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christine pardue, bulgaria, 2014-2015
Fulbright Scholar Christine Pardue

Fulbright Year: 2014-2015

Country: Bulgaria
Proposal Type: English Teaching Assistantship
UGA Undergraduate Major: English
Graduation Date: Spring 2014
Hometown: Cleveland, Georgia

Christine Pardue considers herself a “cross-cultural educator,” and she’s earned her stripes as an ESL conversation tutor, an English teacher at a Hungarian kindergarten, and as a mentor and tutor to underserved students not far from the UGA campus.

During her Fulbright year in Gabrovo, Bulgaria, Christine will teach high school conversational English, with an emphasis on American music, history, food, and social practices. She’ll also bring her love of literature into the classroom and will emphasize to her students the importance of the written word.

“Outside of school hours, I want to run a personal writing workshop – I’m interested in finding ways to use first-person forms like letters and personal essays to put myself and my students in conversation with our families, our histories, and each other,” Christine says.

While she has much to look forward to when arriving in Bulgaria, Christine says she can’t wait to avail herself of the country’s culinary offerings, another way for her to embrace the culture of her home for the 10 months.

“I am most looking forward to going to as many grocery stores as I can,” she says. “I’m kidding, but seriously – the food is a really diverse mixture of Mediterranean and Ottoman influences, among others, and I’m really excited to share and cook many Bulgarian meals. And I actually do look forward to going to the grocery stores and food markets.

“I love food shopping in unfamiliar places. It’s scary, but in a wonderful way, not knowing what items to buy to make a meal in this place and looking around to see what other people are buying to find out, and definitely doing it wrong anyway.”

And when she’s not delving into her local market, Christine says she plans to become very familiar with the majestic Balkan mountain range.

“Gabrovo is in the foothills of the Balkan Mountains and I’ve been told there’s a lot of good hiking nearby – nearby meaning you can step outside your door and be on a trail in about five minutes,” she said. “So I hope to spend a lot of time exploring in the mountains.”

Christine says she is open to remaining in Bulgaria at the conclusion of her Fulbright tenure. “I don’t know if I’ll be in a rush to leave,” she says, realizing it can take time to master Bulgarian and form long-lasting relationships. Upon her eventual return to the U.S., she intends to attend graduate school and study library science, English literature or creative writing.

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