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Ychante Teaching through Fulbright Program

By Rob Goldberg Jr.
PCC Media Relations Director

Mariela YchanteWINTERVILLE—At the start of fall semester in August, Pitt Community College welcomed Mariela Ychante to its foreign language department, marking the fourth year in a row PCC has had at least one faculty member teaching through the Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant (FLTA) Program.

A resident of Xalapa, Mexico, Ychante is the sixth instructor to teach at Pitt through the prestigious FLTA program. Throughout the 2014-15 academic year, she will assist students in the college’s foreign language lab, work with foreign language instructors, and conduct student outreach through the PCC Global office.

“Foremost, I would like to help students learn a foreign language, as it is really important for having better professional opportunities,” Ychante said. “In addition to that, this is an excellent opportunity for sharing my culture with students, so they have a clearer vision of my country.”

In her homeland, the 28-year-old Ychante works at an English school and specializes in Mexico’s pre-Hispanic culture and history, specifically Aztec dances and traditions. She hopes to gain a better understanding of American culture through her FLTA experience and have many stories to share with the people back home from her time in the United States.

“Being here is very important for me,” Ychante said. “As I learn from a different culture, I practice the language and I meet wonderful people.”

PCC Global Director Jessica Jaimes says it is an honor to have Ychante reaching out to students at Pitt and serving as a valuable campus resource. The application process for obtaining an FLTA instructor is very selective, she added.

“Having an FLTA instructor on campus speaks volumes for Pitt Community College and the international initiatives we have here,” Jaimes said. “We are one of two community colleges in North Carolina who have an FLTA this year.”

For the past 46 years, the FLTA program has enabled young educators, like Ychante, to refine their teaching skills, increase English language proficiency, and extend knowledge of the cultures and customs of the United States while engaging in non-degree studies at accredited post-secondary U.S. educational institutions.

Since its inception in 1968, nearly 310,000 educators—116,900 from the United States and 192,800 from other countries—have participated in the FLTA program.
Funded by the U.S. government, FLTA currently operates in more than 155 countries worldwide. The process for becoming a participant in the program is extensive for both the applicants and the colleges and universities seeking Fulbright scholars.