Recent GSLIS graduate Tiffanie Bui has earned a Fulbright English teaching assistantship to Norway for the 2012-2013 academic year.
Bui will be splitting her time between the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (UMB) and Ås Upper Secondary School in Aas, Norway, a short distance from Oslo. At UMB, Bui will be working in the Department of International Environment and Development Studies' Writing Centre, teaching information literacy and research skills. She will also be a teaching assistant in the writing courses and working on UMB's recent grant to explore digital technology to enhance feedback on student writing. In the upper secondary school, she will be assisting teachers and serving as a resource person in conversation and writing groups and giving talks related to American studies.
“I hope to help students navigate the world of information, make discoveries about the English language, and better understand different aspects of American culture,” says Bui, “I also plan to teach a few zine-making workshops.”
Bui’s interest in Norway stems from her fascination with Norwegian folktale and storytelling, but it wasn't until last year when her father, a former major in the South Vietnamese Marines, reconnected with an old war buddy living in Norway that the possibility of visiting and working in the country occurred to her. Originally from Vietnam, Bui discovered another facet about the country that instantly appealed to her.
“I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the Vietnamese are one of the largest immigrant communities in Norway. I thought to myself, "Wow, I would really love to meet some Vietnamese-Norwegians!" she says, “I also saw this as an opportunity to explore and share my story as a Vietnamese immigrant and American citizen. I believe what I have to offer will resonate with people in Norway, especially as the country shifts from ethnically homogenous to increasingly multicultural.”
Bui applied for the assistantship through UIUC with the help of the National and International Scholarships Program, and earning the Fulbright has already expanded her vision for her professional future.
“This is an excellent opportunity to build upon the skills and knowledge I have gained as an educator thus far,” Bui says, “My heart will always remain in libraries, but to be honest, I have no idea what's in store for me when I get back. For the first time in my life, I don't really have a plan...and it's exhilarating!”
The goal of the Fulbright program, administered by the U.S. Department of State, is to promote cross-cultural interaction and mutual understanding through students’ engagement in their host communities. The Fulbright program annually awards 1,700 academic-year grants to U.S. graduating college seniors, recent alumni, and current master’s and doctoral students.