Lee Sailor, who received a BA in political science from the University of Iowa in 2021, is the winner of a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship Award to Kosovo for 2023-24.
Hometown: Rolfe, IA
Degree: BA, political science, history minor
Could you give us a brief synopsis of what you'll be doing with your Fulbright?
I will be an English Teaching Assistant (ETA) at a to-be-determined university in Kosovo where, in addition to my teaching duties, I intend to start a film club with post-screening discussions which will both serve as additional English practice and as a means of cultural exchange. Additionally, I will be conducting a research project looking at Kosovar efforts at boosting the nation's status and recognition through cultural promotion.
How do you envision this will influence your life/future career?
Beyond the practical teaching experience that will serve me well in pursuing a PhD after Fulbright, this comes at a particularly interesting time for my academic interest. My primary area of study has been the European Union (EU) and its function and history. My time in Kosovo will take place at the same time as an attempted normalization of relations between Kosovo and Serbia with the EU acting as guarantor of the agreement. The chance to witness and study firsthand just how well this will work out in practice is an incredibly unique opportunity and will be a massive boon to my research interests.
What advice do you have for future students interested in applying for a Fulbright?
For anyone considering applying as an ETA, here are the top three things I think you'll want to help with your application. Teaching experience, teaching experience, and teaching experience. Teaching experience is crucial for anyone who wants to demonstrate they're a well-qualified applicant and whatever experience you have will help. Talk to your professors and look for volunteer opportunities on and off campus to gain that experience. Even just experience tutoring can help.
Were there experiences at the UI that inspired you to pursue a Fulbright?
My semester in Germany opened up a new world for me both academically and in introducing me to areas of study I had never really considered, and in the literal sense in that, I had never been outside North America or had traveled on an airplane before. More than anything else that was the experience that pushed me to pursue this Fulbright grant.
Are there individuals you'd like to thank for their investment in this process
I would like to thank Karen Wachsmuth, Ari Natarina, William Reisinger, and Katarina Newcamp for their crucial assistance in helping me craft my application; Michaela Hoenicke Moore, Elizabeth Heineman, and Ambassador Ronald McMullen for their recommendations; Tracy Osborn for her mentorship; I would also like to thank Susan Prepejchal and the Friendship Community Project for the practical experience in teaching English I have received volunteering with them and the good work they do in assisting recent arrivals in the United States.
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