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Fulbright Scholar Kimberly Buice

Fulbright Year: 2016-2017
Country: Laos
Proposal Type: English Teaching Assistantship
UGA Undergraduate Major: English Education
Graduation Date: Spring 2016
Hometown: Clarkesville, Georgia

After a two-month orientation in the capital city of Vientiane, Kimberly Buice is assigned to the Teacher Training College in Savannakhet, Laos.

In her training as an English teacher, Kimberly sees something in the American classroom that is broken and needs fixing. Her Fulbright experience in Laos will expose her to unique approaches to education that she can learn from and bring back to the U.S.

“During my studies it has become clear that the English classrooms in the United States are dismally lacking multicultural perspectives,” Kimberly says. “This has a negative impact on all students, and I plan to use my experience in (Laos), a country with such a different culture and teaching methods, to deepen the cultural diversity of my own classrooms.”

With regard to her Laotian students, Kimberly has her eye on the big picture.

“Besides teaching English, I’ll be instructing students on topics of American history and culture,” she says. “The goal is to foster a mutual understanding and respect through my interactions with students in the classroom, while also helping them acquire language skills that will, in Laos, greatly increase their chances for success in the job market.”

Although her travels have taken her to Costa Rica, Spain, Honduras, and Italy, Kimberly will be visiting Laos for the first time, a prospect both enthralling and scary.

“I’m excited and terrified to be immersed in a culture about which I know so little,” she says. “I’m thrilled at the opportunity to experience something like this, to experience a culture so unlike my own, steeped in traditions entirely different than ours here in the West. I’m excited to explore the landscape, to teach ESL for the first time, to eat Laotian cuisine, and most of all, to absorb this experience as much as I can.”

While at UGA, Kimberly worked as a trip leader for UGA Outdoor Recreation, youth director for Emmanuel Episcopal Church, and teen leadership director for YMCA Camp Ocoee. She also found time to work as a research assistant at UGA’s Terry College of Business and tutor students at Oasis Community Center and the Thomas Lay Center in Athens.

Kimberly is a UGA Charter Scholar and won the Philanthropic Educational Organization Scholarship in 2012, 2013, and 2014. She served on the executive board of UGA Club Sports and was president of the UGA Whitewater Club.

Upon her return from Laos, Kimberly says she’ll either jump right into the classroom to teach or explore wilderness therapy programs for young people.

“I’m not entirely sure where I’ll be or what I’ll do, but my plan is to continue teaching and fostering relationships with kids in some capacity,” she says.

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