Information for Prospective FLTAs about the University of Georgia

 

The Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant (FLTA) Program brings teachers of many less-commonly taught languages from their countries to UGA for a year, primarily in order to teach their language and culture, but secondarily in order to learn about American culture and the American educational system first-hand and make friends with Americans, as well as to have the opportunity to audit a variety of classes that are interesting to them. In the past, we have hosted FLTAs from Turkey, Indonesia, Iran, Tunisia, Jordan, Egypt, Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Bangladesh.

 

The University of Georgia (UGA) is the largest university in the state of Georgia. Located in Athens, approximately an hour and a half (48 miles/77 km) northeast of Atlanta (pop. 500,000, whose metropolitan area is 5.3 million), UGA was the first state-chartered university in the United States. U.S. News & World Report magazine ranks UGA highly in its list of the top 50 public universities (recently 21st). It has an enrollment of approximately 34,885 students. For a description of the numerous educational opportunities available at UGA see www.uga.edu  . Athens is an exciting and friendly urban "college town," with students comprising about 1/4 of the population of the entire county.

[Mrs. Jannah Godlas (on the left), Dr. Godlas (with the hat) about to provide FLTAs in 2010 from Pakistan, Turkey, Bangladesh, Tajikistan, and Indonesia with pizza at one of the better pizza restaurants in Athens.]

Athens and the University of Georgia, aside from UGA's excellent academic reputation, are perhaps most well-known for three things: for being a major center for numerous varieties of music (being the home of the major rock n'roll band, REM, among others), for American football (since each year its team is almost always in the race for the national collegiate football championship), and for being the home of Coleman Barks, a retired English professor at UGA and the most renown English translator of Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi, who is not only one of the most loved poets in Muslim countries but is the most widely sold poet in the English language, largely because of the translations of Professor Barks.

Athens has a very pleasant climate during the academic year; usually no snow, or at most one or two snow days each year. There is easy access to free and frequent buses within Athens, via UGA's free bus system (which includes stops at apartments where FLTAs usually stay and which is regarded as among the best university bus systems in the USA. Also there is easy access to buses to Atlanta. At the university and in the town of Athens, there are many diverse cultural activities. In addition there is very little crime in Athens.

UGA is committed to building strong international connections and has the leading academic website concerning Islam and the countries of the Muslim world: www.uga.edu/islam  . Although the vast majority of the students at UGA come from Georgia, there are substantial numbers of international students and families here, with friendly Arabic, Urdu, Persian, Turkish, and Indonesian speaking families and students.

 

[Dr. Kavita Pandit (in the center), the UGA Associate Provost for International Education, with Dr. Godlas and FLTAs from Bangladesh, Turkey, Egypt, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Kyrgyzstan, Indonesia]

 

The Athens mosque is welcoming, even providing free iftars every evening during Ramadan. UGA would be most appropriate for FLTAs who would be comfortable with other FLTAs from a variety of countries and cultures and who see themselves as team-players who enjoy working together, assisting each other, and being a part of a supportive community of FLTAs in a close working relationship with Professor Godlas (for his professional biography see www.uga.edu/islam/profbio.html  ). In the past we have had Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Urdu, Pashto, Indonesian, Kyrgyz, Hausa, Tajik, and Bengali FLTAs, many at the same time.

[Adventurous former and current 2013-14 FLTAs, wearing life-jackets, from Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Nigeria, Indonesia, and Bangladesh, together with Mrs. Jannah Godlas, about to go canoeing at Sandy Creek Park, near UGA.]

Auditing of Courses

In addition to teaching courses in their native language, FLTAs (in their status as auditors at UGA) choose from the numerous courses described in the UGA Bulletin of Courses, auditing at least two courses per semester.http://bulletin.uga.edu/CoursesHome.aspx

Among the courses audited by previous FLTAs at the University of Georgia, the following are a few examples:

AFAM4880  Topics African American Literature

UNIV1117    Academic Writing for Multilingual Students

COMM1100  Introduction to Public Speaking

COMM1500    Introduction to Interpersonal Communication
EDIT 2000    Introduction to Computers for Teachers

ENGL2340    American Literature since 1865

ENGL3800    Introduction to Creative Writing

ENGL4110    English Grammar
HDFS 2950   Introduction to Child Development

LING4170     Second Language Acquisition
LING4180     English as a Second Language Error Analysis 

LLED8030     Discourse Analysis

LLED7045     Second Language Writing, Theory, and Research

RELI1100      Introduction to Native American Studies

SPED 5200   Methods in Teaching Young Children w/Developmental Delays

RELI4300      Islam and Its world

ARAB  1001  Beginning Arabic Language

PERS1001     Introduction to Persian Language

TURK1001    Introduction to Turkish Language

RELI1006      Religions of the World

RELI 1002     Eastern Religions

[Mrs. Jannah Godlas, Dr. Godlas, Dr. Honerkamp (with the red Fez), and Mrs. Salima Honerkamp, with FLTAs from Egypt, Turkey, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Indonesia, Kygyzstan, and Afghanistan (and friends), 2012]

Some courses may have prerequisites, and especially MA or PhD level courses and seminars may require permission of the instructor. So FLTAs are advised to email (before the first day of class) professors of courses that they are interested in auditing. We supply FLTAs with a formal letter of introduction explaining their situation and status to the professor of any class that they are interested in. FLTAs can then give it to the professors of their classes.

After a year in the FLTA program, FLTAs return to their countries--having gained experience teaching their language and having acquired a wealth of knowledge in their fields of expertise, which often then leads to exciting professional opportunities in their countries--some have enjoyed their experience at UGA so much that they have returned to do Ph.D. work at UGA.