By Kaylee Lindenmuth
MOUNT CARMEL, Northumberland County - A Mount Carmel native and 2018 Susquehanna University graduate will spend the next academic year in Costa Rica, helping teach English through an English Teaching Assistantship, or ETA.
Luke Duceman received the Fulbright US. Student Program award last month from the U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board for the ETA for the 2019-20 school year. Duceman will be one of only two Fulbright ETA recipients in Costa Rica.
"I've always had a passion for language learning and helping others," Duceman said in a media release. "After endless hours of Spanish instruction between high school, university and study-abroad experiences, I gained an appreciation for Hispanic culture and respect for those who learn another language. As an ETA, I not only want to instill a joy of learning in my students but also have them gain an appreciation for another culture just as I have."
According to a media release from the school, Duceman will help teach English to students there and improve their knowledge of the United States while also increasing his own Spanish language skills and familiarity with his host country.
The award comes from Duceman's second attempt at receiving it -- last year, he was selected as an alternate. This year, he reapplied, "with the hope that his application would be stronger," the school said.
"I couldn't see myself being anywhere else," Duceman said. "Between Spanish classes, teaching music lessons and making lifelong friends, Costa Rica and its people gave so much to me in the short time that I [studied] there. I simply want to return the favor."
Eight other Susquehanna students have received Fulbright awards in the past seven years. The program is described as "the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government. It is funded through an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The program currently operates in over 160 countries worldwide."
Duceman, a 2018 music education graduate with a minor in Spanish, currently substitute teaches at Mountain View High School in Susquehanna County in the music department.
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