University of Nebraska–Lincoln senior Azlin Armstrong has earned a Fulbright award, allowing her to travel and live in Bulgaria for an academic year and teach English.
Armstrong, of Ankeny, Iowa, has considerable experience teaching English to students from a wide variety of cultures and language backgrounds, both in the Lincoln area and abroad.
While a sophomore at the university, Armstrong taught English as a Second Language classes at Lincoln Literacy. She taught five classes a week, and through this immersive classroom experience, she began to understand the importance of literacy training to help people function happily within their communities.
She also spent two summers abroad in Istanbul, Turkey, teaching English at Robert College’s English-immersion summer program.
There, Armstrong, who is majoring in in advertising and public relations, broadcasting and English, not only worked with students on their language skills, but incorporated her knowledge of journalism and started a newspaper club. By the end of the summer, students who previously had been hesitant to write in English were composing short stories, opinion pieces on program policies, original photography and artwork and responses to political happenings.
“I’m overjoyed to have this opportunity to experience Bulgarian culture,” Armstrong said. “I believe my time in Bulgaria will allow me to build upon my understanding of the Balkan region and Ottoman history, but from an entirely different perspective. I’m so excited for what’s to come.”
Outside of the classroom, Armstrong plans to volunteer with Bulgarian English speech and debate tournaments. As a coach, she wants to create a positive learning environment where students can think strategically and gain confidence through public speaking. In addition, she plans to join a dance group and learn Bulgarian dances, while sharing American styles of dance.
Upon returning to the United States, Armstrong wants to pursue a career as an English teacher for non-native speakers.