Alumni Profile: Tyson Guajardo ’11
July 10, 2013
Tyson Guajardo ’11
Hometown: Lake Tahoe, California
Can you describe your Fulbright award, where you will be traveling, and what you’ll be doing while you’re there?
The award I have been granted is a teaching scholarship in Austria. Beginning in September, I will be living in Linz—the third-largest city in Austria—and working at two different secondary schools as an English language assistant. This means working with an Austrian staff to instruct students in English, utilizing my knowledge as a native speaker.
What drew you to studying a foreign language? What excites you about the idea of teaching English in the country you have been placed?
I began learning Spanish at a very young age due to a requirement in the teaching curriculum in my hometown. Since then, I have been aware of the advantages of bilingualism. Learning a second language opens up another world. When you are bilingual, you discover alternative forms of communication through new expression including musical lyrics and poetry. Even day-to-day conversation is distinct.
When I arrived at Lewis & Clark, I decided to focus on another foreign language. This was the first time I had the opportunity to branch out and study something besides Castilian. I chose German because of its similarity to English and some German ancestors in my family. Six years later, I am still incredibly enthusiastic about my choice.
I am looking forward to the challenge presented by teaching English in Austria. Although I have already been an English language assistant in Spain and am familiar with demands of instructing in my native tongue, Austria will be a new experience. I am excited to use what I already know as well as adapt to a new culture to be successful as a teacher.
Have you participated in any study abroad trips during your time at Lewis & Clark? If so, what was that experience like?
I spent my junior year in Munich on a language intensive program through Lewis & Clark. The experience was eye opening because it was my first real international exposure. It represents a turning point in my life when I discovered so much about myself as both an American and a global citizen, viewing my country and culture from the outside looking in.
It was in Munich where I made strong, lasting connections with individuals from other parts of the world. At Ludwig Maximilian University, I took all of my courses in German, a very rewarding challenge, putting myself in the shoes of many of the international students that I had previously met at Lewis & Clark.
How do you think your Lewis & Clark education has contributed to you seeing yourself as a citizen in a global community?
I am very grateful to Lewis & Clark for giving me the opportunity to have the study abroad experience in Germany. Before even arriving in Munich, meeting so many international students and being able to study German with exceptional professors did a lot to prepare me for my year overseas. In addition, my liberal arts education has given me a lot to share with the rest of the world such as foreign language and music.
What are your plans for the future, and how do you think your Fulbright experience will figure in those plans?
After completing my teaching assistantship in Austria, I am planning on graduate school, possibly studying at an institution abroad to focus on an international career. With every day that goes by, our world is becoming more of a global village, and I feel very strongly about worldwide cooperation, whether it be through business, politics, or simply creating better cultural understanding between nations.
Any advice to share with other Lewis & Clark students applying for similar awards in the future?
Previous teaching experience is invaluable as well as a passion for language. Demonstrating that you are serious about these things will certainly make for a better application. Any sort of study abroad experience is also a great asset.
Is there anything else you’d like to say to future Lewis & Clark students?
Go overseas and learn a foreign language as best you can. Travel as much as you possibly can. You will learn something that you can use for the rest of your life and have a better understanding of our world as it becomes more connected every day.