Everything Hayley Leight learns when she spends a year teaching English in Indonesia she intends to share with others when she returns to the United States.
WVU Fulbright Scholar
Leight’s intentions embody the purpose of the Fulbright U.S. Student Program scholarship – an honor only the best and brightest in the country are awarded, and one that Leight is proud to say is hers.
“She is a fantastic student-scholar who will be a wonderful ambassador to Indonesia,” said Lisa DeFrank-Cole, director of the WVU ASPIRE Office. “The WVU Fulbright committee through the ASPIRE Office is very pleased to see Hayley’s announcement as an English Teaching Assistant.”
As a Fulbright scholar, Leight will spend a year in Indonesia teaching English to middle and high school students and completing volunteer work. She plans to conduct a weekly English table, where her students can meet socially and talk only in English to better their language skills.
She also plans on volunteering at a local health clinic, so she can learn more about the traditional medicine that is still practiced in Indonesia and apply that knowledge when she begins medical school in the fall of 2012.
Her ultimate goal is to study global health, and work in a capacity where she is able to provide health care for people in developing countries.
“There is such a disparity between the availability of health care in the U.S. and in the developing world,” she said. “While we are better able to focus on many of the age or lifestyle-related diseases like diabetes and heart disease, it is still important to remember the millions of people around the world who do not have access to clean drinking water. Anyone in health care who works globally will make a difference.
“I don’t think I can change the world on my own, but I certainly can be part of improving the quality of life for others.”
Leight applied for the Fulbright after being encouraged by DeFrank-Cole and others in the WVU Honors College. She later decided to focus on traveling to Indonesia because of the culture.
“Indonesia is such a multicultural country,” she said. “It is composed of thousands of islands, hundreds of dialects and people from all over Asia. The fact that it has so many different cultures combined will make it such a unique experience.”
She had the option to teach English or apply for a research grant. Having had previous experience as a tutor and teaching assistant, Leight chose to teach because of her love of helping others to understand.
“I look forward to meeting the children I am going to be teaching, I can’t wait,” she said.
Several WVU students have applied for the Fulbright scholarship for the 2011-12 year. Not all awards have been selected at this time. The others are expected to be announced by June, DeFrank-Cole said.
The Fulbright Program is an international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government. It is designed to increase mutual understanding between the United States and the people of other countries. Recipients of the Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields.
The program operates in 155 countries around the world. An estimated 40,000 individual participate in Fulbright programs each year.
For more information on the Fulbright, visit http://fulbright.state.gov/ .
WVU students interested in learning more about grants and scholarships they can apply for are encouraged to contact the WVU ASPIRE Office at 304-293-2100.
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