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SAM HINE, SPAIN, 2016-2017
Fulbright Scholar Sam Hine

Fulbright Year: 2016-2017
Country: Spain
Proposal Type: English Teaching Assistant
UGA Undergraduate Major: English
Graduation Date: Spring 2014
Hometown: Marietta, Georgia

One of the first items Sam Hine is checking off his “to do” list during his Fulbright year in Spain is to buy a bicycle.

Sam, who earlier this year set out on a month-long cycling sojourn, believes the bike will be essential to his success as an English Teaching Assistant in Madrid, which could also include teaching courses in social studies and physical education.

“Biking and teaching bike courses will provide ample opportunity to encounter the culture and people of Madrid in a relaxed, informal context,” he says. “I will organize group rides and offer classes on bicycle safety, maintenance, and repair to students. I shall explore the city’s markets, cafes, restaurants, and discotecas.”

He’s also determined to polish his Spanish, both for his work in Madrid and after the completion of his Fulbright experience.

“I’m really looking forward to being forced to improve my Spanish and just practice all the time,” says Sam, who plans to seek out a Spanish tutor when he gets to Spain. “I’m thankful that the grant’s a full school-year long, so I’ll have time to build some context culturally and appreciation for what’s going on around me. …I’m looking forward to having the time to build relationships.”

With career plans to be a social worker, a better grasp of Spanish will be a plus in his pursuits.

“A big part of what drew me to Fulbright was the opportunity it would present to improve my Spanish, obviously such an important language living in the United States but especially so for me in the social work field,” he says. “Also, I think it will be a valuable experience to build some empathy. Beginning my grant with less than perfect Spanish and trying to navigate daily life will no doubt bring some awkward, frustrating, difficult moments. An appreciation for that will give me some kind of background to relate to people who don’t speak English as a first language.”

Sam also sees his Fulbright year as having a positive effect on his concept of hospitality.

“I think of the Fulbright grant as a big gift of time and resources I’ve been given to learn hospitality,” he says. “Fulbright calls you a ‘cultural ambassador,’ but I like hospitality better—it sounds less regal and imperial, and more down to earth.

“So wherever I am, I just think I’m supposed to learn how to listen better, how to appreciate the uniqueness of what, or who, I’m interacting with, and ways to gently share my own experiences. All of that is really exciting to me. And no doubt I’ll gain some new perspective on life in the United States as a result.”

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