Janine Chouinard ’20 Awarded Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Colombia

May 24, 2020
Hillary Hempstead
woman in tan sweater smiling.
Janine Chouinard ’20 will teaching English in Colombia. Photo credit: Deanna Shih

Janine Chouinard ’20, a Hispanic studies and history double major, has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Colombia. 

This will not be the first time the senior has taught internationally. Chouinard’s first experience teaching English abroad was during an internship in Villanueva, Córdoba, a small town in Spain, the summer after her first year at Oberlin. Chouinard says that she views the Fulbright assistantship in Colombia as a way for her to continue developing her abilities as an English teacher and Spanish language learner. 

While at Oberlin, Chouinard was involved in the Oberlin Spanish in the Elementary Schools (SITES) Program, in which students teach introductory Spanish to children in grades K-2, and the Oberlin Writing and Speaking Associates Program. Chouinard says both of these programs were important in laying the foundation of how to teach others. 

“I’m excited to utilize application-based teaching strategies I employed in the Spanish in the Elementary Schools program and during my time working in the Writing and Speaking Associates program to teach English as a foreign language in Colombia,” she says. 

Chouinard says her involvement in the SITES program was a driver in her decision to apply for the Fulbright. “My experiences in the program and my time working with SITES Program Director Kim Faber allowed me to understand the basics of lesson planning, leading a classroom, and learning how to teach a second language. After spending time in the classroom at Eastwood Elementary, I became excited to practice these teaching skills outside of the classroom.”

During her Fulbright year, Chouinard endeavors to improve her Spanish skills and learn about Colombian culture. She also plans to learn about Colombia’s education system and offer accessible English classes to the community in which she is placed, possibly at a local library or an elementary school. “I hope to grow as a future educator and international citizen to better understand language education outside of the United States,” says Chouinard. 

In addition to her work in SITES and the Writing and Speaking Associates programs, the Ann Arbor, Michigan, native played the clarinet in the Oberlin College Marching Band and was a member of the Oberlin Community Wind Ensemble. Chouinard also worked in the Allen Memorial Art Museum, first as a desk attendant and later as a communications assistant, and played on the Quidditch team. 

After her Fulbright experience, Chouinard intends to teach in the classroom in order to gain additional experience in the education field. She later plans to attend graduate school to study the history of education in the United States.  

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