Elizabeth Woolley, an English teacher, spent her summer abroad in Indonesia after being granted a Fulbright scholarship.
Fulbright Teachers for Global Scholarships is funded by the U.S. Department of State and Irex to send American teachers abroad to create intercultural relations. Woolley traveled with 12 other Americans to Palambang, Indonesia, to work with a host school. They taught lessons, observed classes and worked with heads of education boards.
“I thought it was a great professional development opportunity for teachers interested in global perspectives into classrooms,” Woolley said.
Woolley described every day in Palambang as different, but full of hospitality and tea.
“I was very surprised by the overwhelming hospitality people in Indonesia showed us. A large portion of every morning was spent having tea, coffee and food that they would provide for us,” Woolley said.
After returning home, Woolley reflects that her travel abroad has shown her the gravity of climate change. Currently, Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta, sits on the northwest coast of the island and is sinking with the rising sea levels. The country’s officials are working to relocate their capital further inland.
“Even though Indonesian and American people are very different, there are so many things that unite us and so many issues that need to universally be addressed. Indonesia is a Muslim majority country, but differing religions didn’t impact the experience at all because our humanity is the same,” Woolley said.