English and French double major Lauren Grewe,’09, was awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to teach English for one academic year in Bangladesh. Each year, approximately 1,500 grants are awarded to U.S. students to study, conduct research or teach abroad in more than 155 countries.

How did you decide to apply for a Fulbright?

I went abroad for my entire junior year, spending one semester in Scotland and one in France, and I really wanted to have another international experience before I begin my graduate studies. Since I hope to make teaching English my career after I get my Ph.D., I thought this would be a great opportunity to see how I fared as a teacher.

Any reason in particular that you chose Bangladesh?


Since I was already fortunate enough to have spent a year living and studying in Europe, this time I wanted to go somewhere a little more off the beaten track. I applied to go to Nepal but the Fulbright Program had just opened in Bangladesh, and I was assigned to go there instead; a lot more literature for English speakers is coming out of Bangladesh. I’m actually really pleased to be going there, especially since I took a post-colonial literature class for my English major that focused on Southeast Asia.

Will you be learning Bangladeshi?

Yes, I leave in October to start language training, which goes until January. (I’ll teach from January to July.) The grant provides funding for this through the Fulbright program’s critical language enhancement component.

Describe the students you’ll be teaching.

I’ll teach mostly high school and some early university students. For my volunteer project, I also proposed teaching some adult literacy courses. I hope to do a little research while I’m there, as I’m particularly interested in Bangladeshi women writers.

As you leave Richmond, what would you say was your most significant academic experience here?

Definitely the honors thesis I completed for my English major this past spring. I wrote about Hart Crane’s modernist epic poem The Bridge and compared it to T.S. Eliot’s The Wasteland. I was really interested in exploring the topic of modernist hope and doubt. The paper ended up being about 100 pages long!