Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistantships Awarded

Nine international educators have been selected as Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistants (FLTA) for the MSU Department of Linguistics & Germanic, Slavic, Asian and African Languages over the 2016-17 academic year.

While in the United States, the FLTAs will take courses at MSU. They also will share their language and culture with the MSU community as a way to inspire Americans to travel and study overseas and to better prepare U.S. citizens to engage with businesses, governments, and organizations abroad.

“Even though most FLTAs have significant experience, I enjoy seeing the professional development of all who come,” said FLTA Coordinator Danielle Steider. “It has that positive ripple effect, too. Many stay in touch as they take their experience here and move on to teacher training in their own country or other Fulbright programs. It’s so rewarding to see how much they grow.”

awarded educators pose for picture on staircase

The MSU FLTAs are among nearly 400 grant recipients from 50 countries who are traveling to the United States during the 2016-2017 academic year through the Fulbright FLTA Program in an effort to help internationalize U.S. colleges and universities, a key goal of many institutions as they prepare students for the 21st-century workforce and globalized world.

“I think that when we encounter so many different cultures and different people, we learn to be tolerant,” said Russian FLTA Sofiia Starastina. “We learn to love people and we learn to be kind. These are a very important skills in our lives.”

This year’s grant recipients – from East Asia and the Pacific, Europe and Eurasia, South and Central Asia, North and Sub-Saharan Africa, and the Middle East – will contribute to U.S. students’ foreign language acquisition in 30-plus languages at more than 200 U.S. institutions.

We learn to love people and we learn to be kind. These are a very important skills in our lives.

Sofiia Starastina

The J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board awards the Fulbright FLTA scholarships. Recipients are selected based on demonstrated leadership potential and academic and professional achievement.

The 2016-17 MSU FLTAs, the language they teach, and their home country, are:

  • Mr. Hojjat Ashtarzadeh, Persian, Iran
  • Ms. Rofiat Bello, Yoruba, Nigeria
  • Ms. Helen Betonio, Tagalog, Philippines
  • Ms. Asmaha Heddi, Swahili, Tanzania
  • Ms. Huyen Pham, Vietnamese, Vietnam
  • Mr. Cheikh Sneibe, Arabic, Mauritania
  • Ms. Sofiia Starastina, Russian, Russia
  • Mr. Metin Torlak, Turkish, Turkey
  • Ms. Hao "Rain" Wang, Chinese, China

Steider, who also coordinates MSU’s Less Commonly Taught Languages (LCTL) Program notes that the FLTA web pages include additional information on this year’s FLTAs.

About the Fulbright Program

Established in 1946 under legislation introduced by U.S. Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, the Fulbright Program has given approximately 360,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists, and scientists the opportunity to study, teach, conduct research, exchange ideas, and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.

Fulbright FLTA recipients are among more than 50,000 individuals participating in U.S. Department of State exchange programs each year. The Institute of International Education administers the Fulbright FLTA Program.

Since 2001, more than 4,000 awardees have been Fulbright FLTAs.