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alyson pittman, rwanda, 2013-2014
Fulbright Scholar Alyson Pittman

Fulbright Year: 2013-2014
Country: Rwanda        
Proposal Type: English Teaching Assistantship
Undergraduate Degree: Economics and English Literature
Graduation Date: May 2012
Hometown: Bainbridge, Georgia

While she’ll spend her Fulbright year teaching English in Rwanda, Alyson Pittman also has plans to devote as much time as possible working with grassroots economic development organizations in the African republic.

“The Fulbright ETA offers me the opportunity blend my interests and experiences in economic development in the East African region with my qualifications as an English language classroom instructor,” Alyson, who will teach at Rwanda Tourism University College in Giseny, says.

“My experiences in East African and Central Europe have taught me that English is a viable tool for cultural engagement and global exposure, and I am eager to professionally explore the economic impact of teaching English as a foreign language.”

Alyson, who has also studied, taught, and volunteered in Hungary, Uganda, and Tanzania, adds that she looks forward to settling in Rwanda.

“I’ve been to East Africa twice before—once as part of a UGA study abroad program to Tanzania and again as an intern in Uganda—and I cannot wait to get back, this time for a more extended period of time,” she says. “The pace of life is so different from America or Europe, where I lived this past year, teaching English in Budapest, and Rwanda is one of the most beautiful countries I’ve ever visited.”

Alyson adds she’s particularly eager to study the way that the expansion of educational opportunities for females influences building the economy in Rwanda.

“Rwanda has been especially progressive in promoting female education beyond the primary level,” says Alyson. “I am interested in studying the effects of women’s participation in the education system—whether as classroom instructors, headmasters, or policymakers—on the opportunities available to female students.”

Alyson says following her year in Rwanda, it’s likely she’ll return to the United States, although her plans include a return engagement in Africa.

“After my Fulbright year, I plan to see where the world takes me,” she says. “I’d love to stay in Africa and continue working with women’s rights and economic development NGOs, but I’m also keeping options open to continue teaching in another country or possibly pursuing a career back in the States.”

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