Student Spotlight: Ilze Spilde


Autumn Granza, Community Editor

Major: Art Education

Year: 2013

Q: Although your major is art eduction, what inspired you to get into English education as well?

A: I have always loved English and even considered English education as a major before deciding on art. My high school had a really great English department, so I was able to take some advanced classes with some excellent teachers. I would definitely have to say that a few particular English teachers were the source of my inspiration to excel in English.

Q: Not everyone who loves a subject can teach it. What do you like about teaching?

A: I like teaching because it gives you the opportunity to share something you love with others. By teaching abroad, not only will I be teaching a subject that I love, but I will also be informing my students about my language and culture while simultaneously learning about theirs.

Q: Why did you want to enter the Fulbright contest?

A: The main reason is that the Fulbright program offers a grant to teach in Latvia. I am half Latvian and I was also extremely close with my Latvian grandmother, so it has always been a dream of mine to rediscover my heritage in the country that my grandparents so often recalled. The Fulbright grant is a perfect opportunity because it will not only offer me a chance to use my love for teaching and the English language, but it will also allow me to envelop myself in the culture of my family’s roots.

Q: When you found out that you were a finalist for Fulbright, how did you feel and what was your reaction?

A: When I found out I was a finalist, I was very excited, but at the same time, I tried my best to be grounded because I knew that it was only the next stage and I had not secured the grant.

Q: If you are awarded this grant, what will be the biggest thing that you will want to gain from this experience of teaching English education in Latvia?

A: There are a ton of things I would like to gain from this experience, but I would really like to immerse myself in the culture and see the world through a new perspective. I hope to make a difference to those whom I meet, and I am certain that the Latvian people and culture will make a significant impact on me. I have grown up listening to stories of Latvia and now I want to create a story of my own there.