UMF Fullbright Scholar Teaches English in Spain

UMF Fullbright Scholar Teaches English in Spain

By Kristen Hill Contributing Writer

Travis Bent, a 2016 UMF graduate, spent nine months in Madrid, Spain as an English teaching assistant (ETA), which was fully funded through the Fulbright Scholar Program.

   “One of the main objectives of a Fulbright Grantee is to be a “cultural Ambassador” Bent said. The Fulbright Program is an American scholarship program which encourages international education exchange. Graduates across the nation compete for this scholarship that gives them the opportunity to conduct research, study or teach abroad. The only basic requirement is a U.S. bachelor’s degree but Bent said, “One should keep in mind that you are competing with a nation of applicants, so it is highly competitive.”

   Bent’s teachers pushed him to apply for this scholarship because they believed he had a great chance of getting it. The first decision he had to make was whether he wanted to do research or be a teaching assistant. He then had to choose which country he wanted to teach in. Bent graduated with a Bachelor’s in History as well as minors in Spanish, French and International and Global Studies.

2016 Graduate and Fullbright Scholar, Travid Bent.

   “My main thought with this was, I am only going to apply to the place that I could dream of myself being in, a country that I loved and knew a lot about, which was Spain,” Bent said. He began taking Spanish is eighth grade and continued all the way through college.

   Bent spent his time in Spain as an ETA at IES Ramiro de Maeztu, one of the biggest public schools in the country, where he taught three classes a day.

   “The school I taught at was a bilingual school, so I was actually teaching subjects in English rather than Spanish,” Bent said. Bent taught classes on 20th century history and social media. He usually worked around 18 hours a week, and in addition, he taught private classes that he could charge significantly more for.

   “The English level of the students was extremely high, which made my job easy,” Bent said. During his journey, Bent stayed with a Spaniard who showed him the way and helped him with his Spanish. Bent said, “We were in charge of finding our own living quarters from the start. The process of finding a piso [apartment] took me about two weeks, before then I was in a hostel.”

   Before going to Spain, Bent had saved some money but “the money they gave us was more than enough to comfortably live and travel on,” he said.

   The Fulbright Scholar application process includes a decision on conducting research, to study or to be an ETA and then where you want to be located. The application includes a general information form, three letters of recommendation, a one-page statement of grant purpose and a one-page personal statement.

   “I probably spent about 100 hours on the statements and applications, blew through probably 15 drafts, as well as campus interviews where five professors interviewed me for about 30 minutes, about five minutes of which were in Spanish to test my ability,” Bent said about applying for the scholarship.

   When Bent wasn’t working, he was exploring. “I enjoyed the different pace of life, the sights, the smells, and the lights. But I also used my long weekends to travel quite a bit,” Bent said.

   In Spain, Bent traveled to Burgos, Barcelona, Salamanca, Toleda and El Escorial, as well as different parts of France, Portugal, England and Germany.


Travel the World at Spring Fling

By Kristen Hill Contributing Writer

During the weekend of this year’s Spring Fling, you can step foot into a new country every night. The theme of this year’s events is “travel the world,” and every event will be themed around a different country. This year’s Spring Fling will be different from years prior and will feature some new events which will take place from April 26 to April 29, 2018.

   Many clubs on campus help fund the weekend of events put on for UMF students. “CRC, APO the theatre fraternity, Deep Treble, Clefnotes, and ACE are some big sponsors of events,” said Kayla Tremblay, who is helping with planning this year. Without the help of these clubs, all expenses would be paid from the Spring Fling fund and events would be limited significantly. The UMF community comes together and helps each other plan an action packed weekend for everyone to be involved in and have fun.

   “The talent show is on Thursday night to kick everything off and its theme is Britain” said Maggie Pomerleau, the Spring Fling chair of Student Senate. The walls of Lincoln Auditorium are often filled will blank stares and long lectures, but on the night of the talent show the room embraces a new energy. The talent show is a familiar event at UMF and gives students a chance to showcase their talents for the rest of their peers. Students from every background put their skills to the test whether it be singing, magic or dancing.

 UMF dances are a chance for students to dress up, de-stress and have fun with their friends while they dance the night away. “I love all of the events but the Dance is definitely my favorite out of all of them,” said Pomerleau. In previous years, students could be seen wearing Hawaiian shirts or galaxy attire, but this year’s theme is Paris and will be semi-formal.

   Another popular event is Rocky Horror, and this year their show is themed around South Korea. This event is interactive and encourages everyone to participate in the story line and to dress up. As you enter the room it will be filled with people dressed in very minimal black clothing just as in the show. Fans who know the storyline yell out quotes from the show and some will interact with the performers.

   “The club fair, which will be Saturday afternoon, is going to now be called the Activity Fair because it’s so much different than the traditional club fairs that we put on,” said Pomerleau. The Activity Fair is still being planned, but Pomerleau stated that “there will be different crafts available and hopefully laser tag happening in the Landing.”

   Open Mic Night, the last event, gives students the chance to join others who have a passion for music and performing and will be themed around Canada. The theme will add even more diversity to the already unique group of musicians. Musicians of different genres can all brave the stage and display the love they have for their art.

   Travel the world from Britain, France, to South Korea, the United Nations and Canada right here at UMF. Experience new parts of the world while you join our events and celebrate the accomplishment of another school year.