Fulbright Year: 2012-2013
Country: Slovak Republic
Proposal Type: English Teaching Assistant
UGA Major/Department: Public Relations, English
Degrees: B.A., Public Relations, B.A. English, Master of Secondary Education, 2009
Hometown: Bethlehem, GA
As a young man, Thomas Stewart received some very wise counseling from his grandmother.
“My grandmother explained… those who take advantage of free education earn opportunities to pursue their dreams,” said Thomas. “I lived by my grandmother’s truth, sought knowledge, adored my time in the library, and cultivated an unwavering appreciation for learning. My passion for education fuels my career trajectory.”
Thomas, who will spend his Fulbright year teaching English as a foreign language to secondary students in the Slovak Republic city of Banksa Bystrica, has a rather simple – but bold – career goal: “I plan to continue working in the field of education until every child is granted the opportunity to achieve.”
Thomas said he looked forward to doing as much learning as he does teaching.
“I am most looking forward to experiencing a new education system,” he said. “As an English language arts educator, I have witnessed the obstacles of learning English without the necessary resources and instruction. The Slovak Republic provides quality education that garners high graduation rates and high rates of students accessing tertiary education; therefore, I am elated to immerse myself in a new situation. My experiences with the Slovak education system will provide yet another lens through which to view the systems in the United States.”
The English lessons Thomas will impart to his new students are expected to stretch far beyond the classroom.
“The field of education is based upon sharing ‘best practices’ that afford positive, measurable results,” he said. “Therefore, each cultural exchange carries immense value for both parties. In the Slovak Republic, I will strive to improve students’ understanding of the English language and American culture by sharing my collection of stories and by encouraging my new students to see how their stories relate.”
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