Alex Peterson, a Snow College professor, is Fulbright Scholar in South America. He has the opportunity to teach English as a Second/Foreign Language in Chile.
“I had heard about the Fulbright program when I was in college, but I didn’t know much about it until a few years ago,” said Peterson. He had wanted to take his family overseas and live for a while and the Fulbright program was the perfect arrangement.
Peterson’s responsibilities in Chile are to teach and do research. Right now he is working for the Universidad de Santiago de Chile, a large university with a rich tradition of education in South America. He is teaching two classes: one to fourth year undergraduates, and another to graduate students.
His research with Fulbright has to do with using project-based learning ideas in Chile. This is a country that has a very traditional education structure in their foreign language classes. “ Essentially, I’m working to try to help teachers think of class projects that help build student motivation and autonomy in a system that focuses more on grammar and dialogues,” Peterson explains.
“The government of Chile wanted to bring teachers to their country to help improve their English classes for elementary and secondary students. Many students take English for six to eight years, but still have very low communicative competence. Part of the reason is students don’t want to learn English and don’t see why it is valuable to them. In a small way I’m trying to help with that issue,” clarifies Peterson.
Peterson also has the responsibility of instigating cultural exchange opportunities in Chile and back here to Snow College. His goal is to eventually find Chilean students who are looking to study in Utah, or set up a program to bring Snow College students to Chile. He wants to help bring about discussion on global topics.
He would also like to help in smaller ways. He said, “My class here in Chile had a Skype exchange with Paul Gardner’s class on climate change in Ephraim a couple of weeks ago. We discussed what the opinions and priorities of people in Chile are in regards to development, responsibility, and climate change.”
Aside from the culture shock and cultural differences, Peterson and his family seem to really enjoy living in Chile. “I love living in a new country with my family. I have young sons, age three and seven, and we have different cultural adventures every day,” he said.
Peterson encourages students and faculty members interested in the Fulbright program to check it out and apply. “There are exchanges all over the world, in 155 countries,” said Peterson. “Snow College has relationships with several international universities where students can study abroad.”
The Center for Global Engagement can answer any questions that Snow College students may have about studying overseas. For more information on Fulbright visit http://www.cies.org/about-us/what-fulbright.