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Linda Mathew

College: Hunter College
Awards: Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship, 2016

Ready to Wander the World - Teaching English

There's a great and fascinating world to see, and Linda Mathew intends to see it one classroom at a time.

Having taught in Vietnam in 2014 and won a 2016 Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Thailand, she says, "My personal goal is to keep teaching abroad. I'd like to teach around the world before I come back."

She prepared for this career of educational wanderlust at Queens College, earning a B.A. in psychology and elementary education in 2014 and an M.S. Ed. in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) in 2016.

"When I was younger, I volunteered at a day care center or classrooms," she recalls. "When I got to college, I knew I wanted to specialize in some form of elementary education. In 2014 I applied for an internship that Queens College has to Vietnam. Through the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization [a nongovernmental organization of the 11 southeast Asian countries], five other students and I spent a month at a summer camp in Ho Chi Minh City. I taught a couple of classes a day of about 30 students each. I taught story-telling to three levels of students, beginning to advanced."

By then Mathew had already applied for the Queens master's program in TESOL. "This experience solidified my decision. I'll be in Thailand for a year, and I'm hoping that if I like teaching there, I'll keep teaching abroad. I have a list of countries."

Among them is India, her parents' birthplace. She has traveled numerous times to visit family in Kerala, a state on the South Indian coast that historically has been known for the spice trade. "I've never been outside of Kerala. My goal as a traveler would be to go to other parts of India and teach."

For almost three years, Mathew has worked in the Queens College academic advising office. She started as an undergraduate aide and then transitioned into adviser through the CUNY CAP (Counseling Assistantship Program). Through this program, CUNY graduate students work about 20 hours a week, counseling undergraduates about admissions, financial aid, career development, academic advisement and more.

If and when she returns to New York, she will have all the certification necessary to teach in the public schools here, thanks to her Queens College education. As an undergraduate, she gained certification for grades 1 through 6, and while earning her master's she took the TESOL exam for grades K to 12.