Allyson Hoffman, an alumna of the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program at the University of South Florida (USF), was a recipient of a 2019-2020 Fulbright U.S. Student Program English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) to Norway, where she taught writing and American studies to secondary and post-secondary students at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NUST) and Byåsen Upper Secondary School. In Norway, Allyson also led community creative writing workshops at local libraries.
During her undergraduate studies at Hope College, Allyson served as the student director of the Writing Center. She then went on to teach creative writing at USF during her graduate program, which served as preparation for her Fulbright experience. In spring 2018, Allyson was recognized by the USF Department of English as a recipient of the Joseph Bentley Teaching Fellowship for excellence in teaching English courses at USF. That same year, her short story was published in Mid-American Review. Additionally, Allyson’s work has been published in the Alaska Quarterly Review, a biannual literary magazine, and The Rumpus, an online literary magazine.
Allyson decided to apply for the Fulbright ETA after discovering the award suited her interests in creative writing and teaching abroad. “As a passionate teacher and writer, I’m dedicated to bettering myself and my classrooms,” says Allyson. “Norway has an incredibly successful system of education, and I desired to learn how they’ve found that success.”
While navigating the complexities of the application process, she worked closely with Ms. Lauren Chambers, Associate Director of ONS and USF’s student Fulbright Program Advisor (FPA). “Lauren Chambers and the Office of National Scholarships staff were instrumental in the success of my application,” she says. “Lauren reviewed draft after draft of my essays and provided thorough, thoughtful feedback both in person and digitally. She also coordinated several practice interviews on my behalf and helped me reflect on my areas for growth.”
Now back in the United States, Allyson is currently pursuing freelance and consulting work with the hopes of returning to Norway one day to undertake full time university level teaching. She plans to both become a professor and mentor others who aspire to become Fulbrighters. “Becoming a Fulbright U.S. Student Program ETA recipient is a huge honor,” she says. “If I can make a difference in just one student’s language learning journey, then I will be successful. I feel so much pride serving in this important role.”
The Fulbright Program is the premier exchange program for U.S. students. Three types of grants are offered – independent research, graduate study (one-year master's degree) or English teaching – in over 140 countries. Applicants choose one grant type, and one country to apply to. Students apply for Fulbright a year ahead of going abroad –either as a graduating senior, alumni, young professional, or graduate (Master's or PhD) student.