Rebecca Selin ’14 has been awarded a nine-month Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Indonesia. The alumna will begin her fellowship on August 23 with a two-week training session in Jakarta.
At Oberlin, Selin studied geology, was involved in Oberlin Student Cooperative Association (OSCA), and hosted several WOBC radio shows. She also became highly interested in gamelan, a large ensemble of (primarily percussive) instruments traditional to the Indonesian island of Java. “As I became involved in gamelan at Oberlin, I developed an interest in Indonesian history, culture, and language,” she says.
Selin explored that interest further over winter term 2014 when she traveled to Indonesia as part of associate professors Jennifer Fraser and Jan Miyake's Music, Disasters, and Islam in Indonesia project. “It was my first time traveling outside of North America and was a valuable experience,” she says. “I applied to Fulbright hoping to find a way to return to Indonesia, become fluent in Bahasa Indonesia, and get involved in a community.”
For her assistantship, Selin—who has been studying Bahasa Indonesia, Indonesia’s official language, with a tutor—will help teach English to high school students. She does not yet know where in Indonesia she will be teaching. “I can't wait to hear where my assigned school is located,” she says. “Indonesia is an incredibly diverse country. The differences in religion, culture, and local language from place to place can be huge.”
Selin, a culinary enthusiast who worked as a cook at a premier vegan fine dining establishment in New York following graduation, says she hopes she’ll have the opportunity to become “inspired by the intense flavors of Indonesian food” while abroad. Selin also interned in the Invertebrate Paleontology Department at the American Museum of Natural History since graduating last spring.
Following her fellowship, Selin says she plans “either to continue my education in geology or to solidify my dreams of a food truck or catering business.”
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