Historic City News congratulates Alex Banks on being selected to receive a Fulbright scholarship to serve as an English instructor in a rural school in Malaysia. The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the US Department of State oversees the Fulbright Program, a flagship international educational exchange program located in over 160 countries throughout the world.
Banks, who received the financial award from the U.S. government’s prestigious program, is a Flagler College spring graduate.
“I am extremely excited to start working and living in Malaysia,” Banks said. “I have already started to talk with fellow Flagler graduates in Spain about their experience teaching English, ideas for classroom activities and what to bring from the United States.”
Banks will be placed in a state-run school, where he will work with staff to teach English language lessons. He will also work alongside non-governmental organizations to develop community projects that align with the efforts of local officials — all in the spirit of increasing mutual understanding between Malaysia and the United States.
Like most graduates, Banks was unsure of the path he would take after crossing the stage. He toyed around with the idea of applying for the Peace Corps, but decided on the Fulbright program after being encouraged by Flagler College faculty. He settled on Malaysia because he says that he wanted something off the beaten path.
“Malaysia is appealing as it resides partially in Southeast Asia, and is a majority Muslim country,” he said. “It is heavily influenced by the Islamic world, and is, in many respects, a clash of civilizations producing a very interesting culture.”
Banks said he hopes to forge a lasting relationship with the community in which he’s placed and aims to serve as a positive example of an American abroad. Looking down the road, he hopes to pursue an academic career, teaching Political Science at a small, liberal arts college.
Fulbright alumni have become heads of state, judges, ambassadors, cabinet ministers, CEOs, and university presidents, as well as leading journalists, artists, scientists and teachers. They include 54 Nobel Laureates, 82 Pulitzer Prize winners, 29 MacArthur Fellows, 16 Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients, and thousands of leaders across the private, public and non-profit sectors. Since its beginnings in 1946, more than 360,000 “Fulbrighters” have participated in the program.