Posted July 6, 2021 — Growing up, Parker Carwile dreamed of traveling to other countries and connecting with different cultures. Inspired by her teachers, she also wanted to become an English instructor who helped students learn through literature.
Now, as a recipient of the prestigious Fulbright English Teaching Assistant grant, Carwile will get to marry her two greatest passions as she heads to South Korea.
“Amazing is not a word that even touches how I felt when I received this award,” said Carwile, who earned an M.Ed. in curriculum and instruction from the University of Houston College of Education in 2019.
Designed to build relationships between the United States and other countries, the Fulbright U.S. Student Program has given over 400,000 students, teachers, artists and others the opportunity to learn, exchange ideas and help address international concerns.
Carwile is one of 10 recent UH graduates and alumni to receive Fulbright grants for the 2021-22 academic year. The scholarship will allow her to teach English in South Korea, act as a cultural ambassador and perform community outreach.
Carwile, an English teacher at Channelview High School, said she looks forward to connecting her students to the Korean students she’ll be instructing later this year. The exchange will help the Korean students improve their English skills and give the students in America an opportunity to embrace another culture.
“I’d love to show them, ‘Here’s a real person from this culture, and now you can learn from each other,’” Carwile said.
Using her contacts and eight years of experience in tae kwon do, she also plans to join or create a kumdo or martial arts program in South Korea and connect it to the Houston-area kendo community. While at UH, Carwile practiced the martial art through the campus club Cougar Kendo.
“Being a cultural ambassador is not only sharing my culture and getting students and locals excited about where I’m from, it’s also learning from them about their culture,” Carwile said.
Inspired by her time in Houston’s Koreatown, she connected with the Houston Korean Education Center and found a language partner to teach her Korean while she helped the partner with English.
A Louisianian, she said her time in Houston prepared her for the Fulbright opportunity.
“I didn’t really have any connection to communities from other countries until UH,” she said. “I feel like if we can understand each other more, we can help build each other up, cultivate that alliance, and the best way to do that is through education.”
— By Lillian Hoang
— Photo courtesy of Parker Carwile