Andresen ’15 one of seven from CSB/SJU to earn Fulbright ETA award

Editor’s note: This is the sixth in a series of articles that will appear this summer on the seven CSB and SJU graduates who earned Fulbright English Teaching Awards for the 2016-17 school year.

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September 6, 2016

By Jeff Johnson '17 and Chelsey Guetter '18

Jillian AndresenTwo study abroad experiences were just the beginning for Jillian Andresen. 

The 2015 graduate of the College of Saint Benedict spent a semester abroad in Chile and a May term trip to Brazil, which lead to further opportunities and sparked a passion for teaching. 

Now, Andresen is one of seven recent recipients of Fulbright English Teaching Assistant awards from CSB and Saint John's University, and will spend 11 months in Malaysia working with junior and senior high school students. 

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program places recent college graduates as English Teaching Assistants in schools and universities overseas. The ETAs improve international students' English abilities and knowledge of the U.S., while enhancing their own language skills and knowledge of the host country. ETAs may also pursue individual study/research plans in addition to their teaching responsibilities. 

After graduating, Andresen became a program supervisor at Minnesota-based Homeward Bound Inc., working with people with a variety of disabilities. She enjoyed her time with Homeward Bound, but she dreamt of returning to South America. 

"Near the end of December 2015, I made the move to Chile to work as an English teacher (at St. Peter's School in Viña del mar). I teach English to elementary through high school-aged students," she said. 

Now, Andresen is preparing to travel again, this time thanks to a Fulbright Award. She will be in Chile through November before leaving for Malaysia. 

"Applying to be a Fulbright ETA offered me the opportunity to pursue two of my passions: travel and education. I have always loved school, especially English and Spanish class, and throughout my college career I also consistently sought out opportunities to teach." 

While moving to Malaysia will present its own challenges, Andresen is up to the task. 

"Living and working in Chile has shown me that I am more confident and capable than I once thought. Saint Ben's shaped me into a leader and provided me with many important tools to succeed in life — and living in Chile has shown me that I truly can find a way, no matter the circumstance, to keep on. I can live and work — and network — in another country, and not just get by, but flourish!" 

Andresen looks forward to her time in Malaysia and all that the experience has in store. 

"My hope is that I will come away from this experience as a more insightful person, with a broader, more profound worldview. I hope it helps me discover which area of study I want to pursue in graduate school, whether it be public health, community psychology or gender studies. Most of all, I hope to make lasting relationships and positively impact the community I will be a part of — I know it will impact me beyond measure," she said.

CSB and SJU students interested in applying for a Fulbright Award for the 2017-18 academic year should contact Phil Kronebusch, professor of political science and coordinator of competitive fellowships at CSB and SJU, or Jeff Anderson, associate professor of peace studies.