Alumni Profile: Abbie Hebein BA ’12
April 21, 2014
Abbie Hebein BA ’12
Major: Art History
Hometown: Boulder, Colorado
Can you describe your Fulbright award, where you will be traveling, and what you’ll be doing while you’re there?
Shortly after graduation, I began to pursue opportunities in which I could unite my passion for the arts with my interest in public education. I am part of the volunteer team at The Right Brain Initiative, an organization that collaborates with teaching artists, Portland Public School teachers, and administrators to enrich current curriculum through the arts. I also teach an English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) conversation class at Portland Community College. It is the integration of art and language education that led me to apply for a Fulbright grant to teach in the public schools in Mexico. I am captivated by the ways art both transcends and translates language. Mexico is a country brimming with famous historical art movements, innovative contemporary art venues, and rich indigenous art practices. I am eager to discover and understand the intersection of art, history, identity, and education within a culture that is saturated in the arts.
What drew you to studying a foreign language? What excites you about the idea of teaching English in the country you have been placed?
In the ESOL class I currently teach, my students are from all over the world. After each lesson I feel as much a student as a teacher. It is this reciprocal exchange that I find most beautiful when teaching language. As an English teaching assistant in Mexico, I strive to inspire such an exchange as both a student of Spanish and a teacher of English. Most of all, I am excited to connect with my students within their country to share and learn each other’s language, culture, and experiences.