Name: Emma Himes, Graduated May 2018
Majors: Global Studies, Spanish & English, Minors: Digital Humanities, History, Latin American Studies, Ethnic Studies
University Involvement: University Honors Program (Peer Mentor & EN Thompson), Omicron Delta Kappa Honors Society, UCARE research at the Willa Cather Archive, Legislative Page at Nebraska State Legislature, Fulbright Summer Institute at the University of Bristol England, Lincoln Literacy English Tutor, English Tutor in Soria Spain, ASUN Student Government (Freshman Campus Leadership Associates, Environmental Leadership Project, Environmental Sustainability Committee), Study of U.S. Institutes (SUSI) Peer Ambassador to Subsaharan African Students, Peer Ambassador to Argentina Fulbrights at UNL, Chi Omega Sorority
Studies Abroad: CIEE Buenos Aires Liberal Arts Fall 2016, Fulbright TransAtlantic Slave Trade Institute Bristol Summer 2016, UNL Soria Spain Summer 2015
I am currently living in Ourense, Spain in the region of Galicia, directly north of Portugal. I am working as an English Teaching Assistant at a secondary school called IES As Lagoas. At school, I speak only English with my students, and I am placed in classes in the English, Music, and Philosophy Departments. I work at school for 16 hours a week, and the rest of my time is spent exploring my city/Galicia/Spain, teaching English lessons, and preparing lesson plans. As an English teaching assistant for Fulbright and the regional government of Galicia, I serve as a cultural ambassador between the United States and Spain. I also have a responsibility to share Fulbright's Speak Truth to Power curriculum focusing on human rights. Additionally, I am hoping to volunteer in the community at a center focused on technology and also take language classes while living in Ourense.
I applied to the Fulbright award during the fall of 2017. I had spent the summer before deciding which country I wanted to apply to, and once I selected Spain, I began writing my Personal Statement and Statement of Grant Purpose. I worked closely with Dr. Damuth, Director of Fellowships on various drafts of essays and she also helped me decide that Spain was the best choice for me. All components of the Fulbright Application are due in October, but it is necessary to know by the summertime that you are applying because the University and Dr. Damuth of Fellowships support your application by recommending you and preparing a committee review of your application. Deciding which country to apply to is also best decided by the end of the summer so it is possible to begin writing essays at the beginning of the semester. I chose to apply to Spain after considering applying to a Masters in Digital Humanities/Information Science in the UK or to Latin America as an English Teaching Assistant. After learning that Latin America strongly prefers candidates with education backgrounds (Bachelors of Education in English or Spanish), I knew that I would be applying to either the UK or Spain. I ended up deciding to apply to the Fulbright in Spain and Masters programs in the US instead of the UK, that way I had many options for the coming year, and I was not choosing one over the other! It can be especially difficult to plan for the year because often Fulbright notifications are released in March, April, and May, so I was really happy in the spring semester to know that I was accepted to graduate programs in the case that Fulbright did not work out. In the end, I am very happy to be on a Fulbright award in Spain, and I will return to the U.S. next year to pursue a graduate degree.
I have lived in Spain for just over two weeks now. I attended a four day orientation with the Fulbright Commission of Spain in Alcalá de Henares, a suburb of Madrid. Orientation gave me wonderful information on the process for obtaining housing, residency cards, phone, banking, and just about everything I could need! I arrived in my city of Ourense ten days ago, and since I have been in the classroom for a few hours. My city has 100,000+ people, and although it is fairly small, there is a great urban environment with gorgeous streets full of shops, bakeries, and tapas bars. I am living with two other Fulbrights to make the housing search a little more simple. So far, I am having a wonderful time and really looking forward to spending more time with students in the coming weeks!
My advice for Global Studies majors interested in applying for a Fulbright in the future is to start early. Apply for a UK summer Fulbright Institute during your sophomore or freshman year to become familiar with the fellowships application process and to begin working with Dr. Damuth, the Director of Fellowships. If you are applying for English Teaching or Research, you should have a history of experiences similar to this on your resume already! Lincoln Literacy NGO in Lincoln, NE is one of the best ways to strengthen your application along with UCARE undergraduate research! I had studied abroad twice in Spanish speaking countries and had experience teaching English to children from Spain and refugees in the United States. I knew that with these experiences in combination with my academic record, I had the best chance of winning in Spain! Choose a country that you have a connection to through classes or language. Be genuine in your essays and apply to a country and program that matches your interests and educational background best. The better the fit, the more likely you are to win. I wish you the best of luck, and if you are looking for advice feel free to reach out to me.
Find out more about Fulbright at https://us.fulbrightonline.org/about/types-of-awards/english-teaching-assistant-awards
ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT: Emma Himes
Name: Emma Himes, Graduated May 2018