Tess Van Den Hurk-Moran, who received a BA in English from the University of Iowa in May 2019, is the winner of a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship Award to Argentina for 2020-21
Hometown: Emmetsburg, Iowa
Award: 2020-21 Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship Award to Argentina
Degree: BA English, minors in Spanish and psychology
Could you give me a brief synopsis of what you'll be doing with your Fulbright?
As an English Teaching Assistant (ETA) in Argentina, I will spend eight months teaching English at a university or teacher training college in Argentina. My work as a teacher will focus not only on grammatical technicalities but also on cultural exchange. I will continue this work outside the classroom as well, where I hope to work with students in a creative writing and translation workshop. I’d also love to get involved outside of school by joining a community band or choir!
How do you envision this will influence your life/future career?
When I return from Argentina, I intend to pursue a career in publishing, focusing on Spanish and bilingual children’s literature, with an emphasis on Latin American cultures. As an ETA, I will be able to immerse myself in the Argentine education system and literary culture, which will shape my editorial approach to teaching Latin American culture and the Spanish language through literature.
What drew you to this field of study?
Since I intend to pursue a career in publishing, with an emphasis on Spanish and bilingual literature, I have been drawn to opportunities that will allow me to increase my fluency and understanding of Latin American cultures. This narrowed into a particular curiosity about Argentina when I followed my interest in literature to a Latin American Women Writers course at the University of Iowa. The trailblazing female writers and the ever-thriving literary scene in Argentina really drew my attention, and I realized that it was the perfect place for me to immerse myself in Latin American literature. The opportunity to become an ETA further appealed to me because it will allow me to continue teaching English while living in Argentina. After my graduation, I was interested in exploring bilingualism and second-language acquisition, so I moved to South Korea for the academic year 2019-20 where I am currently teaching English. I came to realize how much I can learn from my students while I share my own culture and experiences with them. Continuing this cultural exchange in Argentina will allow me to reach a deeper understanding of Argentine culture to bring to my work as an editor.
What advice do you have for future students interested in applying for a Fulbright?
I think anyone who has applied for the Fulbright will tell you that the best thing you can do is start early. It’s a popular notion, but absolutely true in this case: the work isn’t writing, it’s rewriting. Give yourself time to do it. This process involves a lot of self-reflection and input from the amazing staff and faculty members at the university. But, once you finish, it’s absolutely worth it!
On that note, if you are a procrastinator (like I am), it’s a good idea to schedule weekly or monthly meetings with a Fulbright advisor, faculty advisor, or both. This gives you a series of solid deadlines and will encourage you to do the work in manageable steps. And, it will leave you with plenty of time to ask for advice and edit your application!
Are there individuals you'd like to thank for their investment in this process?
I’m so grateful for all the incredible support I received from the University of Iowa community, and I’d like to say thank you. First and foremost, to Karen Wachsmuth. Thank you for Skyping with me early in the morning, for letting me sit in your office for hours working on my drafts, and for all the incredible advice and support you gave me. Your dedication to this program is amazing, and I can safely say I would not be here without your tireless help. To my faculty advisor, Kathleen Newman, thank you for your insight into Argentina, all your writing advice, and your recommendations for Argentine films and literature. To Carol Severino, Amber Brian, Alexander Pines, and Judy Liskin-Gasparro, thank you for your patience and encouragement throughout this process. Each of you had a huge impact on my experience at Iowa, and I hope one day I can be half the teacher you all are. To Brett Cloyd and Lisa Gardinier, at the library, thank you for your help with research and for being just as excited about this as I am. To Mariel Lopez-Mota and Concetta Gleason, thank you for giving me the opportunity to begin working with Spanish literature, for making me a part of the team, and for always encouraging me. And, finally, to my parents, my family, and my friends, thank you for being endlessly supportive and for keeping me sane. I’m so lucky to have a support system like you.
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).