Second-year student Farrah Beck has been announced as a semifinalist for the Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Program. If selected, Beck would help teach English and serve as a cultural ambassador in South Korea for one year starting in January 2022.
The ETA program places recent college graduates and young professionals in classrooms around the world to help teach English alongside local teachers and to serve as cultural ambassadors for the United States. The age and academic level of the students varies by country, ranging from kindergarten to the university level.
Beck said that several factors led her to apply, including the culturally immersive nature of the program and a desire to continue working with ELL (English language learner) populations.
“My undergraduate degree is in TESOL, Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, and I have experience teaching English to adults locally, as well as working with ELL students in a local middle school,” said Beck, a graduate of the University of Central Arkansas. “I would love to continue that practice. It’s something that I really enjoy doing.”
The Fulbright ETA program is highly-competitive, with thousands of applications being submitted annually.
“It was almost a challenge for me,” Beck said of applying for the program. “I knew that around 10,000 people a year applied, and I wanted to prove to myself that I could make it – at least to the semi-finalist stage.”
A native of Conway, Ark., Beck lived abroad as an undergraduate, spending a semester in Spain. She promised herself after that experience that she would pursue other opportunities abroad in the future.
For the ETA program, Beck specifically applied to teach in South Korea.
“I’ve always been intrigued by South Korean culture, but what specifically drew me to this country was the way the program treats its assistants,” Beck said. “South Korea has a very intentional experience at the beginning of the program that allows for a complete and total immersion in the culture and language, as well as extra training in ESL teaching techniques, plus the opportunity to live in a homestay, which is really what I’m looking for if I live and teach abroad.”
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