Bethany College is hosting three recipients of the prestigious Fulbright scholarship who will be teaching foreign languages during the school’s 2019-2020 academic year.
Engaged through Fulbright’s cultural exchange program’s foreign language teaching assistantship, Aya Atwa, of Egypt, Chu-Yun Hsueh, of Taiwan, and Léa Serres, of France, will be teaching language courses in Arabic, Chinese, and French.
Atwa, from Cairo, has taught English in Egypt and India and works as an artistic roller-skating trainer at a Cairo sports club. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in applied linguistics from Cairo University. Her arrival at Bethany marks her first visit to the U.S.
Serres, from Brest, holds a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Western Brittany and a master’s degree in applied linguistics from the University of Rennes.
Hsueh, from Taiwan, holds a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in educational psychology and counseling. She has taught for nine years at an elementary school in Taiwan and has taught Mandarin to immigrants.
In addition to their teaching duties, Atwa, Serres, and Hsueh will be part-time students and reside on campus.
Atwa praised the institution’s quiet, which she finds conducive to study.
“The best thing I felt so far about Bethany College is that it combines a very peaceful atmosphere with a super active learning environment, which provides me with an enriching teaching and learning experience,” she said.
According to Dr. Harald Menz, the college’s director of international studies, the Fulbright program began at Bethany in 2011 as a way to broaden the spectrum of world languages and cultures taught on campus.
The first Fulbright teaching assistant at Bethany added Arabic language and culture to the curriculum. Based on the success of that program, the college added a teaching assistant in Mandarin Chinese in 2015, Menz said.
This year marks the first time Bethany has hosted a Fulbright Scholar in French.
The Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistantship Program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and is designed to develop Americans’ knowledge of foreign cultures and languages.
The Fulbright program was founded by U.S. Senator J. William Fulbright in 1946 and is considered one of the most widely recognized and prestigious scholarships in the world.
Bethany College is a private, liberal arts college in Bethany, West Virginia, founded in 1840 by Alexander Campbell and was the first institution of higher education in what is now West Virginia.