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Savannah Dixon and her students paint classroom
Savannah Dixon, center left, and her students paint classroom

UT graduate Savannah Dixon, of Memphis, is teaching English in Guatemala on a Fulbright Student Award. She is one of the 19 UT students who received the prestigious awards last year, making UT one of the nation’s top-producing campuses for students receiving 2018­­–19 US Fulbright Student Awards.

Dixon graduated from UT in May 2017 with a degree in architecture and Hispanic studies. She arrived in Guatemala in January and will be there through the end of the year.

What’s been the best part of your Fulbright experience?

“I had so many ideas of what Guatemala was, and in some ways I was right but in others I was totally wrong. It’s been so cool to experience such a dynamic culture and see how it is changing every day. The kids and teachers I’m working with are literally the most driven, passionate, intelligent, and fun people I’ve ever worked with, so I’m super excited to spend the year with them.”

What have you learned about your host country?

“I’ve learned that Guatemalans are incredibly polite. They have so many ways to show gratitude, welcome, and generosity linguistically and in body language. I’ve also gotten to travel across the country and experience the very diverse landscape and a season (dry season) that I’ve never seen in Guatemala before.”

How will this experience help you in the future?

“I know this experience has already changed the course of my life. What I’m learning about Guatemala, Central America, and Latin America will affect the way I see the world. My perspective has already shifted immensely in how I think about wealth and poverty, the haves and have-nots, about language and culture.”

What’s next for you?

“I’m starting to get really interested in the policy behind education development, but I’m still interested in going back to school in general to get my master’s in something combined with Latin American studies. I would love to research how to partner with local makers and builders and create building materials to develop a healthier, more culturally conscious built environment for the global South. I’m going to apply to grad school while I’m here, but I’m still not totally sure what path I’ll choose to study.”

UT students interested in the Fulbright or other national scholarships and fellowships should meet with the Office of National Scholarships and Fellowships staff.

CONTACT:

Amy Blakely (865-974-5034, ablakely@utk.edu)