Post image for Arielle Moss

Arielle Moss

February 25, 2016

Growing up in a small town in Indiana, Arielle Moss came to IU ready to branch out. She majored in biology and Near Eastern languages and cultures, then studied abroad in Morocco as a junior and immediately fell in love.

“Morocco is renowned for its hospitality, and after spending two months studying abroad in Meknes, Morocco, this was proven very true as I sipped mint tea with strangers and learned more about Moroccan society and culture from my new friends and teachers,” Moss says. “I knew that those two months were not enough.”

So Moss applied to the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, an international educational exchange program through the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. She received a Fulbright teaching grant and is now teaching business English to 200 first-, second- and third-year students at the National School of Trade and Management in Agadir, Morocco.

“Returning to Morocco for a year as a Fulbright English teaching assistant was the perfect opportunity to fully engage in Moroccan society and to continue developing my interests in teaching and cross-cultural exchange,” she says.

Moss is one of 19 IU Bloomington students chosen as Fulbright scholars for 2015-16. IU is one of the top 10 producers of Fulbright recipients among research institutions. IU students are stationed throughout 15 countries in Europe, Latin America, and Asia.

“A Fulbright year is an ideal bridge between completing an undergraduate degree and future professional and academic pursuits,” says Paul Fogleman, associate director of competitive awards and research in the Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education. “In practical terms, IU students are getting unique professional experience, establishing new relationships, putting their skills into practice and advancing them.”

Fulbright applicants are multi-faceted and include personal and professional statements, references, foreign language evaluations and transcripts. Preparing a competitive application takes place over the course of several weeks early in the fall semester of a student’s senior year. The statements are key and students revise them under the guidance of faculty and staff advisers.

But the rewards are significant and students selected as Fulbright scholars receive full funding to either teach English or conduct research abroad for one year after graduation.

For Moss, the intensive application process was well worth it and has allowed her to truly experience Morocco and its culture. In addition to fulfilling her Fulbright duties of teaching English, Moss also interns at a local non-governmental organization that promotes intercultural exchange and manages a journalism club she started.

While nervous at first about transitioning to a college-level professorship, Moss’s students have helped put her mind at ease.

“While I have been developing as a teacher, my students have been instrumental in facilitating this development by coming to class ready to learn as well as teaching me about Morocco’s educational system, its traditions and its culture,” Moss says. “This generation of students will be the next leaders of Morocco, and teaching, learning from and building meaningful relationships with the university students shaping Morocco’s future has been an amazing opportunity.”

This post, by April Toler, originally appeared in the IU Communications Student Experience blog