2018 Grad Awarded Fulbright to Teach in Costa Rica

Costa Rica
Luke Duceman '18

April 11, 2019

Luke Duceman, a 2018 Susquehanna University graduate, has received a prestigious Fulbright U.S. Student Program award for an English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) in Costa Rica for the 2019-20 academic year. The U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board made the award.

Costa Rica accepts only two Fulbright ETAs per year. Duceman studied abroad in the country as a student at Susquehanna through its Global Opportunities Program.

Fulbright's ETA Program places Fulbrighters in classrooms abroad to provide assistance to local English teachers. Duceman, of Mount Carmel, Pennsylvania, 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.

"I've always had a passion for language learning and helping others," Duceman said. "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."

Duceman, who graduated with a degree in music education and a minor in Spanish, is currently a long-term substitute teacher at Mountain View Jr./Sr. High School, Kingsley, Pennsylvania, where he teaches choir, piano, general music and adapted music, and co-taught an English course on folklore and legends.

Duceman is Susquehanna's ninth Fulbright recipient in the past seven years. This was his second attempt at the Fulbright ETA award in Costa Rica. Last year he was listed as an alternate. Despite his previous disappointment, he said he reapplied with the hope that his application would be stronger.

"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."

The Fulbright Program is 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.

Fulbright alumni have achieved distinction in many fields, including 59 who have been awarded the Nobel Prize, 82 who have received Pulitzer Prizes, and 37 who have served as a head of state or government.

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