Fulbright allows global studies major a return to South Korea

Samantha Marcoux
Samantha Marcoux

Samantha Marcoux, a global studies major with minors in east Asian studies and Spanish, has been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study and teach English in South Korea for the 2013-14 academic year.

Through the Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship, Marcoux plans to teach English and inform students about American culture in South Korean classrooms by using English-language media. She will also create an after-school English language club to supplement students’ formal courses. She hopes to provide students a better understanding of conversational English with the media aid.

“I want them to be able to find books or movies or music they like and break through a conversational English barrier that you can’t really address without having a native speaker present,” Marcoux said.

The Fulbright Program, established in 1946 and funded by the U.S. Department of State, is designed to foster understanding between the United States and other countries. The U.S. Student Fulbright program gives recent graduates, graduate students and young professionals the opportunity to conduct research, study or teach in one of the 155 designated countries. About 8,000 grants are awarded annually, and about 1,600 of those grants are awarded to U.S. students.

Marcoux, a graduate of Burwell High School, first became interested in Korean language and culture in her freshman year through her Korean friends on campus. On the weekends, she took language lessons off-campus from Herbert and Haesuk Bates. During her sophomore year, she joined the campus club Global Friends of Japan and started taking Japanese classes. Through this exposure to both cultures, Marcoux decided to complete a minor in East Asian studies.

Marcoux set her sights on the South Korea Fulbright after studying there in the 2011-12 academic year. She studied at one of the nation’s top schools, Yonsei University, with funding from the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship.

During her year abroad, one of her most cherished experiences was teaching North Korean refugees. She co-directed a program through her study abroad provider, the Council on International Educational Exchange, in which she and her fellow American group members developed simple English lessons and practiced them with North Korean refugee students living in Seoul. This experience gave her the courage to apply for the Fulbright.

“I had so much fun during my year there and made so many new friends that it became a second home for me,” Marcoux said.

She said the Fulbright would allow her to continue doing three things that she enjoys most – learning about Korean language and culture, teaching others and helping them to better develop cross-cultural communication and competency.

“It’s an honor to be selected for the Fulbright and I’m excited for what is to come in the next year,” she said.

A member of the University Honors Program and expected May graduate, Marcoux is writing her honors thesis on the social dynamics between Korean natives and the foreign population emerging in South Korea. She is also a member of the honors fraternities Alpha Lambda Delta, Phi Eta Sigma and the Golden Key Society.

- Anna McTygue and Alex Lierz, Honors Program