Caroline Baum, who will receive a double BA in international relations and economics from the University of Iowa this May, is the winner of a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship Award to Morocco for 2020-21
Hometown: Ames, IA
Award: 2020-21 Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship Award to Morocco
Degree: double BA in international relations and economics, and minors in Arabic and French
Could you give me a brief synopsis of what you'll be doing with your Fulbright?
As a Fulbright ETA to Morocco, I will work as a stand-alone English teacher in a public Moroccan university. In addition to teaching, I’ll organize community engagement projects (I’m hoping to get a cooking club going) and generally act as a resource for the students and community where I am placed.
What drew you to this field of study?
As someone with French and Arabic minors, I have always been interested in the Maghreb region of North Africa, where these languages coexist and are used alongside one another in day-to-day life. This led me to do an intensive Arabic language study abroad in Fez, Morocco, during the Summer 2017 term. While in Morocco, I fell in love with Moroccan food, hospitality, and the country’s rich and multicultural history, and I have wanted to go back and dive deeper into Moroccan language and culture since.
Last year, I participated in a Teaching Assistant Program in France through the TAPIF program and realized how incredibly rewarding teaching can be. The experience also opened my eyes to the surprisingly profound level of cultural exchange that can occur in a classroom. As someone who grew up between two cultures myself (American and German), I’ve always felt most comfortable in the ambiguous, “in-between” space found at sites of cultural exchange. I am excited to challenge perceptions of American culture and, in turn, to have my own perceptions of Morocco challenged as an ETA in Morocco.
How do you envision this will influence your future career?
After my Fulbright, I plan to go to graduate school and pursue a career in international development, specifically studying the role of gender in development efforts throughout North Africa. Living in Morocco for ten months while studying both Modern Standard Arabic and Darija, the local dialect of Arabic, will allow me to conduct this kind of research more effectively, especially in rural regions where French and English are less common. I am also extremely excited to be in charge of my own classroom for the entire year, and I hope to learn more about myself as a teacher and explore how teaching might fit into my future career.
"We are so lucky here at Iowa to have amazing professors and International Programs staff, so be sure to use those resources."
What advice do you have for future students interested in applying for a Fulbright?
As far as advice for students applying for Fulbright, I would strongly encourage you to start early! This will save you a lot of stress near application time. Starting early is also important in terms of gaining experience to strengthen your application. If you are planning on applying for a Fulbright ETA position in the next year or three: seek out teaching experience! Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask for help. We are so lucky here at Iowa to have amazing professors and International Programs staff, so be sure to use those resources.
Are there individuals you'd like to thank for their investment in this process?
First and foremost, I’d like to thank Karen Wachsmuth and Marie Hoppe for their guidance throughout this process. They are truly amazing at what they do and pushed me to make my application stronger than I ever thought it could be. Their dedication to students is remarkable, and both of them played a huge role in me receiving this award. I’d also like to thank my recommenders and language evaluators: Ronald McMullen, Michel Laronde, Taoufik El Ayachi, and Emmanuelle Bornancin. All four of them were extremely talented educators who I hope to emulate over the next year and beyond. Hodna Nuernberg, thank you for the last-minute interview prep and for sharing your own ETA experience with me. Lastly, I’d like to thank everyone who ever read and edited my essays, especially my partner Farouq Ghandour, who kept me (relatively) sane throughout the application process. This really was a team effort, and I’m extremely grateful to have received the support that I did. Thanks again to everyone, and good luck to next year’s applicants!
Students are encouraged to begin their funding searches and applications at least six months to one year in advance. Schedule an advising appointment with Karen Wachsmuth to discuss your interest in an international fellowship or begin an application (as a UI undergraduate student, graduate student, or alumna/us).