ATHENS, Ohio (Nov. 1, 2005) -- "I felt like I had just won a million dollars," says Fulbright award-winner Adrienne Porter, recalling the day she received the award letter. "My roommate had to read it for me because I was all shaky and excited."
The scholarship granted the Ohio University senior the chance of a lifetime, a teaching assistantship in Chile.
"I worked so hard for it, but it just all paid off. I was like 'I'm going to do this,'" Porter says.
Arthur Hughes, an Ohio University Spanish professor, encouraged Porter to apply for the scholarship after having her as a student in his Spanish culture and civilization class.
"It's such a process," Porter says of the application procedure. "Basically, you try to sell yourself as best you possibly can in these two pages, and that's not much to prove you're better than anyone else who wants to do this. I probably did like 50 drafts of this thing before it was final."
Her hard work paid off, though. Just after spring break and days before her 22nd birthday, Porter became one of nine Ohio University students and alumni to win the award this year.
Porter plans to move to Chile in March to begin her 10-month stay in Temuco, where she will work in the English department at a local university.
Besides teaching and taking a photography class during her time in Chile, Porter also hopes to visit other countries in South America.
"I want to travel all around the continent as much as I can in my free time," says Porter. She adds that she would also like to tour Argentina and Bolivia and is especially excited to have the opportunity to hike the Incan trail in Peru.
Traveling outside the United States is nothing new to Porter, a native of Gahanna, Ohio.
In her sophomore year of college, Porter spent winter quarter in Merida, Mexico, and spent the spring quarter of her junior year in Cuenca, Ecuador, participating in Ohio University study abroad programs.
"You can sit in a classroom for an hour a day, maybe four days a week and get the fine points of grammar and stuff, but it's nothing like being submerged in that language," she says. "Both of those trips were the best times of my life. I learned so much and made such good friends."
"I've never been to Chile, and from what I understand it's going to be nothing like Ecuador, or Mexico or Ohio, obviously," Porter says. "I just want to see what it's like down there and talk to as many people as I can and learn about what life in Chile is like."
Porter says that traveling and understanding the language and culture of Spanish-speaking countries is vital to her future. "I think it's really important, especially if I'm going to be teacher, to know as much as I can about the stuff I'm teaching."
Each year, the Fulbright award is given to applicants from more than 400 colleges, universities and public and private agencies in all 50 states to participate in specific teaching and research programs around the world, according to Ohio University's Center for International Studies Web site.
During her time at Ohio University, Porter, a King-Chavez-Parks Award recipient, served as an English conversation partner and Spanish tutor.
The KCP Award is given annually by the President's Office for University Diversity to students from disproportionately represented populations who excel in their studies.
Porter is currently student teaching in two Spanish classes at Milford High School in Cincinnati. She will graduate in November with a bachelor's degree in Spanish education and certificates in Latin American studies and teaching English as a foreign language.
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