Public Relations  >  News Center  >  News Releases  >  April, 2016  >  April 15, 2016  >  College of Arts and Sciences senior earns Fulbright Teaching Award to spend year in Spain
College of Arts and Sciences senior earns Fulbright Teaching Award to spend year in Spain

Hannah Smith, a Creighton University senior in the College of Arts and Sciences, has earned a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Award and will spend 11 months teaching English and serving as an American cultural ambassador in Spain, beginning this fall.Hannah M. Smith, a Creighton University senior in the College of Arts and Sciences, has earned a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Award and will spend 11 months teaching English and serving as an American cultural ambassador in Spain, beginning this fall.

Smith, a Spanish and secondary education major from Overland Park, Kansas, first traveled to Spain during the spring semester of her sophomore year at Creighton. Studying at the University of Seville, Smith quickly became enamored of the culture and people of the country, so much so she decided to stick around after her semester abroad ended, getting a job as an au pair to seven children and volunteer teaching at a local elementary school. Following her junior year at Creighton, she returned to Spain.

“I kept asking myself, ‘How can stay here on a longer-term basis?’” Smith said. “I kept working on that question with my mentors here at Creighton. They suggested the Fulbright program and I was lucky enough that it worked out.”

A past executive officer of the Student Philanthropy Committee and a member of Omicron Delta Kappa, Sigma Delta Pi (Spanish honors fraternity) and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, Smith also served as president of Kappa Kappa Gamma and worked as a student intern in the development office at Creighton. She is also serving this semester as a student teacher in Spanish at Duchesne Academy in Omaha and has also served in classrooms at Creighton Preparatory School, Omaha Central and Omaha North high schools.

In Spain on the teaching award, Smith will be assigned to La Rioja, a province in north-central Spain, where she will again work in an elementary school, helping children learn English. She also hopes to incorporate an element of service work for the students.

“Learning to give back is important and it’s been the basis of much of my own education at Creighton,” Smith said. “I want to impart to my students that when you work out in your own community, you can have an impact, even if you’re still very young.”

While serving as a cultural ambassador for the U.S., Smith is also mindful of how much she will continue to learn from Spaniards during her work in the country. A Spanish speaker from her days in high school, she said she hopes to continue to hone her language skills and learn more about the diversity of Spanish life.

“I’ve not been to La Rioja, so I’m very interested to see what life is like there,” she said. “I want to be able to live with Spaniards and learn from them, to be a friend, to travel a lot and to practice my Spanish.”

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, the Fulbright program was created by Congress in 1946, immediately after World War II. Former U.S. Senator J. William Fulbright sponsored the legislation, seeing the program as a step toward building international cooperation. The Fulbright program remains the largest international exchange program in the U.S., offering opportunities for students, scholars and professionals to undertake international graduate study, advanced research, university teaching, and teaching in elementary and secondary schools. The Fulbright Program awards approximately 7,500 new grants annually and operates its program in more than 155 countries.

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