Manchester University
Oak Leaves

April 8, 2016

Senior Emily Pleadwell

Vietnam Bound: Pleadwell Receives Fulbright Grant

Erin Fralick

Emily Pleadwell, class of 2016, recently received the U.S. government’s highest student award: the Fulbright Grant. Her grant enables her to teach English at either a private high school or university in Vietnam. Pleadwell is the 30th recipient of the Fulbright Grant to attend Manchester University.

Pleadwell’s track to earning the grant began during the summer after her first year at Manchester. She had obtained an internship with Interval House, a shelter for women and children in Southern California, and she was able to practice her Spanish while helping out.

She volunteered at Interval House again during January Session and the summer of her junior year to complete her English practicum as part of her TESOL minor. She was put in charge of teaching English to the clients, of which about three/fourths spoke Vietnamese. This posed an obstacle for Pleadwell, as Vietnamese is vastly different from French, German and Spanish. Through working with her clients, Pleadwell was able to discover the difficulties that Vietnamese persons experience when learning the English language.

Not only was Pleadwell given inspiration to continue volunteer work with the Interval House in her junior year, but following her first experience with Interval House she was inspired to change her major. “When I was a first year, I was a math major with a potential minor in Spanish,” Pleadwell explained. Now, she’s an English major with a concentration in language.

After working in the Interval House’s daycare center, which was located in a very diverse community, Pleadwell decided that crunching numbers wasn’t for her. Instead of math, Pleadwell wanted to pursue a career that allows for more communication. More specifically, she wanted to help adults who immigrate from other countries and want to learn English.

When it came time to apply for the Fulbright Grant, Pleadwell found herself under a pile of paper work. For her application, she was required to write a grant proposal and personal statement, both under a page. The difficult part for Pleadwell was figuring out how to say everything that needed to be said in only under a page. “It’s basically a job, a full time job,” she explained. Aside from the paper work, Pleadwell had to complete an on-campus interview with a council composed of professors, who then recommended her to the Fulbright organization.

Pleadwell will teach English for 35 hours a week while she is in Vietnam. “It’s going to be totally different when I’m a teacher in a new country, but also learning the language as well,” she said. “I’m nervous mostly about the language barrier; that’s going to be the hardest part.” However, despite her concerns about the language barrier and about being one of the only foreigners in the community, Pleadwell looks forward to the cultural immersion aspect of this opportunity.