Language student a true ambassador

2015-11-11 06:01
VANGILE NHLAPO enjoying some time out on a New York subway train during her time in the Fulbright Foreign Student Programme.   Photo: Supplied

VANGILE NHLAPO enjoying some time out on a New York subway train during her time in the Fulbright Foreign Student Programme. Photo: Supplied

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PHUTHADITJHABA. – When the Fulbright Foreign Student Programme visited the Qwaqwa Campus of the University of the Free State (UFS) during Vangile Nhlapo’s third year of studies in 2012, she attended the session with a clear objective: finding out as much as possible about the programme and then applying to be part of it.

At that stage, she still had a full year left to complete her studies.

The presentation and subsequent encouragement from her mentors compelled her to explore the opportunity to further her studies in America.

“I have always had an immense interest in languages; hence I am a proud UFS Languages alumni,” says Nhlapo.

This young and dedicated woman, who graduated with a BEd FET Languages degree in 2013, said she had taken the decision to apply for the Fulbright scholarship which, at a later stage, seemed too cumbersome to deal with.

“However, with time, all fell into place, notwithstanding the rigorous interviews and tests I had to go though. Eventually, I was granted the scholarship and later an opportunity to study at the Montclair State University in New Jersey from July 2013.”

Nhlapo enrolled for the master’s degree in Applied Linguistics and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), which afforded her the opportunity to market the UFS and South Africa to the world.

“Our cohort of students was diverse and international in nature.

I had classmates from Iraq, Russia, Germany and Afghanistan, to mention but a few.

“It was a learning curve for all of us.

“Americans in particular enjoyed my South African experiences in education. My Rwandan classmate and I did our part in sharing the best that Africa can offer, despite all the hardships facing the continent.”

She is developing her PhD project with the help of her mentor, Dr Dipane Hlalele. She is also considering a job offer from the Qingdao Technological University in China.

“My ultimate aim is to stay here at home and make a valuable contribution in the language planning and policy sector.”

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