ONIF Alumna Spotlight
December 14, 2018
Name: Andrea Castellanos
Degree: M.A. in Educational Studies
Graduation Year: 2016
Fellowship Award: I have received a 2018 Fulbright ETA award to Spain. This is a fully funded grant to teach abroad and complete a side project of my choosing. I’m currently teaching Elementary school English and science, while I do research on early language acquisition for English language learners.
What are your current or future career plans? I have a real passion for education, working with kids, and researching linguistics and language. This has only been strengthened by my experiences learning about the Spanish educational system, which is currently becoming entirely bi-lingual. I’d like to continue doing research on early language acquisition, to eventually receive a Ph.D. and become an education professor. I believe the future of American education is in dual-language education, and I want to prepare teachers for working with English language learners, specifically through play, art, and blended learning.
What have you enjoyed most about the program? I have enjoyed traveling through Spain among fellow Fulbrighters. Even just within one country, there are so many different language variations, food, art and ways of living. It’s fascinating to be able to have these experiences alongside Fulbrighters with similar career goals.
What has been the most challenging part of the program? The most challenging aspect has been adapting to the Spanish language variation in northern Spain. I am a fluent Spanish speaker, however, I’ve had to adapt to the style differences and jargon of the region. I didn’t realize how distinct Latin-American Spanish was to Asturian Spanish until I felt lost in conversation.
What advice do you have for future applicants? My advice for future applicants is to have many people read and edit their application essays. If feasible, attend a personal statement writing workshop. It was the most valuable thing I did for my application. In addition, Fulbright looks for well-rounded students that have done interesting things while in college or graduate school, so make sure your essays reflect that.
What would people be surprised to know about you? I want to be trilingual, so I’m excited to be learning Italian at one of the official language schools in Spain.
Catedral De Oviedo Quiroz Mountain Piano Concert
The Fulbright U.S. Student Program offers research, study, and teaching opportunities in over 140 countries to recent graduates and graduate students. For more information, visit https://us.fulbrightonline.org/fulbright-us-student-program or contact ONIF.