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melissa siegel, malaysia, 2013-2014
Fulbright Scholar Melissa Siegel

MELISSA SIEGEL
Fulbright Year: 2013-2014
Country: Malaysia
Proposal Type: English Teaching Assistantship 
UGA Undergraduate Major: Political Science, French, and Sociology
Graduation Date: May 2013
Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia

When Melissa Siegel begins her Fulbright year teaching English in Malaysia, one of the hallmarks of her instructional style will feature something she’s held close to her heart for many years—music.

“I will incorporate the variety of instructional techniques I used as a mentor: vocabulary flash cards, faux phone conversations, story writing, and storytelling,” Melissa says. “Additionally, I will incorporate music into my curriculum. I have been singing and playing the piano since the age of 10. I will teach my students classic American songs with the goal of taking English and the United States culture out of an obscure context and into a more engaging one.”

Although Melissa—who adds she’s been learning foreign languages for the past 11 years—has an extensive background in international travel, her Fulbright experience will mark the first time she’s embarked upon Southeast Asia as a destination. She says she looks forward to the cultural immersion process all Fulbrights seek.

“I am most looking forward to getting to know my local community and my students,” she says. “I love learning foreign languages, so it will be interesting to take on the role as a teacher in the classroom. However, I know I will be spending a lot of time learning Malay and all about the Malaysian culture. I can’t wait to discover this exciting part of the world.”

In addition to her three undergraduate majors, Melissa served as a mentor through the Big Brother-Big Sister program, held key leadership positions in UGA HEROs (a philanthropy supporting children affected by HIV/AIDS in Georgia), and interned for U.S. representative and civil rights icon John Lewis.

When her teaching assignment in Malaysia concludes, Melissa says she’ll travel around Southeast Asia before returning stateside to study international affairs in graduate school.

“Ideally, I would like to work in the cultural outreach office of a United States embassy,” she says. “Ultimately, I will return to the U.S. and pursue an advanced degree in international relations. Although I have no definite career plans yet, I would either like to teach or work for the Department of State.”

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