saraNonprofit Management student Sara Gallagher has won a prestigious Fulbright award to teach English in the country of Georgia! The Fulbright Program is a highly competitive, merit-based grant program for international educational exchange for students, scholars, teachers, professionals, scientists and artists, founded by United States Senator J. William Fulbright in 1946. Recipients of the reward receive scholarships to study, conduct research, or exercise their talents abroad. We asked Sara a couple questions about her plans:

Milano School: Can you explain your Fulbright fellowship?

Sara Gallagher: My fellowship is an ETA (English Teaching Assistantship) award which means I will be teaching English at a regional university. Georgia has a goal to make English its official second language by the year 2020. Achieving this will lead Georgia to engage in better relations with the European Union, strengthen tourism infrastructure, and preserve its cultural heritage. Because of this, I see English language education as a springboard to better economic prospects for people living in the country. In addition to teaching I’ll be running a creative writing program at the university because I see writing as a way to teach students to express themselves with precision and passion. Students will be encouraged to share their work online to make themselves visible in public space as new civil voices.

[feather_share skin=”wheel” size=”24″]

Milano School: Why did you choose to apply for a Fulbright?

Sara Gallagher: I saw a Fulbright scholarship to be a vital component to my career in public service both at home and abroad.
Fulbright allowed me to mesh my passion for Eurasia with my skills in education. Since I was eighteen years old, I’ve had this passion for Eastern Europe that’s gotten deeper as I’ve gotten older. It started when I listened to ethnic Russian music. Listening to these songs led me to learn the Cyrillic alphabet, a whole new language, and the breakup of the Soviet Union into the great countries that have resulted. This is what inspired me to get my degree in Nonprofit Management and focus on global management because I wanted to have a career that allowed me to interact with people from the former Soviet Union. Concurrently I see education as a way of building civil society in new democracies and this is something that’s been reinforced to me as I’ve served as a mentor to young women in the north Caucasus, an advisor to a private schools in Kyrgyzstan wishing to build up their English language programs, and when I studied abroad in Russia myself. Now I aspire to improve the lives of Georgia’s citizens as only a resident can. 

GeorgiaMilano School: What are you most excited about for your Fulbright?

Sara Gallagher: Georgia is a place that has really stolen my heart. I enjoy the polyphonic Georgian folk songs and the table songs from Khaketi. The music is passionate and lyrical, and was a segue into language and culture lessons I’ve carried with me for over a decade. I will relish the chance to interact with Georgia’s future leaders and give them the tools needed for personal and professional success. 

Congratulations, Sara! Best of luck!