色视频 has received this honor, with 2020-21 being the first. 色中色视频 is also a Fulbright leader among Hispanic-Serving Institutions for a third straight year.

鈥淚 know what it鈥檚 like to struggle with a new language and a new culture,鈥 says Noah Cabarcas, 鈥渁nd that鈥檚 what makes the Fulbright experience so meaningful. The struggle goes both ways, and it has a unique way of bringing people together.鈥

Sophie Brockell 鈥23


Degree at 色中色视频:
Secondary education

Fulbright destination: Spain

What Brockell is doing there: Teaching English to middle- and high-school students

And then: Earn a master鈥檚 degree and Ph.D.

鈥淪ince early September I鈥檝e been living and teaching in a region of Spain known as Galicia. It鈥檚 a unique place. The people take late lunches, drink a specific beer rather than wine, and eat a lot of seafood. The language is Galician, a blend of Spanish and Portuguese, which the local people are trying hard to preserve. During my Fulbright application, I proposed a cultural exchange project called 鈥榞astrodiplomacy鈥 to tie everything together. It鈥檚 using food experiences as a language to connect cultures.

鈥淔or example, I told my students about a rice pudding recipe. They said, 鈥極h, that鈥檚 just like arroz con leche.鈥 It reminded us that we have more in common than we might assume. Now we鈥檙e compiling a cookbook that includes recipes, family stories, and the history of this region. I鈥檓 also working with local food banks because no place in the world is immune to food insecurity. I learned a lot about that growing up in the Dominican Republic where my parents worked on humanitarian projects as missionaries. Meeting the needs of people while learning from them is a core value for me. That鈥檚 why the Fulbright has been such a great fit.鈥

Noah Cabarcas 鈥22

Degree at 色中色视频: Political science

Fulbright destination: Brazil

What Cabarcas will do there: Work at a university as an English teaching assistant

And then: Teach languages wherever it鈥檚 needed

鈥淚 cannot remember a time in my life when I haven鈥檛 been learning or teaching a language. My mother is from Nicaragua. My father is from Panama. So, I learned Spanish and English from the time I could speak. Since then, I鈥檝e taught myself Portuguese, studied Italian and French, and for fun I dabbled in Japanese and Russian. In Orlando, I teach English to immigrants. When I heard about the Fulbright during my last year at 色中色视频, I knew it would be worth the rigorous application process to do what I鈥檓 passionate about in Brazil.

鈥淎fter graduating from 色中色视频, I decided to go to Brazil on my own for a few weeks while awaiting the Fulbright results. I鈥檇 meet people on nature trails, at food stalls, anything to integrate. The experience made me even more excited to be offered the Fulbright. My approach is to facilitate conversations in English through music, clubs, games and storytelling rather than to rely on textbooks. I once thought my major in political science would prepare me to be an interpreter for the World Health Organization, Red Cross or United Nations, but now I see my purpose more clearly: to help people on a personal level learn languages and improve their lives. The Fulbright is a natural step in that direction.鈥

Eliana Jacobs 鈥22

Degree at 色中色视频: Interdisciplinary studies and sociology

Fulbright destination: Taiwan

What Jacobs is doing there: Teaching English in elementary schools

And then: Go to medical school

鈥淚鈥檓 a young African American woman from 色中色视频 working in classrooms full of kids who speak Chinese and look nothing like me. They鈥檙e fascinated to hear about manatees and cars in America. I鈥檓 still curious about the rampant use of scooters here. We鈥檙e building trust through language barriers by showing genuine interest in each other. This is what I鈥檒l need to do in the future as a pediatric endocrinologist 鈥 develop trust at the bedside with patients from all communities and cultures.

鈥淲hen I was 14 years old, I was diagnosed with type-1 diabetes. During my research for the Fulbright application, I was surprised to find out about the high prevalence rate of diabetes in Taiwan. At the time, I was taking 21 credit hours, working on my honors thesis and working three part-time jobs. The Fulbright seemed like a longshot, but the thought of teaching children in another country while visiting medical schools and research centers motivated me. I鈥檝e been here three months. My confidence is higher. My knowledge is deeper. And my desire to help kids is stronger than ever.鈥

Lilliana Ramos 鈥23

 

Degree at 色中色视频: International and global studies

Fulbright destination: La Rioja, Spain

What Ramos will do there: Teach English to primary school students

And then: Foreign service

鈥淢y parents had to spread their wings when they left Cuba to start a new life in the U.S. For them, it was a necessity. For me, spreading my wings will be an honor. Coming to 色中色视频 after attending high school in Miami was the first time I ventured off on my own. Little did I know it would eventually lead to an immersive Fulbright experience in Spain, where I鈥檒l get a taste inside and outside the classroom of what my parents had to learn: how to assimilate to a new culture.

鈥淚n La Rioja, students want to learn the English language and American culture for the same reasons I want to learn theirs 鈥 languages and cultures connect the world, and they open us up to a lifetime of opportunities. The work reminds me of growing up in a family where we had open discussions about important topics. My dad had worked in a consulate in Cuba before it closed, so he imparted the ideals of slowing down, listening, and being patient with people from different backgrounds. In Spain, I鈥檒l be the one from a different background. I can鈥檛 imagine a better way to prepare for whatever comes next.鈥

Harrison Crawford 鈥22

 

Degree at 色中色视频: Interdisciplinary studies

Fulbright destination: Indonesia

What Crawford is doing there: Teaching English

And then: Build a test prep tutoring operation

鈥淚ndonesia is one of the biggest countries on Earth, and arguably the most culturally diverse. At the moment, I鈥檓 in the city of Manado, where the motto is, 鈥榃e are all family.鈥 Shortly after I arrived, word got out that I鈥檇 gotten sick. A parade of people showed up with food, medicine, even kitchen appliances. If one teacher hears I skipped breakfast, within an hour I鈥檒l have a plate of avocado, fish and bread in front of me. I鈥檓 teaching English, and they鈥檙e teaching me what true kindness and generosity look like.

鈥淚 almost didn鈥檛 apply for the Fulbright, which would have been the biggest mistake of my life. It鈥檚 rare for Americans to collaborate with people in Global South countries as equals in a cultural context. I bring games so the kids have fun learning English and about parts of the world they might never see. Later, I鈥檓 hosting a storytelling competition, where students will have a chance to advance to the national level in Jakarta. It鈥檚 a big deal because most Indonesians don鈥檛 travel as easily as Americans do. Not long ago, I felt like I was meandering a bit. Today, I鈥檓 living a life with direction that would have once been unthinkable.鈥

Casey Corrigan 鈥19 鈥23MA

Degree at 色中色视频: Social science education

Fulbright destination: Taipei, Taiwan

What Corrigan is doing there: English teaching assistant

And then: Teach English to middle schoolers, high schoolers and adult speakers of other languages

鈥淚 never envisioned myself teaching English in Taiwan, but here I am on this adventure. The teachers in Taipei use different styles. My current school follows a Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) approach, which means the students learn English while I teach them music and art. I might discuss specific shapes and textures in English and then a Taiwanese co-teacher will explain in Chinese how to use them when creating artwork.

鈥淭he Fulbright program came to my attention during a Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) class at 色中色视频. Previous Fulbright recipients told me how the program helped them with visas, living arrangements, setting up a bank accounts, all the daunting details when you go abroad. Having a reputable program guiding my steps made me feel safe. Next summer I鈥檒l come back to Orlando and pursue work as a teacher, but I know how plans can change. Whatever happens next, I will always be grateful for the people at 色中色视频 who helped make this life-changing experience a reality.鈥

 

Meghan Absher 鈥22, who earned a bachelor鈥檚 in integrative general studies student from 色中色视频, also accepted a Fulbright award with the destination of Romania.

Students interested in applying for Fulbright awards or other major national awards should contact the Office of Prestigious Awards at opa@ucf.edu.