Mia Azizah of Lincoln, a May 2020 graduate of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, has been awarded a Fulbright grant to teach English in Timor-Leste.
Azizah chose the Southeast Asian nation because of its linguistic, cultural and historical connection to her birthplace, Indonesia, and her native-language proficiency in Bahasa Indonesia. Timor-Leste was part of Indonesia until it gained independence in 2002. Azizah has traveled to Timor-Leste on a personal visit, where she witnessed the country’s multilingualism in which Tetum, Timor-Leste’s native language, is spoken alongside Portuguese and Bahasa Indonesia.
Azizah is a graduate in journalism, and advertising and public relations, with a minor in political science. As a writing consultant with the UNL Writing Center, she helped international students develop their writing skills.
“I applied for a Fulbright because I would like to gain professional abroad experience working with multilingual learners,” she said. “I hope that my teaching experience in Timor-Leste will prepare me to achieve my goal of operating and working in higher education to assist students who know multiple languages.”
Outside of the classroom, Azizah plans to lead a student newspaper club for university and other post-secondary students in Timor-Leste. She will also engage with local artists who are part of the ceramics production training and entrepreneurship course at the East Timor Development Agency, a vocational training center funded by the USAID Tourism for All Project. The program teaches Timorese to improve their economic independence and business skills.
In the final month of her grant period, she will fulfill her required assignment at UmaAmerika, a learning center established by the U.S. Embassy. She plans to start a college-level writing center and conduct one-on-one tutoring sessions with students to assist them in their English skills.
Upon completing her Fulbright, Azizah plans to combine her skills in integrated communications and teaching English as a second language to serve the needs of students and writers in Nebraska’s growing immigrant and refugee community.
The Fulbright Program, the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government, is designed to forge lasting connections between Americans and citizens of other countries; counter misunderstandings; and help people and nations work together toward common goals. Since its establishment in 1946, the program has enabled more than 390,000 students, scholars, artists, teachers and professionals of all backgrounds to study, teach and conduct research; exchange ideas; and find solutions to shared international concerns.