Hope Kassen, a May 2015 graduate with majors in politics and law and society, will embark on her first study abroad experience with a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Malaysia.
Kassen will spend 10 months living and teaching English in Malaysia. She plans to learn more about the country’s political system. “Having been born in China, I knew I wanted to live in Asia upon graduating from Oberlin,” she says. “Applying to the Fulbright program in Malaysia was a bit of a serendipitous impulse, but it has a fascinating cultural and political history, and I knew that my experience there would be like no other. The government has been particularly conscious of Western influences and the prevalence of English being taught in schools.”
Kassen points out that Malaysia is a nation of many different ethnic identities and languages. “I look forward to exploring and comparing the intersection of culture and identity. I am hoping to learn more about Malaysia's political system, become conversational in Bahasa Malaysia, and understand the Malaysian perspective of the United States. I am also excited to celebrate the many Malaysian holidays throughout the coming year with my students.”
After the Fulbright year, Kassen, who is from Lincolnville, Maine, intends to pursue a career in education or civil rights policy. She also wants to continue her education in law and public policy.
“Above all, I am hoping that my experience in Malaysia will make me more aware of the many different ways to live life. And that whatever I end up doing, I will do it with enthusiasm, empathy, and an open mind.”