Name: Kayla Stewart
UH Affiliation: Spring 2015 Alumna; Journalism, African American Studies, Global & International Studies
In August 2016, Kayla began her year abroad as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) in Indonesia. Kayla's motivation for applying centered on her desire to broaden her understanding of Southeast Asian culture and policies. Throughout her time in Indonesia, Kayla brought her experience as an aspiring photojournalist to her students. By sharing her knowledge of photography, Kayla wants to empower her students with the skills needed to document their local community and culture.
I applied to the Fulbright U.S. Student Program ETA grant for a number of reasons. Two of the primary reasons I applied was my interest in Southeast Asian policy and the unique opportunity to live in a predominantly Muslim country. I felt that the intersections of race, gender, and religion in Southeast Asia produced fascinating dynamics in the region, and I wanted to experience those complex dynamics first hand.
The most challenging part of the application process was crafting the perfect personal statement and statement of grant purpose. Trying to manifest your skills and abilities while simultaneously connecting the reader to your own personal story is no easy feat. That said, I constantly rewrote drafts and communicated with the UH Writing Center to draft the best personal statement and statement of grant purpose that I could. The experience was challenging, but also rewarding, in that it taught me how to better express my thoughts and professional desires.
I learned just how deep my determination goes for something I really want. I didn’t have the most immaculate start to college, so I didn’t even share that I was applying to the grant with most people. That said, I knew that I was capable, I knew I’d worked hard during my time at UH, and I knew I had amazing things to bring to the program. I used this confidence in myself while crafting my essays, asking for recommendations, and going through the entire process because I was determined to make this goal a reality. Now, I feel that nothing is too difficult to try for, and that realization is playing out well as I continue on my professional path.
View Kayla's Instagram for more images from her time abroad
Indonesiaful.com: Website managed and operated by Fulbright English Teaching Assistant grantees.