Illinois College Senior receives Scholarship to teach English abroad

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JACKSONVILLE – A senior History and Spanish major at Illinois College is receiving a Fulbright Scholarship to teach the English language in Argentina.

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Government and is designed to “increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.”

Gabrielle Esparza, of Geneso, received the English Teaching Assistant Fulbright to work at a teacher-training college in Argentina. She will be providing assistance to local English teachers during her stay abroad. Esparza says she is beyond excited to help teach English while serving as a cultural ambassador from the United States.

“I am very excited, it almost doesn’t feel real yet. It really is a dream come true,” Esparza says.

The Illinois College senior will also be engaging in a research project that she started when she spent a semester studying abroad in 2015. During that semester, she had focused on Argentina’s Dirty War, conducting research at the National Memory Archives, the National Library of Argentina and the library of the Universidad del Salvador, as well as interviewing locals about their experience.

“When I left Argentina, I knew without a doubt that I wanted to return, and the Fulbright, which had been a dream of mine since my first year at IC, seemed like an obvious route to take,” Esparza adds.

Esparza credits her professors with encouraging her to pursue this opportunity. She says Dr. Steven Gardner, Dr. Margaret Marek, Dr. Steve Hochstadt and Dr. Robert Kunath pushed her to seek the best opportunities to make her dream a reality.

She will leave for Argentina in March 2017 and will spend about nine months in the country during that academic year.

More than 360,000 Fulbright recipients have participated in the program since its inception more than 60 years ago. It awards 8,000 grants annually.

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