Peter Andrews, a recent master’s graduate in English with a focus on linguistics, has been named a Fulbright U.S. Student Program grant recipient to serve as an English Teaching Assistant in Taiwan. He will teach English at several primary schools in Taiwan’s Yilan County beginning in January.
Andrews was interested in Taiwan because he has studied Chinese since he was in elementary school. As a linguist, he found Taiwan interesting because of several different indigenous languages spoken there that are not related to Chinese.
“I’ve always had a connection with Chinese culture, Chinese speaking people. And I really wanted to go to Taiwan because I also have an interest in language revitalization, which is about making long-lasting multipurpose records of a language that a community might be able to use, for example, like dictionaries or learner materials or recording people telling stories,” Andrews said.
Back in December, he visited Taiwan for the first time, before he even learned he was a semi-finalist for the Fulbright. The trip convinced him that he had made the right choice. “I stayed in Taipei for a week. And something about it really clicked with me,” Andrews said. “I wanted to go see what it was like, and it was amazing.”
Andrews started his application for the Fulbright in June 2019 and spent three months working on it with the UFO’s Courtney Hughes. He also had a language evaluation of his Chinese by a faculty member at NC State. “We went through several rounds of edits and an interview process,” he said. “The goal is to make your application more cohesive. After the interview process, I was able to incorporate all of the feedback that they gave me in order to strengthen my application.”
Andrews wants to pursue a Ph.D. in linguistics, so he hopes the Fulbright experience will help him learn more about Taiwan and make connections there in academia. In addition to gaining knowledge, he hopes to leave something behind for the communities there.
“With language documentation, one very important aspect is how you get involved and how you contribute,” He said. “What we’re trying to move towards is really being community-focused and creating resources that are helpful to the community not just helpful to scholars.”
In the schools where he works, for instance, he would like to be involved with indigenous culture clubs or music clubs to learn about the culture and language there. “Outside of that, I know that Fulbright organizes a lot of service experiences that you can do with other Fulbrighters and get out into the community and do a service project or help out in some capacity. Both of those experiences would be great.”
Written By: Natalie E. Hampton, The Graduate School Director of Marketing and Communication