Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
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Teaching in Taiwan

Savannah Tenney ’14 wins Fulbright assistantship

Having spent time in Scotland and Tanzania as a student at Wheaton College, Savannah Tenney ’14 is ready for her next global adventure: A year teaching English in Taiwan.

Tenney, a double major in anthropology and English, is one of seven Wheaties so far this spring to receive a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship. Her Fulbright will take her to the Taiwanese archipelago of Kinmen, located just off the coast of mainland China, for an 11-month post starting in August.

The Sudbury, Mass. native learned about the Fulbright ETA program through a family friend. She began preparing her application at the start of her senior year, receiving help from Wheaton professors and from Alex Trayford, associate dean in the Filene Center for Academic Advising and Career Services.

“I decided to apply for a Fulbright because I knew I wanted to take a few years off between now and applying to graduate schools, and I knew I wanted to spend some of that time abroad, doing something that I felt was productive and important,” Tenney said.

As soon as she began the application process, Tenney knew she wanted to work in Asia.

“I have never really studied Asia in school, and I felt I had a whole lot to learn from traveling somewhere completely different,” she said. “I chose Taiwan specifically because they have a fascinating and complicated cultural and historical identity. I also felt that their relationship to the English language as one of three main languages would make for an interesting teaching experience.”

As a sophomore at Wheaton, Tenney spent one month in Tanzania with Professor of Anthropology Donna Kerner for a course on education and development. This first experience abroad helped push Tenney outside her comfort zone, as she participated in a homestay and several research projects. Her junior year, Tenney spent a semester abroad in Edinburgh, Scotland.

On campus, Tenney has worked as a teaching assistant and writing tutor and has contributed to The Wheaton Wire and Rushlight. She has also played intramural soccer.

In her Fulbright application, Tenney said that after graduation she would like to participate in a program such as Teach for America or Americorps and to study applied anthropology or public health in graduate school. But the soon-to-be Wheaton alumna is hoping to be further inspired by her Taiwan experience.

“I am hoping my Fulbright year will give me some time to do some soul searching and figure out what I really want for my professional life,” she said. “Writing is my passion, and I can’t wait to see what kind of writing is inspired by my time in Taiwan.”

Tenney is a Balfour Scholar and the recipient of the Mary G. Mendler ’61 Wheaton Fund Scholarship.