Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant Fellows

Each year, several Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant (FLTA) Fellows arrive at Susquehanna University to teach students their native language and share their culture.

As part of the Fulbright Foreign Student Program, the Fulbright FLTA Program is designed to develop Americans’ knowledge of foreign cultures and languages by supporting teaching assistantships in more than 35 languages at hundreds of U.S. institutions of higher education. The FLTA program offers educators from more than 55 countries the opportunity to develop their professional skills and gain first-hand knowledge of the U.S., its culture and its people.

Robinson Brégnat

I grew up in Landes-le-Gaulois, a small village near Blois, in France and took interest in English during middle school and high school when I discovered the United States culture through music and TV Shows. When I was eighteen, I moved to Paris to study English and French Literature at Sorbonne University. In Paris, I taught adult refugees French lessons to improve their conversational skills and to help them discover French culture. After these experiences, I enrolled in a master’s degree program of Gender Studies and in 2021, I worked as a stakeholder in middle schools to raise student’s awareness about women or LGBTQ+ rights. I chose to join the FLTA Program because I wanted to be immersed in the United States’ culture as well as share my culture with others and I knew this once in a lifetime experience would allow me to grow as a person and feed my curiosity.

Boutaina El Farssioui Belhaj

I was born in the northern coastal city of Morocco, Tangier, and destiny led me to live in another Mediterranean city in Andalusia, Malaga. While there, I had the opportunity to study Hispanic Philology at the University of Malaga, along with a double master’s degree in teaching and management of Spanish Linguistic and Literary Heritage.

After high school, not only did I start reading a lot of books and fall in love with Spanish literature, but I also realized that I liked languages because of their ability to help me communicate better with others. Combining both, I knew I wanted to transmit this passion and become a teacher.

For me, the cultural environment in which I have moved has also always been important in my life. As a daughter of immigrants, I have always had two cultures present in my life, Moroccan and Spanish. Belonging to both cultures at the same time has been of enormous personal enrichment, as it has allowed me to navigate between two cultures. Seeing that I could choose the best of both to form my own identity has been wonderful, and for this reason, I firmly believe in the great power of the exchange of cultures.

This led me to open myself up to other cultures through different international projects, such as, the Erasmus + youth projects, the SUSIs (Study of the U.S. Institutes) program for Student Leaders in Boston, MA, and educational volunteering in Paraguay.

Therefore, I strongly believe in the importance of cultural exchange with another country, which is why I chose to join the Fulbright FLTA program to merge two aspects that I am passionate about – teaching and cultural exchange.

Maximiliano Sclippa

I’m from Chaco, Argentina and graduated as a teacher from San Fernando Rey Teaching Training College. Training in languages, in formal or non-formal areas, allowed me to become the foreign language teacher I am today. Navigating multilingual environments allowed me to conceive the importance of language learning from other viewpoints and no longer from a pure focus on form or language as a tool. I not only learned this from the different training spaces but also in the areas where I had the opportunity to work and continue working.

My linguistic journey did not end in my teaching training or at its completion. In the process, I explored other languages and forms of writing. I attended Italian courses to try to maintain that language that was part of my family, I learned a bit of Argentine Sign Language that allowed me to see a language that uses three-dimensional space to show meanings, studied 4 years of French, and had the privilege of participating in Spanish teaching classes with the Federal University of Goiás, Brazil. All of these opportunities have made a mark in my professional career.

Being a part of the Undersecretariat for Interculturality and Plurilingualism in the province of Chaco, allowed me to not only the teaching of languages as foreign ones but also the teaching of indigenous languages that cohabit in my province. I had the opportunity to coordinate a language teaching program ‘Idiomas en ELE’, that allowed children and teenagers from every corner of my province to learn foreign languages through online, live lessons.

Gloria Tonazzo

I was born and raised in a town near Padova, in the north-east of Italy. I love the sense of community a small town can give but I never felt limited to its geographical borders. As a kid, I traveled a lot with my parents and then continued on my own while growing up. I believe these experiences shaped my personality and my curiosity for diversity. While traveling, I realized that to facilitate cultural exchanges, I needed to communicate, which is why I studied Arabic and Spanish.

Even though I have always known that I wanted to work with languages, it hasn’t always been clear to me that I wanted to be a teacher. But, the first time I taught Italian as a foreign language teacher during a volunteering camp with immigrants in southern Italy, I felt like I belonged there. Therefore, I started my master’s degree in Language Sciences and carried out specific studies to teach Italian as a Foreign Language. In the meantime, I worked as an English teacher in a primary school and started a course for foreign women in my hometown.

In 2022-2023 I taught Italian as Teaching Assistant at the University of Gent in Belgium, and then at the Dante Alighieri Institute in Seville, Spain. I also started teaching Italian online as a freelancer and launched my own course. Currently, teaching Italian at SU is allowing me to broaden my perspectives and being personally and professionally enriched by coworkers and students themselves.

Cristian Villalba

I am from Buenos Aires, Argentina. I constantly seek opportunities to learn about different languages and that led me to become an English teacher for the past eight years. While teaching, I enjoy the opportunity to share my love for learning and cultural exchange. Teaching, to me, is a two-way street where I learn just as much from my students as they do from me.

Exploring new places and different cultures has been a significant part of my life. Whether I’m visiting museums, enjoying live theater performances, or cheering for my favorite sports teams, I really enjoy all kinds of different experiences and the diversity they bring. However, what I like most is getting in touch with nature. Hiking through forests, cycling along scenic routes, and kayaking or any similar activity that connects me with nature.

Now, as a Language Fellow, I look forward to sharing my experiences and knowledge with my students and I’m thrilled to continue this journey of discovery, education and cultural exchange.

Zehra Yesiloez

After growing up in Hannover and completing my bachelor’s degree at Leibniz University in secondary education with a major in German and a minor in history, I moved to Göttingen. After earning my Master’s degree at the Georg August University and obtaining an additional qualification in art, I pursued further education in teaching German as a second and foreign language and worked with refugees from Syria and Ukraine.

During my studies, I was involved in various research projects at the Hannover Medical School, such as one where I investigated the impact of physical activity in primary schools. I also worked as a test administrator for comparative studies, like PISA. 

I gained international experience through my role as a Camp Counselor at the YMCA Deer Valley Family Camp and through numerous trips, mostly to European countries.

I teach introductory German courses at Susquehanna and I’m grateful for the opportunity to expand my experience in language instruction.