Centre College graduate Siera Hanks ’18 recently received a Fulbright award to teach English at Ider University in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. In addition, she will be organizing linguistic and cultural exchange events in the city, as well as facilitating positive relationships between young people from the U.S. and Mongolia.
“I have always held the Fulbright in high regard and was encouraged to apply my senior year by professors at Centre,” Hanks explained. “I have a background in teaching, tutoring and working with folks who are learning English, so I was very excited by the opportunity to teach.
“I applied in 2018, and was rejected, but I applied again,” she continued. “Educators and counselors who believed in me and mentored me have made all the difference in my ability to even momentarily feel the confidence needed to press the submit button on the application page. Centre really does provide so many opportunities to explore a broader, more global sense of self, and I think that’s why I needed to become a Fulbright Scholar.”
Hanks describes this award as an opportunity for her to be a part of a broader world system of education and diplomacy that can be inaccessible otherwise.
“I had dreamed of working in Mongolia after undergrad since high school, so this also represents a fulfillment of a much longer-term set of hopes and goals,” she added.
Hanks said she is looking forward to meeting new people and learning more about how people in Mongolia see themselves as part of the world today.
“I am excited for the training I will receive and the opportunity to teach English to English language learners again,” she added. “Also, I would be lying if I didn’t say I was mega excited about the opportunity to hang out in a few Gers—a central Asian tent dwelling also known as a yurt.”
Through this experience, Hanks hopes to gain valuable teaching skills, a sense of competence in the things she does and build new relationships that she can carry with her into her future endeavors.
by Kerry Steinhofer
May 16, 2019