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RACHEL TEPPER, Spain, 2018-2019

RACHEL TEPPER
Fulbright Year: 2018-2019
Country: Spain
Proposal Type: English Teaching Assistantship
UGA Undergraduate Major: International Affairs and Spanish
Graduation Date: Spring 2018
Hometown: Alpharetta, Georgia

Rachel Tepper’s intended career pathway always involved helping others, she said.

“My career trajectory changed more times than you could imagine, and I went from astronaut, to chemist, to marine biologist, to diplomat, among other noble career choices. Certainly ‘helping others’ is a vague job description but I always found that it was the one thing that influences my decisions in both potential careers and current endeavors.”

Rachel will spend her Fulbright year teaching English in La Rioja, Spain, and she sees this experience as an ideal pathway in both her professional and personal lives.

“I applied for a Fulbright because it was at the cross section of many of my interests— learning Spanish, international relations, and about other cultures,” she says. “I have worked with kids for many years in various jobs, and I was excited to have the chance to be a meaningful addition to the classroom.

“Experiences outside teaching are necessary for complete understanding of a country and awareness of the community at large. I plan to get involved in causes I find compelling in the United States, which includes religious acceptance and women’s rights.”

Rachel has been studying Spanish since the sixth grade and spent five months of study in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She also worked as a tutor in Athens with Oasis Católico, an after-school program for Latino students and, during her senior year at UGA, was vice president of operations for (Fem)me, which focused on women’s access to hygienic products.

“I was exposed to the far-reaching effects of community engagement through, tutoring, mentoring, and community outreach,” she says. “This Tuesday-and-Thursday routine represented a bond between us that went further than tutor and mentor. I also served as a life coach and cheerleader.”

Taking a page from UGA’s academic playbook, Rachel adds that she’ll make experiential learning a key factor in her work in La Rioja.

“In my academic experience, the most impactful teachers are the ones who reach outside of the confines of a classroom to teach lessons,” she says. “To engage students in innovative and meaningful ways, I plan to focus on experiential learning for both my students and myself. One of my favorite experiential learning experiences at UGA was Dr. Berejikian’s global simulation class that combined video games with international politics.”

Upon the completion of her Fulbright year, Rachel hints at an interest in studying law and points to a much bigger picture.

“I will have the chance to use my experiences in Spain to inform my future career goals,” she says. “I’ve always had an interest in human rights, and this has looked like different things over the years. I know that whatever I decide to do, it will most likely be related to human rights and equality in some fashion, and I hope that this translates to my classroom in Spain, as well.”