A Daisy in Malaysia
What is the Fulbright ETA program?
The Fulbright ETA program in Malaysia is a program for educational exchange between the American and Malaysian governments aimed to promote cultural understanding, expose students to English language, and empower them with the confidence to speak English.
I am an ETA, which means I am an assistant to the English teachers in my school. My role is essentially a supplement to their existing English lessons, which are strictly followed by the national syllabus. This means I have freedom in my lessons and after school activities to allow them to have fun and be creative with English. I will be in Malaysia for 1 school year, and I will return home this coming November.
Why did you choose to apply to Malaysia?
I chose to apply to Malaysia because the structure of this program allows ETAs the opportunity to work with students in after school activities and extra curricular clubs. I wanted to be able to connect with my students beyond the classroom. Also, Malaysia is a very interesting country, and it is quite culturally and ethnically diverse.
What experience(s) have you had in Malaysia that have been most meaningful to you?
As I'm sure many teachers can relate, it's hard to try to teach someone who doesn't really care and doesn't want to learn. Many of my students are from the village areas and have no desire or motivation to learn English. They won't ever need it in their life. But each and every little moment of connection has touched me and made me realize why I am here- to support and love on these students unconditionally, let them know that they can do whatever they want if they try, help them find some self-confidence, show them that we humans are all similar, and let them express themselves. These are all things which are not stressed in the Malaysian educational system, so someone needs to be there for them.
How did Omega Zeta help prepare you for your program?
First of all, being so far from home can be tough. But I know that I have support from wonderful friends and sisters back home. Omega Zeta also provides a unique context for personal growth and interpersonal skills- all of which I feel have been tested and used during my experiences here in Malaysia. Of course the craftiness and fun games I learned with OZs have been useful too!
Victoria Briscoe (PC 10) teaching as a Fulbright ETA in Malaysia.