By Olivia Montes
On Nov. 19, the Washington College Departments of Anthropology and Education, in conjunction with the Douglass Cater Society of Junior Fellows, hosted a discussion and a provided light lunch with Emily Hall ’14 in Hynson Lounge from noon to 1 p.m.
The discussion was designed to allow any WC student “interested in international education, international development, internships, scholarships, and grants” to hear Hall’s experiences transitioning from college to the workforce, as well as “how she received scholarships and grants to further her work,” according to the flyer.
According to Associate Professor of Anthropology and Assistant Dean for Student Achievement and Retention Dr. Aaron Lampman, who collaborated with Hall both in and out of the classroom during her time at the College, the goal of having Hall initiate this talk was to “highlight national scholarship/fellowship opportunities” and how this experience can help individuals grow into their own as members of a larger community.
“[Hall’s talk] meant to inspire our students to reach for ambitious goals and consider working to improve the lives of impoverished and oppressed peoples around the world,” Dr. Lampman said.
“[She] serves as an example that getting such fellowships is not only [just] doing, but worth doing, as a year teaching in Nepal has so deeply changed her life.”
After graduating from WC with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and teaching, Hall traveled to Gorkha, Nepal under the guidance of the cultural exchange initiative U.S. Fulbright Program as an English teaching assistant from 2014 to 2015. She currently works as a development manager for AGE Africa: Advancing Girls’ Education in providing education, leadership, and mentoring opportunities to female-identifying individuals in Malawi.
According to Hall, working as an ETA in the Fulbright Program was one of many experiences in which, in addition to interacting with both students and fellow student teachers, she learned the value of contributing to the field of international education, which she said is the core of “promoting intercultural understanding” and connecting countries with one another across the world.
“International education…is a very interdisciplinary study,” she said. “[It addresses] how we teach global citizenship [and] how we prepare students and how we can be very curriculum-focused in training students…and planning and implementing educational reform.”
“I think what Hall means is that education is one of the most important pathways to freedom to think and act for oneself, [and] in so many impoverished and oppressed regions, people do not have access to education, and when they do that education serves as a form of mind control by instilling values that support elites,” Dr. Lampman said. “[Hall] believes that education should produce critical and creative thinkers who feel that they can advocate for themselves and others and make a difference in the world. As a result, international education is a vehicle for freeing people.”
In addition to discussing her experiences living and working in Nepal, Hall also discussed reasons why attending students should consider joining organizations and programs that specialize in promoting international education, as well as how WC students can prepare for applying for international education programs, including collaborating with professors, maximizing on quality experiences that pertain to one’s interests, and consistently building one’s resume through job and internship opportunities.
According to Hall, participating in the field not only opens a wide range of job opportunities for students, but also allows them to further hone one’s skills, including strengthening time management, working in a fast-paced, ever-changing environment, and building up “a portfolio of work that speaks to [a student’s] interests.”
“[This is] a great way to see the world and learn more about yourself,” Hall said. “When I came back [from Nepal], just finding that gratitude…[and] making a difference in the lives of students International and intercultural exchange [was] beneficial. When we share what we know to help others, it’s really helpful.”