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MAGGIE LITTLE, South Korea, 2018-2019

Fulbright Year: 2018-2019
Country: South Korea
Proposal Type: English Teaching Assistantship
UGA Degrees: Bachelor’s in Political Science, Master’s in Public Administration
Graduation Date: Spring 2018
Hometown: Cumming, Georgia

Maggie Little—who will teach at an all-girls middle school on Jeju Island in South Korea—has long been fascinated by what she termed “a great shift” in the Korean education system, brought about in 2013 to reduce student stress levels and prepare students for the creative economy of the future.

There are two reasons why Maggie maintains this interest in the Free Semester System, which provides seventh-grade students a semester unbound by high-stakes tests and lecture-based classroom experiences.

For one, Maggie sees the American education system—facing similar issues in preparing students for the future—eventually moving in the same direction, bringing creativity and collaboration to the forefront. And, perhaps more importantly, she’ll be spending her Fulbright year teaching English in South Korea, working with pupils who have already undergone the Free Semester System experience.

Creativity is key to Maggie’s experience as she has been involved in theatre for many years, and she believes the creative elements she’ll bring to the modern Korean classroom will be of benefit to her students.

“I am curious to see how these modern classrooms have begun to mold students,” she says. “To me, incorporating creativity into curriculum is a necessity and I believe experiencing the initial successes and limitations of FSP firsthand would be invaluable to informing my future work. I hope to start a club for students interested in the arts and use the skills I learned as a theatre minor at UGA.”

One of the ways Maggie hopes to draw out her students is by using theatre activities and exercises in the classroom, including the “mock talk show,” which encourages improvisation and conversation.

“I used this exercise to learn improvisational skills and cohesive ensemble work,” she says. “As an ETA, I would use such games to actively engage my students and improve their English comprehension and conversational skills in a practical manner. Students can record and re-watch their ‘shows’ to learn from their mistakes.”

During her time at UGA, Maggie spent a year working for the nonprofit AthFest Educates and also served with the University Arts Council, the UGA Office of Government Relations, and the UGA Career Center. She also interned at Americans for the Arts in Washington DC and spent a Policy Exchange Maymester in South Korea and has also spent time in China, Italy and France.

Maggie says she eagerly anticipates the relationships she’ll develop during her Fulbright year.

“I am most looking forward to connecting with my students and making new friends overseas,” she says. “I’m so excited to exchange our cultures and learn about Korean life. I hope I can share my American values with them as well—and definitely teach them how to call the Dawgs.”

At the conclusion of her Fulbright experience, Maggie will move to Washington, D.C., where she has accepted a job as an analyst on the federal strategy and operations team at Deloitte.