Senior wins Fulbright scholarship to teach in Indonesia
April 22, 2010 By Leigh Ivey
grant to teach English in Indonesia. Next year will not be the
first time Furth has lived abroad; she spent a term in London in
2008, and among the landmarks she visited was Stonehenge,
Centre College students are known for their extraordinary success in winning national and international scholarships and awards. In the past 10 years, Centre has produced seven Goldwater Scholars, two Rhodes Scholars, 11 Rotary Scholars, and, with the addition of Centre’s newest Fulbright scholarship winner, 22 winners of this prestigious award.
Recently, Polly Furth ’10 of Boston received a Fulbright grant to teach English in Indonesia.
Established in 1946, the Fulbright Program has the goal of “increasing mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries” through educational and cultural exchange. Students apply for Fulbright scholarships, which provide funding for one year of post-graduate study or teaching English throughout the world, during their senior year of college.
Furth, an English major, says she chose to apply for a Fulbright position in Indonesia “because it seemed like one of those opportunities to try living somewhere totally new and foreign and daring—that's what Indonesia is to me. Dr. Gareth Barkin, who used to teach anthropology at Centre, first got me interested in Indonesia, and then last summer I read a great Indonesian novel, This Earth of Mankind, that cemented its appeal.”
After learning that she had been awarded the scholarship, Furth’s initial reaction was “overwhelming relief,” she says. “I feel like people don't talk about the anxiety of being a college senior—how terrifying it is to not know where you'll be or what you'll be doing in a year. So to finally have some certainty, to know that I'll have a job—let alone an exciting, amazing one—after graduation was a huge relief.”
She also feels confident that her years at Centre have prepared her for the challenges that are sure to come her way as she begins a new life of teaching in a foreign country.
“Centre has showed me examples of the kind of teacher I want to become,” she says. “My professors have demanded nothing less than the most creativity, thoughtfulness and hard work I can offer. I hope next year I can challenge my students with the same warmth and intelligence that Centre professors have shown me.”