Emily Bom, a communication sciences and disorders graduate, received a Fulbright grant this year. She plans to teach English abroad in Bulgaria.

How did you achieve the Fulbright?
There have been many different opportunities that I have been able to take advantage of. I would say it has been a combination of my classes as well as extracurricular activities. My degree is in communication sciences and disorders, and I also got my TEFL certificate. My classes to achieve these two things certainly contributed to my knowledge of teaching the English language. Additionally, I have had the opportunity to volunteer to teach through the UCF COLORS program. Teaching English online for two semesters gave me a lot of hands-on experience that Fulbright is really looking for. I also had the opportunity to study abroad with the Burnett Honors College in South Africa. This trip presented me with the opportunity to participate in cross-cultural service projects. The Fulbright program in Bulgaria heavily emphasizes community service, so having had previous experience was important. Finally, I have had the opportunity to go on a mission trip to Central Asia and teach an English club. Having teaching experience in a foreign country gave me a lot of ideas about how I want to teach in Bulgaria.

What is your long-term goal and how will this help you get there?
My long-term goal is to pursue either speech pathology or teaching middle/high school language arts. I am excited to gain experience teaching to help me decide which path I want to pursue. I am also excited to use my time in Bulgaria in participating in cross-cultural service to better my understanding of communicating and building relationships among those from diverse backgrounds. In choosing a specialty, I hope to focus my talents on helping/teaching children in underprivileged inner-city areas of refugee communities.

What advice do you have for others interested in receiving the Fulbright?
My advice for those who are interested in Fulbright would be to take advantage of every opportunity that you can. Many of the opportunities that I was able to partake in in college were due to me reaching out to a professor or applying to different programs. There are tons of opportunities out there if you just ask! Additionally, I would say to make sure to start your application early. It will probably take more effort than you think. The earlier you start, the more opportunity you have to edit and add to your essays, and the UCF Office of Prestigious Awards is great.

Do you have any favorite hobbies?
My top hobby is long-distance running. I got into running half-marathons during my freshman year at UCF and haven't stopped since. I ran cross-country in high school, but I have found that I really enjoy being able to run 10+ miles at a time. I am actually hoping to start an after school running club in Bulgaria.