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geoffrey nolan, colombia, 2013-2014
Fulbright Scholar Geoffrey Nolan

Fulbright Year: 2013-2014
Country: Colombia
Proposal Type: English Teaching Assistantship
UGA Undergraduate Majors: International Affairs and Spanish
Graduation Date: May 2013
Hometown: Oxford, Georgia

Geoffrey Nolan begins his Fulbright year on an English teaching assistantship in Colombia as eager to learn as he is to teach.

“I am enthusiastically waiting to participate in all things that will give me an authentic cultural experience,” Geoffrey says. “Fulbright is a cultural exchange, not just giving me the opportunity to live in another country, but allowing those around me in Colombia to also learn about the United States in an unconventional way.”

When he’s not teaching English at la Universidad del Norte in Barranquilla, Colombia’s fourth-largest city, Geoffrey will spend his time volunteering in pursuits to improve education in the wake of the country’s decades-long unrest.

“I will be exploring the issue of internal displacement resulting from the Colombian Armed Conflict through volunteering at various nonprofits dedicated to serving those who have been forced to flee their homes in the countryside and come to large urban areas like Barranquilla, which are generally more secure. Access to education for these displaced persons is of particular interest to me and I am excited to see firsthand the excellent work these nonprofits are undertaking to ensure that the children of Colombia have access to education.”

Prior to his Fulbright year in Colombia, Geoffrey enjoyed study abroad experiences in Costa Rica, Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay, and was a coordinator in both Athens and Philadelphia for Teach For America. “I am most looking forward to the cultural exchanges between myself and my Colombian students,” he says. “I plan to immerse myself in the Colombian culture and discover the intricacies that make Colombia great,” Geoffrey says.

Although he’s unsure of his next step at the conclusion of his Fulbright year, Geoffrey is adamant about the fields where he wants to work. He said he’ll either remain in Colombia and pursue a job “in humanitarian aid or education” or return to the United States and work in education and human rights.

“I know this Fulbright year is going to be life-changing,” he says. “I’m going to experience so many new things that I could never even dreamed of and I can’t even imagine the direction that my life will take a year from now. I am keeping my options open, but still intending to enter into some field that will give me the opportunity to empower others and change my community, wherever that may be.”

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