University of Iowa

UI student receives a Fulbright U.S. Student Program English Teaching Assistantship award to South Korea

April 4th, 2018
Chris
Name: Christopher Orabutt
Hometown:  Lake Zurich, Illinois
Type of Fulbright award: English Teaching Assistant Award to South Korea
Degree and field of study: BA secondary history education
Teaching: I will be teaching English to secondary students while placed in South Korea. I hope to teach English through American culture. For example, I plan on having students split up into teams, where each team represents a different U.S. state. Students will practice many aspects of the English language by researching and presenting their assigned state or territory. While teaching English, I will also be engaging my community in a musical exchange group. This group will compare and contrast Korean and U.S. music of similar genres or time periods. For example, the 1970s were an era of protest in both South Korea and the U.S. We will compare the music of protest artists such as Shin Joong-hyun and Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young. I loved sharing music in college with my music fraternity Phi Mu Alpha throughout Iowa City, and so I am excited to do the same in South Korea but through a sociological lens. 
What drew you to this field of study? 
I chose to become a social studies teacher because I am an energetic, talkative person. I love helping others realize various perspectives and engage in critical thought through conversation. Social studies is an interdisciplinary subject that can discuss topics through so many different lenses. It’s great to be able to discuss a world war through only music, or the differences in geography based on how much a cup of coffee costs. Social studies can be so cool and interesting!
How do you envision this will change your life? 
I think this opportunity will change my life by giving me a glimpse into different perspectives that I cannot know by living in America. Representing my country as a cultural ambassador will be a challenge unlike anything that I have done before. My life will also be changed for the better with the lasting memories and relationships that I create. Being an English Teaching Assistant will change my life by exercising a skill set that I will use the rest of my life as an educator. In the end, I cannot know how this will change my life for sure, but I am very excited to find out.
What advice do you have for future students interested in pursuing a Fulbright award/What campus resources were most helpful to you when you applied for a Fulbright?
Definitely visit Brett Cloyd in the library for help either deciding on a country to apply to or researching one that you have decided on. For Fulbright, it is extremely important to have a genuine reason for applying to a country. Saying “I think it would be fun” will not cut it. And once you start writing your essays, write as much as you can. The hardest step throughout the entire process is sitting down and writing. You can also never have enough people review your essays. I was consistently at the Writing Center and emailing my professors aspects of my application to assist me. If you have resources, the worst thing you can do is not use them.
Are there any individuals you'd like to thank for their investment in this process? 
I would like to thank Professor Kevin Kastens and Professor Michael Moore for their support and for writing me letters of recommendation. I would also like to thank two social studies professors in the College of Education, Professor Greg Hamot and Professor Jason Harshman, for teaching me to critically think, pursue social justice wherever I can, and to view everything from multiple perspectives. I would like to thank both Douglas Baker and Karen Wachsmuth for continuously helping me with the entire Fulbright process. Lastly, I would like to thank my family and friends for their unending support. It is not easy to support someone that is leaving for a year, and so I genuinely thank them all for their massive amounts of support.  
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