Campus: CSU Long Beach -- May 27, 2005
Two Cal State Long Beach Students Selected as 2005-06 U.S.
Student Fulbright Fellows
California State University, Long Beach students Michelle Bolourchi and
Henrietta Vinh have been selected as 2005-06 U.S. Student Fulbright Fellows and
will spend the next academic year abroad.
Bolourchi, who completed her bachelor's degree in German/international studies in
December 2004, is heading for Germany, where she will work closely with a German
teacher of English at the middle school level while leading small groups in English
conversation. Vinh, a senior majoring in English education, is bound for South
Korea, where she will focus on English instruction at the high school level.
The Fulbright U.S. Student Program gives recent graduates, postgraduate candidates
and developing professionals and artists opportunities for personal enrichment and
international experience. U.S. Student Teaching Assistantships in English are
offered in many countries worldwide. Fellows are assigned various activities
designed to improve their students' language abilities and knowledge of the United
States while increasing their own language skills and knowledge of the host
The purposes of the student program are three-fold: promote mutual understanding
through a commitment to the free flow of people and ideas across national boundaries;
expand the dimensions of human wisdom, empathy and perception; create true and
lasting world peace through cooperation in constructive activities among people
of different nations.
"I'm ecstatic, grateful, proud and ready to succeed," said Bolourchi, who will
spend her Fulbright year as a teaching assistant in the province of
Rhineland-Palatinate, which borders Belgium and Luxembourg. "I hope the students
will benefit from having an American in their classroom as we have benefited from
visiting German students and professors here at CSULB."
Bolourchi, who spent three semesters studying at a CSULB partner university in
Oldenburg, Germany, has an abundance of goals for her year in Germany.
"I hope that my German language skills improve further and I hope that by serving
as an ambassador of good will, so to speak, I can dispel stereotypes that both
sides hold of each other," said Bolourchi said. "The most important thing for me
is to promote an understanding between both sides and to be enriched by living
abroad, so that when I return to the United States, I will be in tune with the
German and European points of view towards America and be able to inform and
discuss international issues based on my personal exposure to the sentiments and
rationale in Germany."
Jutta Birmele, chair of the Romance/German/Russian Languages and Literatures
(RGRLL) Department at CSULB, applauded Bolourchi's selection. "Michelle Bolourchi
is the fourth German major from CSULB to have been awarded a Fulbright (grant) to
Germany, and we are absolutely delighted," she said. "All four students had studied
abroad for a year at our partnership with the University of Oldenburg. For me,
this is the best demonstration that study abroad leads to personal intellectual
growth, an opening of the mind to the international community, and the
internationalization of our students' career path."
Vinh is optimistic about what her Fulbright will achieve. "I hope that teaching
in Korea will not only help me fulfill J. William Fulbright's mission to promote
cohesiveness among cultures, but to widen my understanding of the Korean culture
in hopes of reaching out to ESL students in attaining English proficiency in
America," she said.
"When I first entered the university in 2001, I had heard that CSULB had a
wonderful program for prospective teachers," said Vinh. "I first majored in liberal
studies, but decided that teaching a single subject seemed more appealing. Why?
I wanted to focus on English instruction and hoped that my education would aid
high school students to become proficient writers.
"High school did not prepare me for college level writing. I was ill prepared
in composing and structuring my essay. Not surprisingly, I had to take a remedial
English course," she added. "The professors I had over the course of my academic
career fostered my eagerness to write academically; I became consciously aware of
language and wrote vigorously."
She chose Korea for the opportunity to deepen her experience as an Asian American.
"I chose Korea because I wanted to understand a different Asian culture other than
my own," she said. "Also, I didn't want to limit myself to only my understanding
of American culture and my Vietnamese heritage."
The Fulbright program provides grants for graduate students, scholars, professionals,
teachers and administrators from the United States and other countries. The flagship
international educational program sponsored by the U.S. government, the Fulbright
program is designed to "increase mutual understanding between the people of the
United States and the people of other countries..." With this goal, the program
has provided more than 250,000 participants - chosen for their academic merit and
leadership potential - with the opportunity to study and teach in each other's
countries, exchange ideas, and develop joint solutions to address shared concerns.
Rick Gloady, 562/985-5454,
Shayne Schroeder, 562/985-1727, firstname.lastname@example.org