2016 Fulbrights: Aaron Hostetler
University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate Aaron Hostetler, who has been teaching English in South Korea since September 2015, may not be returning to the U.S. any time soon. Hostetler has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Turkey for the 2016-17 academic year.
This will be Hostetler’s second time in Turkey, his first having been a three-week trip in 2014. During his first stay in Turkey, Hostetler connected to the similarities between the rural communities outside Erzurum and the farm he grew up on in Pleasant Dale.
“Cafes and small restaurants served as the primary social centers, religion played an integral role in daily life, and close-knit families were at the heart of it all,” Hostetler said.
He said he hopes to deepen this connection between the communities of Turkey and his hometown during his Fulbright assistantship.
That personal goal is consistent with the purpose of the Fulbright Program, established in 1946 and funded by the U.S. Department of State to foster understanding between the United States and other countries. The U.S. Student Fulbright program gives recent graduates, graduate students and young professionals the opportunity to conduct research, study or teach in one of 160 designated countries. Recipients such as Hostetler are awarded the Fulbright on the basis of academic and professional achievement, as well as their potential for leadership in their fields.
During his undergraduate career, Hostetler, a University Honors Program student, fostered his English teaching skills by mentoring elementary students in after-school programs; tutoring college students in literature and history; assisting international students with an intensive English language program; and facilitating intercultural programs as a resident assistant for international and American residents at UNL’s international residence hall.
Hostetler, who graduated from UNL in May 2015 with majors in English and history, said he picked Turkey for his Fulbright ETA because of his interest in Ottoman history and because of the country's role in U.S. affairs.
While in Turkey, Hostetler plans to engage with the local community by starting an English-language club where he will present U.S. and British films, novels, plays and short stories. The club also will sponsor creative writing workshops to foster intercultural dialogue. In addition, Hostetler will work with refugees and conduct research on how Turkey has been affected by an influx of refugees.
Upon his return from Turkey, Hostetler said he hopes to use his Fulbright experiences to help intercultural communication and settlement in America. He plans to obtain a law degree with a concentration in human rights and international law.
"Afterwards, I intend to provide low-cost legal services to immigrants and refugees living in the U.S.," he said.