WHEATON – Wheaton College 2017 alumna Nadia Dervish will have an opportunity to connect with her heritage when she spends the 2018-19 academic year in Turkey, where she will serve as a cultural ambassador for the U.S. by teaching English and providing assistance to local English teachers.
The opportunity comes as a result of her winning a Fulbright award. The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.
Her father is from Northern Cyprus.
"He speaks Turkish," Dervish said. "The program is country specific, so you choose where you would like to go teach. So Turkey was an easy choice for me. I would be kind of giving myself an opportunity to finally learn the language and kind of connect a little bit more with my cultural heritage. So I'm excited. I feel like I'm going to learn a lot."
Last summer, she enrolled in Turkish language courses at the Azerbaijan University of Languages in Baku, Azerbaijan. That opportunity came about after she received a critical language sponsorship from the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
"I'm not walking in totally blind," Dervish said.
She said what she learned at Wheaton College helped prepare her for her upcoming experience.
"Wheaton provided me with a lot of off-campus opportunities that I think kind of shaped my interest," Dervish said.
Dervish is not the only Wheaton College student to receive a major international award.
Wheaton College junior Benjamin Hess, a geology major, also recently was named a Goldwater Scholar in recognition of his geochemical research on fulgurites and apatites. The Goldwater Scholarship honors academic excellence among mathematics, science and engineering students.
In addition, David Van Dyke, associate professor of marriage and family therapy at Wheaton College, has received a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program award to go to Hungary. The award will allow him to spend the 2018-19 academic year in Hungary, teaching marriage and family therapy and helping design psychology programs.