2018 English graduate Esther Hagan earned the Fulbright Award, one of the most prestigious academic honors in the entire country, and embarked on a journey teaching English in Taiwan for a year.
Dr. Robert Lloyd, Dean of PBA’s School of Arts and Sciences, believes that the magnitude of Hagan’s accomplishment is something that can’t be overstated.
“A Fulbright is a highly selective and prestigious award for international study that aims to foster mutual exchange and understanding between citizens of the United States and those of other countries.”
Hagan takes a lot of pride in earning the Fulbright award, but also sees it as a big responsibility to put her opportunity to the best use.
“I want to take what I’ve learned and share that with others because I really think education is the key to unlock a lot of opportunities in life,” she said. “If I can help people who are marginalized unlock such a large door, that’s what I’d like to do.”
Born in Ghana, Hagan has always been instilled with an appreciation for different cultures. Her Fulbright experience in Taiwan won’t be her first overseas. She’s spent time teaching English in China and studying in New Zealand, both of which impacted her immensely.
“It’s helped me grow and it’s shaped me,” she said. “The people are remarkable, the landscape is amazing, and the cultures are fascinating. It’s made me a better person to be able to learn from people with all types of backgrounds.”
Hagan sees her experience teaching at Taiwan’s Jin Ding Elementary School as an opportunity for her to learn and grow just as much as the students with whom she’ll be working.
“It’s really exciting. Not only can I teach these kids English and basic academic knowledge, I can learn from them how to have a more child-like yearning and appreciation for life and learning and appreciating new things.”