The UW–Madison School of Education hosted 21 secondary-level educators from abroad again this fall as part of the Fulbright Teaching Excellence and Achievement (Fulbright TEA) program, which is funded by the U.S. Department of State and administered by IREX.
These teachers came to Madison from 17 different countries across Eastern Europe and Central Asia. They arrived in Madison on Sept. 13, and left town on Oct. 30 for a three-day conference in Washington, D.C., before heading home.
While spending time on campus and around the Madison area, the visiting educators took part in an academic program focused on media literacy, technology, contemporary issues in education, and language pedagogy.
The program included a field experience component at either Monona Grove High School or Verona Area High School. The group also enjoyed some fun activities, like touring the Wisconsin State Capitol and checking out the Dane County Farmers’ Market, taking in a Badgers football game, visiting Chicago, and attending the School of Education’s Homecoming Tailgate event Oct. 7 at Union South.
Before departing, several of the visiting teachers shared their thoughts with the School of Education about their time via a Q&A. Following is what Khasan Rajabov, who is from Uzbekistan, shared about his experience.
Why did you apply for the Fulbright Teaching Excellence and Achievement Program? I applied for the Fulbright TEA program to learn about the U.S. educational system, experience American culture, and deepen my knowledge of media literacy.
Overall, how would you describe your experience? My experience was invaluable, exceeding expectations. I learned extensively about media literacy, observed the U.S. educational system, and engaged in cultural and community events.
Is there a particular highlight that stands out to you from this program and your time in Madison? The Chicago trip was amazing, and school visits were beneficial for my professional development. Dinner with the host family, Devil’s Lake, and the football match were standout experiences. Lectures at UW–Madison were inspiring.
What is one thing you learned during your time in Madison that you hope to take back home and implement in your classroom and country? I aim to instill resistance to media manipulation in my students.
Similarly, what do you hope those on the UW–Madison campus and in the surrounding communities have learned from you? I hope they learned more about the educational system in Uzbekistan (Central Asia) and the challenges teachers face.
What did you know about Wisconsin and the United States before coming to Madison? And how, if at all, have your perceptions changed about this state or the U.S.? I knew little about Wisconsin but found it to be welcoming and beautiful. Americans’ openness and kindness surpassed my expectations.
Is there anything else you’d like to share about yourself or this experience? I feel blessed to have grown significantly as a teacher and person during this experience. I am grateful for the opportunity and the warm reception from the people of Madison.
Note: This story was funded in part by a grant from the United States Department of State. The opinions, findings and conclusions stated herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the United States Department of State.