JMU Honors Graduate Earns Fulbright Award to Teach in Taiwan

From: Public Affairs

Eric Pasciuti

Eric Pasciuti will head to Taiwan in August to teach English to elementary schoolchildren, but the 2010 James Madison University honors graduate plans to be as much student as teacher.

Fascinated by the Asian culture since he was a child, Pasciuti said he plans to "just absorb as much as I can about the people" during his 11-month Fulbright-funded trip.

Pasciuti was selected for a Fulbright English teaching assistantship that will begin Aug. 1 and end July 1, 2011. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, the Fulbright program is the largest U.S. international exchange program. The program provides opportunities for students, scholars and professionals to undertake international graduate study, advanced research, university teaching and teaching in elementary and secondary schools worldwide.

Pasciuti said he will be a teaching assistant and will help plan lessons. He does not know how much English the children will know, but he hopes he can use the Chinese he learned at JMU to speak at least a little with them. "I would say that when I get into the flow of things, I can be mildly conversational, but it's pretty difficult. I'm hoping that being there for a year will really help me."

In addition to his teaching, Pasciuti said he is required to do community service. That may involve helping with efforts to recover from typhoon Morkot, which struck the island in August 2009 and killed more than 600 people. The typhoon, the deadliest in Taiwan's history, also caused $3.3 billion damage. If he does not do typhoon recovery, he hopes to coach baseball or soccer.

This will be Pasciuti's second trip to Asia, but the first, a study abroad trip in the summer of 2008, lasted just two months on China's mainland.

Upon his return to the states next summer, Pasciuti hopes to work for Barclay's Capital, an international investment bank. The bank has expressed interest in sending him to Singapore to work at a new branch, he said.

At JMU, Pasciuti majored in quantitative finance and minored in Asian studies and Chinese business studies.

Pasciuti is the second consecutive JMU graduate to earn a Fulbright English teaching assistantship. Traci Cox has spent this year teaching English in Slovakia.

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May 17, 2010