Name: Emma Genesen
Hometown: Rancho Mirage, CA
Type of Fulbright award: English Teaching Assistantship Award to Taiwan
Degree and field of study: BA theatre arts, health science, interdepartmental studies, creative writing certificate
Teaching: I will be teaching English to elementary school students in Taiwan. In addition to teaching, I will be founding a community children’s theatre that is deliberately inclusive of children with disabilities. In the process, I hope to help students develop greater facility with both the English language and cross-cultural communication in its broader applications.
What drew you to this field of study?
As a student, I had seemingly disparate interests in theatre, health, and communication. However, after working with Combined Efforts Theatre, an Iowa City company that fosters collaboration between local artists with and without special needs, I saw a way to combine my passions. In reading about Taiwan’s efforts to enhance resources for children with disabilities, I became uniquely interested in the possibility of starting a deliberately inclusive theatre program in Taiwan.
How do you envision this will change your life?
I try not to have too many expectations when traveling abroad because I know that nothing is ever quite what I expect. In the broadest sense, I guess I hope for all the clichéd things – to return with a better understanding of Taiwanese culture, deeper empathy for those who are different than me, and a humble understanding of how I can contribute to improved cross-cultural communications in the United States. They’re clichés for a reason, right?
What advice do you have for future students interested in pursuing a Fulbright award?
I would advise future applicants to approach the process humbly and to take the advice given by their mentors (they know what they’re talking about!). The University of Iowa’s International Programs department is an amazing resource. Take advantage of it!
Are there any individuals you'd like to personally to thank for their investment in this process?
I would like to thank Anne-Marie Nest, for nominating me for the Fulbright Award, and my mentors Pat Dolan, Alan McVey, and Krista Neumann for their assistance with my application. I would also like to thank Janet Schlapkohl, and the entire Combined Efforts family, for their inspiration, and Karen Wachsmuth and the International Programs department for their invaluable support and guidance throughout this process.