Journey to the East
Fulbright in hand, Christina Socci ’13 heads to South Korea
by Tony Moore
April 5, 2013
In March, Christina Socci '13 became the latest Dickinson student to be named a Fulbright scholar. She'll head to South Korea after graduation to pursue an English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program.
"Back home, in Pine Brook, N.J., there is a sizable Korean-American population, so I spent most of middle school and high school listening to Korean pop music and falling in love with Korean food," says Socci, an English major. "After hearing so much about South Korea and getting a taste of its culture through my friends. I knew that this was my chance to learn about the country and make it my own."
With that chance becoming a reality, Socci looks back at what brought her here, citing her Working With Writers class as one of the foundational elements in her desire to apply for a Fulbright.
"This class represents the moment when I really began to interrogate what it meant to teach writing and how my understanding of the writing process could be improved," she says. "Everything that came afterward—from taking courses in Toulouse in French to writing my thesis now—has stemmed from that class."
Beyond writing her thesis, "everything that came afterward" includes working as a peer tutor in English and French in Dickinson's Multilingual Writing Center, which, she says, "has helped me discover my passion for working with writers." Socci also volunteered at a French university in Toulouse, helping students improve their conversational English skills while cultivating experiences as a tutor and teacher. And upon her return to campus from France in the fall of 2012, Socci worked as a writing associate for a first-year seminar.
And the application process was rumbling on in the background.
"The Fulbright process was challenging," Socci says of the yearlong exercise. "And I definitely would not have been able to finish it without the help I received from professors Lars English [associate professor of physics], Helene Lee [assistant professor of sociology], Elizabeth Lewis [assistant professor of education] and Noreen Lape [director of the Norman M. Eberly Writing Center]. Having the Dickinson faculty as a resource made the process much more manageable."
Socci looks at the ETA position as one of the most rewarding challenges she'll ever experience, even if she doesn't yet know where she'll end up.
"The idea of living and working in a different environment is incredibly exciting, even if my integration into my host city will not always be easy," she says. "I won't know where I'll be working until July, when I arrive in Seoul for orientation, so I could end up anywhere. I'm just going to enjoy this experience and see what opportunities arise from it."
Scholarships and other honors 2013
Dickinson's Fulbright Success