English major Brianne Jaquette '06 is taking advantage of a unique Fulbright Fellowship - as a Fulbright Roving Scholar traveling Norway for a year.
She shares her reflections with the Denison community.
“What are all the places where you have felt like you were home?
“For me there are three so far, Pittsburgh, Boston, and one little school on a hill in Ohio. I have lived a lot of places in the last fifteen years, but my definition of home is simple: places I was always reluctant to leave and also felt joy upon returning to. But home is not just a clear narrative of places you can find comfort in. The places I have called home have also launched me into new adventures. And the biggest launch I got was from Denison. When I try to sum up what I learned at Denison, it is hard not to lean into clichés. I learned to think, to push my abilities, to criticize my world. But I also learned to seek, to travel—whether that was intellectually or physically.
“This year I have embarked one of the grander adventures of my life so far. I have a Fulbright to Norway. My Fulbright is not any old Fulbright (not that there is such a thing), but mine is unique in the world of Fulbright too. I am roving around Norway this year, and, yes, that is the correct verb. I am a Fulbright Roving Scholar. My job is to rove, to wander, to move without purpose. Okay, it is not as aimless as all that. But the roving comes from the fact that I travel around the country, with a base in Oslo, and present lectures and workshops to students and teachers on topics related to U.S. history and culture in upper secondary school (16-18 year olds).
“I also learned that there is so much to discover and that if you keep pushing yourself you will find experiences that you couldn’t have even imagined before.”
“Teaching is always a risk; you never know how your lessons will go or how your students will respond. It was even scarier to start teaching in a country where I don’t speak the language and additionally so to travel and teach new classes all of the time. I almost never met with the same students more than once; I often commented that it was the first day of school every day. Of course, with big risks also come big rewards. Having to present to new students continually sharpened my teaching skills. I’ve already noticed that when teaching in new environments now I command the space in a way I never did before. I also got to travel to places outside of the tourist’s usual haunts. Whether I was walking on a snowy path towards fish drying racks or standing on an apple farm in a beautiful green valley, I tried to suck in my surroundings and take notice of the special places I was encountering. This opportunity is one that is unparalleled in my life to date, and I wouldn’t have launched myself so far without a firm foundation to launch from.
“I have a PhD in English from the University of Missouri, and including this year, I have been teaching for the last nine years. It is those qualifications that got me here. However, when I’m on buses and trains or in cafes in the shadows of mountains, and I let my mind drift it is not grad school or my last job I think of. I think about Denison. I’m fortunate that I went to a college where I didn’t just learn content. I also learned that there is so much to discover and that if you keep pushing yourself you will find experiences that you couldn’t have even imagined before. I learned about the sheer wonder that new knowledge and new opportunities can bring into your life. As you move and grow, you get to take your past with you into new presents. I’m grateful that my past includes Denison.”