During high school, Jesse Sanders sat in the corner of her school library, flipping through atlases and taking note of one particular country: Kazakhstan. Sanders, now a UofL graduate, will travel to the Eurasian country as a Fulbright scholar in 2020.
While in Kazakhstan, Sanders will complete an English teaching assistantship.
“I decided to pursue an English teaching position because I’m terrible at language learning,” said Sanders, a South Carolina native. “Languages are extremely challenging for me, and it’s precisely that challenge that draws me to mastering languages and helping others to do the same.”
Before hearing that she had been named a Fulbright Scholar, Sanders embarked on several adventures, such as hiking along the Pacific Crest Trail and working on a sheep farm in New Zealand. Receiving the award allows her to pursue both education and “esoteric” endeavors.
“When I found out that I got the Fulbright … I realized that not only can I do both things, but that they are complementary,” said Sanders. “My strange adventure has taught me flexibility, adaptability, and patience, which will make me a better English teacher in Kazakhstan.”
Sanders graduated from UofL in May of 2019 as a double major in Anthropology and Environmental Studies with a minor in Russian Studies. Prior to receiving the Fulbright award, she was named a Vogt and honors scholar and received both the Anthropology and Liberal Arts departments’ Awards of Merit.
Sanders will leave for Kazakhstan in January. After completing her time there, she may pursue a master’s degree in Education or English.
“I’m hoping the Fulbright will both help me grow as a Russian learner and allow me to collaborate with other language learners.”
Twelve additional UofL alumni have earned 2019 student Fulbright scholarships, a prestigious international award coveted by many high-achieving scholars. Read more about UofL’s 2019 Fulbright Scholars here.
The university has had outstanding results as a producer of Fulbrights. Since 2003, there have been 133 Fulbrights, more than all other Kentucky public institutions combined.