Our Stories

Student Travels to Korea On Fulbright

Elizabeth Humphrey '07 credits her fascination with other cultures to a random housing assignment during her freshman year.

Her second semester, she was assigned a roommate from Tokyo International University of America, a program adjacent to campus that allows students from Tokyo International University to study at Willamette for a year and integrate into the campus community. The program also provides opportunities for Willamette faculty and students to work and study in Japan.

Humphrey didn't know what to expect of her roommate, having grown up in small-town Dallas, Ore., which was fairly homogeneous compared to the Willamette campus. "By the end of the semester, we became really good friends," the history major says. "I learned a lot about Japan and ended up reflecting more on my own assumptions as an American."

When she graduates in May, Humphrey will take off on another intercultural adventure. She received a prestigious grant through the Fulbright Program for U.S. Students that will allow her to teach English to high school students in South Korea for the next year. She is one of two Willamette students this spring to receive this honor.

This isn't Humphrey's first time snagging a national honor -- last summer she was one of 10 college students nationwide to receive a SHEAR/Mellon Undergraduate Fellowship, allowing her to spend three weeks in Philadelphia researching her history thesis and working alongside professional historians.

She is excited about the cultural immersion she will experience with her Fulbright. "I want to increase other people's understanding of what American culture is, but this is also for my own benefit. I can learn about other cultures through books, but I think the best way is by experiencing them."