Fulbright Scholar Esther Pescador De Galdo

by Kaitlin Roeper 

Ferrum College has a wide variety of diversity throughout its campus.  With the help of the Fulbright Scholarship Program, diversity and cultural knowledge grows every day. The Fulbright Scholars program is a competitive merit-based scholarship for individuals to travel abroad to research, study and exercise their talents. For the past three years, Ferrum College has been joined by Fulbright Scholars, one from Argentina and another from Spain. For the 2015-2016 academic year Esther Pescador de Galdo has been calling Ferrum College her home and sharing her knowledge with the campus.  She came to Ferrum to teach Spanish, her native language, because she loves seeing bilingual signs and hearing Spanish everywhere.  While here she has taught courses such as Spanish 101 and conversational Spanish, keeps a blog and held a lecture in the Panther’s Den in Franklin Hall to share her language and culture. Through these lectures she likes to help people understand more about Spanish culture, Spain and the differences between Mexico and other Spanish-speaking countries. “People assume that in Spain we eat the same food as in Mexico,” she said. “Someone told me that I should not miss food from Spain because there are a lot of Mexican restaurants around here”

Pescador De Galdo is from a small town called Pinto, Spain. Ever since she was a child she was interested in language and wanted to be a teacher. After her primary education, she decided to take a year off and traveled to Ireland to work as an au pair and improve her English. After that year she went back to Madrid to get a B.A. in translation and interpreting with a specialization in translation in English, Spanish, and French.

During the first semester in college, Pescador De Galdo learned about the Fulbright Scholarship Program because one of her professors had come to the United States as a Fulbright Scholar. She knew that was what she wanted to do. She wanted to experience the States in person and not just through books.  So she finished her B.A. and worked as an English teacher while starting her M. Ed.  While working towards her M. Ed, she realized her love for linguistics, which took her back to Dublin to receive a master’s degree in Applied Linguistics in Trinity College in Dublin. Pescador De Galdo’s time in Dublin convinced her she wanted to become a better educator and that is also why she wanted to join the Fulbright Scholars. While she was finishing her master’s, she applied for a Fulbright Scholarship. She was ready to share her culture with the States. She has participated in the LUCIDE project, a network that manages multilingual citizen communities. She also presented work at the Interdisciplinary Linguistics Conference in Queen’s University, Belfast, in 2014 and the Sheffield Postgraduate Conference in Linguistics at the University of Sheffield in 2015. She also presented at the Fulbright Conference in DC, in 2015, about how to transmit culture in the classroom, presenting work she did last semester with her students here, and has written an article for Madrid magazine Babel about the Linguistic Landscape, which will be published in 2017.

Pescador De Galdo applied for the scholarship while in Dublin and got an email saying she had to return to Madrid for an interview with Fulbright Commission. The interview was in Spanish and English, “I was also asked if I would be able to live in a small place and I said of course. I’m from Madrid and have been living in Dublin for a year. I saw the interviewers giggling and I did not understand why. Then I got to Ferrum as my host institution and, in that moment, I understood those quiet laughs,” Esther says.

She hopes to take some U.S. back customs to the Spanish education system. She’ll also be taking back fond memories. “Thank you to Karl Roeper, Nancy Beach, Aaron Creasy, Taiki, Mizuho, David, and my students for all the laughs, conversations and for their help,” she said, “because you have made me feel at home even though I was away from my home!”

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