IU’s Hamilton Lugar School is hosting ten Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistants from around the world in the 2019-2020 academic year. The FLTAs will draw on their knowledge of language and culture as they teach a variety of courses and take an active role in the HLS community.
The FLTA Program, sponsored by the US Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, provides the opportunity for language teachers from around the world to teach in US universities and participate in the extracurricular life of their department, school, and campus. The FLTAs gain teaching experience and advance their professional goals as they share their high level of regional knowledge with students.
This year’s FLTAs, who are teaching Bengali, Kiswahili, and Urdu, among many other languages, took part in a competitive application process that included nomination by a US Embassy or a Fulbright Commission to qualify for the program. The program looks for innovative, enthusiastic, creative teachers, and HLS students will benefit not only from their teachers’ linguistic knowledge but also from their life experiences.
During their exciting and meaningful year at IU, FLTAs will draw upon their language skills, regional expertise, and global knowledge—all important values to the Hamilton Lugar School—to enliven their classes and make an impact on HLS students.
Sanni Törmänen, who is teaching Finnish through the FLTA program, wants to share with her students her enthusiasm for the Finnish language as well as important parts of Finnish culture, including equality between people and care for the environment, she says. She plans on using “fun and relatable” movies, as well as other pedagogical tools like comic strips, to teach students about Finnish culture. She wants to push against stereotypes and instead make students “more familiar with the modern Finland.”
Törmänen hopes to gain things, too, from her time in Bloomington. “I want to have these eye-opening experiences and conversations,” she says. “Through the things I learn, I want to become a more aware and a more active person and citizen.”
Dishari Chattaraj, who is teaching Bengali, echoes the benefits of the program. “This Fulbright gives me a very good opportunity to meet a lot of new people whom otherwise I would never have met in my entire life,” she says.
Chattaraj hopes to share crucial aspects of India with her students, especially how India is a “multilingual, multicultural country.” She wants her students to understand “how we live our lives basically amidst diversity,” echoing HLS’s commitment to celebrating differences and seeking shared understanding.
Below is a list of this year’s Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistants, including the language they are teaching and their department or program.
Tattybubu Aidarova: Kyrgyz, Department of Central Eurasian Studies
Dishari Chattaraj: Bengali, Dhar India Studies Program
Suparat Gulkong: Thai, Southeast Asian and ASEAN Studies Program
Qammar-un-nissa Jatoi: Urdu, Dhar India Studies Program
Twalha Kassaisa: Kiswahili, African Studies Program
Meruyert Omirzakova: Kazakh, Department of Central Eurasian Studies
Berlin Pranedya: Indonesian, Southeast Asian and ASEAN Studies Program
Eylül Sözen: Turkish, Department of Central Eurasian Studies
Khaing Thant: Burmese, Southeast Asian and ASEAN Studies Program
Sanni Törmänen: Finnish, Department of Central Eurasian Studies