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Exploring Asian life in Chile

Sept. 17, 2004

By Jennifer Cochran

A passion for traveling and love for different languages led one Ohio University graduate on a path toward studying and teaching abroad.

Sou LackkatySou Lackkaty, M.A. '04, was chosen as a 2004 Fulbright recipient, which will give her the opportunity to study at the Universidad de Atacama in Copiapo, Chile. She will serve as a guest lecturer in American studies courses and will be taking Spanish classes and doing independent research on Asian communities in Chile.

Born in Laos, Lackkaty is no stranger to travel. She lived in Thailand and the Philippines as a child before moving to the United States with her family in 1982 - she became a U.S. citizen nearly a decade later. While pursuing a bachelor's degree in linguistics and Chinese from San Diego State University, Lackkaty studied abroad in Hebei, China, and later taught English in Beijing, China, for four years.

Lackkaty believes that language is one solution to addressing the world's problems.

"Language allows people of different backgrounds to communicate," she said. "It also helps us gain insight into each others' cultures and feelings, and this in turn leads to mutual understanding, empathy and tolerance."

Upon completion of her Fulbright year, Lackkaty hopes to pursue a doctorate in education and work with international students in university classrooms. She earned her master's degree from Ohio University in applied linguistics with special emphasis on Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), and she served as the teaching assistant in the Ohio Program of Intensive English.

"Sou's extensive experience as a teacher of English to speakers of other languages in the U.S. and abroad makes her a natural candidate for the Fulbright teaching award," said Scott Jarvis, associate professor of linguistics. "This, combined with her advanced training in applied linguistics and language pedagogy, along with her level of maturity and familiarity with multiple languages and cultures, makes her hard to beat."

Lackkaty is one of the first recipients of the newly established Fulbright teaching assistantship in Chile.

"Sou Lackkaty's study of TESOL and experience teaching English were advantageous in this Fulbright competition," said Beth Clodfelter, Ohio University's U.S. student Fulbright program adviser. "We have learned that she was the only graduate student in the United States selected for this inaugural English teaching program in Chile."

Jennifer Cochran is the assistant director of communications and graduate programming for the Center for International Studies.

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