A former Dragon is heading to Peru next spring. Joshua King, who graduated from William Monroe High School in 2015 and the University of Virginia in 2019, is a recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship to teach English in South America. King played football for the Dragons.
King majored in history and Spanish as a wahoo and had the chance to study abroad for a semester in Spain.
“That was so fun,” said King of his time in Valencia, Spain. “I had the chance to travel within Spain and did a bit of English teaching assistant work at a high school while there.”
While in Spain, King lived with a host family and really enjoyed how the culture encourages more fellowship with one another even after dinner.
“In high school I knew I wanted to be bilingual as not many Americans are,” he said. “In other countries, most are. While in Spain our host mother would speak to us for an hour or more after dinner to really get to know us better and help us with our Spanish. I really liked that.”
A friend recommended the Fulbright program to him on campus one day.
“I knew after visiting Spain and enjoying being a teaching assistant that I wanted to do more traveling,” he said. “My Spanish improved tremendously while I was in Spain. I met with UVA Counselors and they helped me with the application process and I got it.”
King will work more closely with an English teacher while in Peru, which he’s glad about because he said he’s not sure he’s qualified to be an English teacher. He is, however, considering a career teaching English as a Second Language.
“I like working with language; it think it’s really cool,” King said. “I like working with people from different countries because you can learn so much.”
King will take flight for Peru in March 2020 for nine months.
“It took a little while to set in,” he said. “I’m not sure where I’ll be in Peru, yet.”
Peru has a portion of the Amazon rain forest, a beach and mountains. In fact, Machu Picchu, an ancient Incan city high in the Andes Mountains is within Peru. King cannot wait to explore all the country has to offer, including hiking and new foods to try.
One goal for participants is to get involved with the local community.
“I know one guy there who’s involved with helping at soup kitchens,” King said. “I’d love to get involved in fitness or music.”
He also plans to explore faith-based organizations while there.
While at UVA, King was involved in OneWay InterVarsity Christian Fellowship.
Fulbright is the most widely recognized and prestigious international exchange program in the world, supported for more than 70 years by the American people through an annual appropriation from the U.S. Congress and by the people of partner nations. The program—working with universities, schools, binational Fulbright commissions, government agencies, nongovernmental organizations and the private sector—actively seeks out individuals of achievement and potential who represent the full diversity of their respective societies and selects nominees through open, merit-based competitions, according to the website.
King said the program pays for the flight there, offers a living stipend and helps participants find permanent housing while there.
King said he enjoyed college and the opportunities he had at UVA.
“One thing I liked was figuring out stuff on your own,” he said. “One thing I learned is if you see something you don’t like, take the initiative to fix it.”
For more information about the Fulbright program, visit https://us.fulbrightonline.org/.