Amanda Cahn ’17, who graduated cum laude from Colorado College with a major in Spanish and minor in Feminist and Gender Studies, has received a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Indonesia.
Cahn currently is living in Chile, where she teaches English as a foreign language to fifth- through 10th-graders though the English Opens Doors Program, an initiative run by the Chilean Ministry of Education. She also volunteers teaching Spanish to Haitian immigrants in the evenings.
A Fulbright semifinalist to Indonesia last year, Cahn says her interest in the region stems from her ethnic background, as her father was Caucasian and her mother, whom she has never met, is Indonesian.
The Fulbright ETA would “broaden my worldview since Indonesian culture is different from those that I’ve experienced, such as in Chile. Engaging with the community and students in Indonesia would give me perspectives that would be relevant to a future career in foreign affairs,” she says. The experience also would help her learn about a side of the family she knows little about.
In her Fulbright application, Cahn writes that while in Indonesia, “I would like to connect with the community by cooking meals with or for my neighbors, the families of students or other professors, and others that I meet during my service. I have done this with host families and communities in the past. I would like to have cooking workshops with the students, so that they could share what they learn with their families afterward.”
She notes that another way to implement this kind of cultural exchange would be to host potlucks. “The ways in which food is procured, prepared, and consumed demonstrate cultural priorities as well as where the society is in terms of accessibility and technology,” she writes. “Learning about Indonesian food processes would give me insights into gender roles, cultural traditions, and changing ideas about the role of food in their society. I would also like to share concepts that I have learned concerning the food industry in the U.S., such as the slow food movement, food deserts, and how the extreme food diversity reflects upon the people themselves.”
Cahn says that her long-term objective is “to have a professional position in which I can work toward the goal of reducing inequality and improving international relationships. I am interested in doing something like this because I want to help people on a larger scale.”
Learning about the links between personal and cultural identities while navigating differences in order to achieve common goals would also help Cahn with her future goal of working in transnational relations
While at Colorado College, Cahn was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Academic Honor Society, the Phi Sigma Iota International Foreign Language Honor Society, received the Colorado College Award in Excellence in Spanish in 2017, the Crown-Goodman Presidential Scholarship Award in 2016, the Linda Hare Goddard 1977 Memorial Award in Spanish in 2015, and was on the Dean’s List from 2014-17.
The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is the largest U.S. exchange program offering opportunities for students and young professionals to undertake international graduate study, advanced research, university teaching, and primary and secondary school teaching worldwide. The program currently awards approximately 1,900 grants annually in all fields of study, and operates in more than 140 countries worldwide.