She learned sign language as a middle schooler, now she’s a Fulbright scholar

A second-year Western Carolina University graduate student with a love for travel and communication has received a prestigious Fulbright award to teach English in Malaysia next year.

Natalie Williams will graduate in May with a master’s degree in speech-language pathology with a goal of becoming a speech-language pathologist. She’ll head to Southeast Asia in January 2020 for a 10-month assignment helping classroom teachers.

“I’m definitely excited,” said Williams. “It will help me discover other opportunities and help me to work with a more diverse group of people.”

As an English teaching assistant, which also is known as an “ETA,” Williams will be placed in a secondary school to help teachers with classroom instruction and extracurricular activities pertaining to English language programs. But the ETA is more than a teaching experience abroad, according to a letter Williams received from the Malaysian American Commission on Educational Exchange announcing her award. “It is an important part of the U.S. State Department’s public diplomacy program in Malaysia and is given attention to the highest levels of government in the U.S. and Malaysia.”

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Originally published Apr. 30, 2019.

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