May 21, 2018
Hillary Hempstead
Image of Olivia Goffman
Photo credit: Jennifer Manna

Olivia Maia Fondaras Goffman '18, a history and creative writing double-major, has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Malaysia.

The Fulbright English Teaching Assistant programs place grantees in schools overseas to supplement local English language instruction and to provide a native speaker presence in the classrooms.

Goffman chose to apply for a Fulbright that focuses on teaching because she is passionate about education, and she is particularly interested in studying the ways in which individuals are educated in different countries. Goffman pursued an assistantship based in Malaysia because she sees the country as so dissimilar from the cultures she’s previously encountered.

“I applied to Malaysia because I see it as one of the most diverse and culturally rich countries in Asia. I wanted a chance to experience somewhere that is so completely different from what I am used to.”

During her fellowship, Goffman is looking forward to learning everything she can about Malaysian cultural practices and immersing herself in the community in which she is placed. She also hopes to form meaningful relationships with those she meets in the community.

An artist, Goffman plans to use her personal time to become familiar with various kinds of traditional Malaysian art forms, such as Batik.

While at Oberlin, Goffman participated in the improv group Kid Business, and she volunteered at the retirement community Kendal at Oberlin.  

Goffman plans to attend graduate school to study social work and education policy when she returns from Malaysia. “I am very interested in working with children who have experienced trauma and seeing where trauma and education intersect. I am also passionate about history and I would love to work on reforming how we teach history in the United States.”

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