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amanda tysor, taiwan, 2019-2020

Fulbright Year: 2019-2020
Country: Taiwan
Proposal Type: English Teaching Assistantship
UGA Degree: Bachelor’s in International Affairs and Chinese; Master’s in Public Administration (dual degree program)
Graduation Date: Spring 2019
Hometown: Douglasville, Georgia

While Amanda Tysor will spend her Fulbright year teaching English in Taiwan’s coastal city of Taitung, she also looks forward to continuing to hone her skills in own language adventures.

“Learning Mandarin has been a passion of mine since high school, and I have been winding my college experience and career plans around that ever since,” she says. “Simply minoring in the language and taking the required courses for my degree wasn’t enough to reach my goals and I continue to seek out many creative ways to learn Mandarin.”

In 2017, Amanda – who says she didn’t become passionate about language learning until 2012, when she attended the Federal Service Language Academy -- received a Critical Language Scholarship to study in Dalian, China, and signed a pledge to speak not a word of English during her time there. In 2018, while studying in Oxford, she took one-on-one Mandarin tutorials and took part in topic-based roundtable discussions in Mandarin, which is spoken by some 870 million people.

Amanda has since constructed a considerable network of international allies who provide assistance in her language pursuits through natural interactions and local activities.

In addition to receiving the Critical Language Scholarship while at UGA, she served as president of the Education Abroad Ambassadors organization, was involved in the UGA Language Partner Program, had an internship with Athens-based TradeSecure (conducting research on security, trade, and customs regulations), and had study abroad experiences in South Africa, Botswana, and the United Kingdom.

“My language learning experience has shaped my career goals and my journey quite a bit, and I also look forward to flipping the scenario and helping enthusiastic students learn more about the English language and American culture,” she says. “I hope that I can draw inspiration from my own out-of-the-box language learning experiences and bring that to my classroom in Taitung.”

Besides making teaching English and Mandarin second nature, Amanda plans to focus on learning more about the democratic nature of Taiwan and how it relates to China.

“Though China and Taiwan are culturally similar and share a language, they are quite politically different and I hope to learn more about how democratic values have shaped Taiwan,” she says. “In completing my (Master’s) specialization in public policy and finishing my International Affairs undergraduate degree, I focused my research projects on trade security and U.S. trade relationships with China and Taiwan.

“Between my research, faculty mentorship, and my Mandarin language learning community, I have made a lot of connections in Taiwan already and I hope to gain insight on policy issues, from international trade dilemmas to local political issues.”

After her Fulbright experience, Amanda says she’d like to work in national security, with a “dream job” goal of working as a foreign service officer in the U.S. Department of State. She says she’s interested in intelligence analyst or research associate positions relating to East Asian studies and international trade.

“I see an English Teaching Assistantship as the bridge between an academic experiences which has centered around language learning and cultural immersion and a career in East Asian trade policy. I hope my English Teaching Assistantship is a rewarding experience in allowing me to teach a topic I am excited about, but also in challenging me to build new and deeper relationships, to practice my own language skills, and be prepared for my future career.”