By Tela Wittig
A Fulbright scholarship is a prestigious honor, especially when awarded for a Spanish-speaking country, one of the most competitive programs with 394 applications submitted last year. Fortunately, Adela Perez-Franco, who graduated from the School of Diplomacy and International Relations in May, was one of three scholarship recipients from the Seton Hall Class of 2016.
Adela chose to spend a year assisting in an English classroom in Madrid, Spain. Aside from English, she teaches geography and history to students from the first to the fourth grades (the equivalent of middle school in the United States education system).
Experience and acquaintances here at Seton Hall University pushed her toward this program, so much that she said it simply “seemed like the next logical step.” Adela realized that she enjoyed working with students when she volunteered as an English as a second language tutor for the Don Bosco program through the university’s Division of Volunteer Efforts (DOVE). She also worked one-on-one with students as a tutor in the Academic Resource Center on campus. Most important, her Italian professor, Dr. Gabriella Romani, told Adela about the Fulbright scholarship and encouraged her to apply.
As if teaching three subjects to middle school students in a foreign language was not enough, Adela is also taking on a huge commitment in the Model United Nations program, which had solidified her decision to spend this year in Madrid. She is working primarily with third grade students to educate them on the many world issues that they will be encountering as their knowledge of the international system grows. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals are particularly important for the students to familiarize themselves with, according to Adela, so she plans to put special emphasis in that knowledge. The institute that she is working with sends 10 delegates to a regional conference, from which the Spanish representatives of this year’s Middle School Global Classrooms International Model United Nations Conference in New York City will be selected.
Adela believes that by teaching English to her students, she is opening doors for them in the future. More than just teaching English as a second language, she is her students’ minds to a global classroom where they can learn from diverse cultural exchanges. In addition, she is helping students improve their writing, critical thinking, research, and public speaking skills, and hopes to build their self-confidence.
Adela is planning to take the Law School Aptitude Test (LSAT) while she is abroad, and upon her return in June 2017, she plans to attend law school to study international law.
By Tela Wittig