When Maxwell Lane walked across the Jenny Craig Pavilion stage during the College of Arts and Sciences graduation ceremony to officially become a member of the Class of 2011, there was understandable excitement and joy. Little did he know, though, that the celebration was going to continue when he got home.
“I came home and there was a letter waiting for me on my doorstep,” said Lane, who graduated summa cum laude with degrees in history and Spanish. The letter informed him that he had been selected for a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Spain that will last between nine months to a year.
Lane says he’s ready and excited to embark on the international experience of a lifetime. Tearing down cultural barriers is one of the goals of the English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) which is part of the Fulbright U.S. student program. The assistantship places American students, primarily recent graduates, as English teaching assistants in schools or universities abroad to enhance foreign students’ English language skills through lessons on American culture and knowledge of the United States.
In turn, ETAs immerse themselves in the host community, thus improving their foreign language skills and knowledge of the host country. Participants can pursue individual study or research plans in addition to their teaching responsibilities.
Lane is not unfamiliar with Spain. He spent a semester abroad in Madrid during his undergraduate studies at USD. He admitted his first months abroad were a little difficult because he could not carry long conversations in Spanish and his host family didn’t speak English.
“There’s definitely days where I would get frustrated because I couldn’t communicate the things that I wanted to communicate.” But that didn’t stop him from immersing himself in the culture. “You’ll be surprised how quickly you’ll learn a language if you keep a positive attitude.”
Lane’s four years at USD were filled with many educational experiences including being inducted into Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society, Alcala 100, and USD’s employee honor society for his work within the University Center’s operations and campus scheduling department. Lane gave back to the community by teaching English to adult immigrants at Linda Vista’s Bayside Community Center. He was also president of the USD men’s club soccer team.
It was soccer, in fact, that sparked his initial interest in Spain. “I’m a big soccer fan and Spain has one of the best soccer leagues in the world; from there, it grew into learning more about its culture.”
Lane said he plans to apply to PhD programs in either History or International Relations at Georgetown University after his teaching assistantship in Spain.
— Leslie Luna ‘07