Ready to return
Wheaton grad wins Fulbright to live and teach in Greece
Ashley Wich ’13 is excited to finally go back to Greece. This fall she will be heading to Athens courtesy of the Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship that she was awarded.
As a Fulbright Scholar, she will work with the Hellenic American Educational Foundation to teach English to Greek students, help them with college applications, and assist with debate and theater clubs.
During her junior year at Wheaton, the anthropology major spent the spring semester in Greece studying architecture and Greek literature while soaking in all of the rich culture and history of the Mediterranean country. She loved her trip so much that she ultimately wrote her senior thesis on the subject of Greek national identity, and she longed to return to Greece to learn more about the culture and people that drew her there in the first place.
Her trip back, however, took a bit longer than Wich expected. She applied for the Fulbright scholarship in 2013 at the end of her senior year, but just missed the cut.
“Dean [Alex] Trayford told me I had a really strong application, and he asked if I wanted to take a second try.”
She did. And this year, while working as a paralegal outside of Boston, she got the good news that she had won the award. Ironically enough she was eating.
“I was on my lunch break at a falafel restaurant when I got the email.”
In retrospect, the year of work between graduating and returning to Greece has been positive. Wich said she feels more prepared for her work in Greece than she would have right after graduation.
“Living, and working independently this year has really helped in the long run. I gained valuable work experience.”
She credits her experiences at Wheaton with helping her to figure out the next stage of her time in Greece. “My experiences at Wheaton opened me up to passions I didn’t know I had.”
Wich served as a both a teaching assistant and as a preceptor, and she credits both of those experiences with helping her learn that she has an interest in teaching. Wich excelled in her time at Wheaton. She was on the Dean's List each of her years as a student, and was a recipient of numerous scholarships including a Trustee merit scholarship and a Citizen Scholarship award.
She is excited to see how her perspective has changed since her last trip to Greece as a student.
“It’s going to be new, but I will be able to deepen my understanding of the country.”
This time, she hopes that being more integrated in the Greek culture by teaching and having an extended stay will help her get a more thorough understanding of the country she has grown to love.