University of Rochester

Warner School Student Receives Fulbright Teaching Assistantship to Bosnia, Herzegovina

May 28, 2009

Warner School master's student Clare Zuraw has been named a 2009-10 Fulbright Teaching Assistant to teach English as a foreign language in Bosnia and Herzegovina. She will spend the academic year, which runs from October to June, at the University of Banja Luka working with Bosnian college students to improve their English language abilities and knowledge of the United States while also running a support group for students who plan to study abroad.

Zuraw, who also is an English instructor for a job readiness program in the Catholic Family Center's Refugee Resettlement Department, is eager to travel and live abroad. "I am really looking forward to teaching at the University level," she says. "I currently work with adults here in Rochester, but I see this as a great opportunity to work with University students-a different subset of the adult population. It will be a new experience for me."

Zuraw is a graduate student in the Warner School's Teaching English to Students of Other Languages (TESOL) teacher preparation program. She plans to live in Bosnia for nine months, and while there she hopes to enhance her Bosnian language skills, learn the culture, and gain experience in teaching academic writing at the college level. She also looks forward to incorporating blogs and other Web 2.0 tools into her teaching.

"Clare will benefit from living in a fast-changing part of the world, which is recovering from civil war," says Mary Jane Curry, an associate professor who directs the TESOL teacher preparation program at the Warner School. "The Balkan countries represent a fascinating crossroads of cultures, religions, and ethnicities. Teaching college students in this region will also give her an opportunity to reflect on how the United States is perceived abroad and to act as a cultural broker for her students, who are likely to be interested in American culture and politics."

Zuraw previously spent two years working at the Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program through the AmeriCorps Citizenship Project where she taught and designed English and civics curricula. "She has extensive experience working with adult learners in the United States, having taught adult immigrants and refugees here," Curry adds. "She has a deep respect and curiosity about people from various cultures and has gained a wealth of knowledge as a result of this attitude."

By putting herself in a situation where she does not know the language and culture very well, Zuraw hopes that her teaching experience abroad will help her to better identify with her immigrant students back in the United States where they, likewise, are not as familiar with the language and cultural references. She says, "I'll be able to understand their own barriers that they have here, and in the long run I hope that will influence how I relate to my own students and how I work with them."

After returning from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Zuraw would like to continue teaching adult immigrants and refugees at all levels and she hopes to eventually pursue a Ph.D. Zuraw is a resident of Rochester, N.Y. She received her bachelor's in anthropology and sociology from St. Mary's College of Maryland.

The Fulbright English Teaching Assistantships (ETA) Program, an element of the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, places U.S. students as English teaching assistants in K-12 schools or universities overseas. ETAs may also pursue individual study and research in addition to their teaching responsibilities. The Fulbright U.S. Student Program, America's flagship international educational exchange program, is sponsored by the United States Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. For more than 60 years, the bureau has funded and supported programs that promote mutual understanding and respect between the peoples of the United States and other countries through the exchange of persons, knowledge and skills.

About the Warner School of Education
Founded in 1958, the University of Rochester's Warner School of Education offers master's and doctoral degree programs in teaching and curriculum, school leadership, higher education, counseling, human development, and educational policy. The Warner School of Education offers a new accelerated option for its Ed.D. programs that allows eligible students to earn a doctorate in education in as few as three years part time while holding a professional job in the same field. The Warner School of Education is recognized both regionally and nationally for its tradition of preparing practitioners and researchers to become leaders and agents of change in schools, universities, and community agencies; generating and disseminating research; and actively participating in education reform.