• Mattie Cryer '17 during her Fulbright year in Argentina

Cryer served in the Paraná Basin at the edge of the Amazon rain forest. “The backdrop was lush and days often warm and rainy,” she described.

“Stepping into the role of English Teaching Assistant in a foreign country for a year is all that you think it will be,” explained Cryer. “I was fortunate enough to be welcomed immediately into the folds of a private, university-level institute for English teachers. Every day was an opportunity to push personal and professional comfort zones. My colleagues at the institute allowed me to explore a variety of topics and means of teaching, which in turn granted students some autonomy in their learning process.”

Cryer’s 50 students were mostly in their 20s, although anyone out of high school could apply to attend, so students’ ages varied. The collaborative staff and teachers at the Ipesmi Institute in Posadas made moving across the world alone much easier, Cryer said, and she made lifelong friends.

“Not every day was easy, but that is certainly the point,” Cryer noted. “With local friends from my placement and other Fulbrighters, I traveled, ate delicious food, laughed, became a better teacher, became a better person, and lived a new version of myself that reaped the benefits from the choosing the unknown.

“On this side of my Fulbright experience, I can see miles of growth,” she concluded. “I just graduated from the University of Denver’s Graduate School of Social Work with specialization in immigration reform and environmental justice and am moving into the professional world with a hopeful heart.” 

To learn more about the Fulbright Program, visit https://us.fulbrightonline.org/ or contact Alexandra Anderson, fellowship advisor in the Center for Career & Professional Development.