Sara Damon uses her skills from Fulbright to benefit students

Grace Sneden, Buisness Editor

AP human geography and global studies teacher Sara Damon received the Fulbright scholarship last school year and spent January through June traveling to 11 different countries in Africa.

Damon spent most of her time there in Botswana, as a part of the population studies department. She took classes at the university to keep her studies going. 

“It was really fun. I was living in an apartment in the capital city, I was taking a class at the university, so I kind of felt like a college student,” Damon said.

She was excited about meeting new people while she was living there and getting to know the community and the people living in the community. Damon used her experiences to benefit the students she would teach when she got back.

“You have to be specific about the country you’re visiting, and the cultural groups that you’re interacting with, because there is so much diversity,” Damon said. “But one of the things I did for Fulbright is I created some lessons that fit into our population geography unit.”

Damon used her insights on the different cultures in Africa to educate her students on new topics. While she was in Botswana, she gave back to the community that helped her grow as a teacher.

“Working with a nonprofit organization, where I was helping to do some kind of informal seminars for kids at Harbor in a public library that had to do with sustainable development, and then helped out with an after school club,” Damon said.

Damon’s freshman class feels she will become a stronger teacher and will use her skills to help her students this school year.

“Going to a different country can really open your mind. And with that she can share with the class,” sophomore Estelle Auleciems said.

Auleciems felt Damon was already a strong teacher and is great at what she does. Previous students love what she did in Botswana and think it will help improve the whole school, not just her classes.

“I think that what she learned will contribute to the students and like they can learn from that also. And then take that on,” junior Schuyler Dupont said.

Damon hopes to education the school on the culture that is truly in Africa and not the stereotypes people assume is over there.

“There’s a lot of stereotypes about the African continent, and what one is actually a middle income country. A lot of people, live a lifestyle very similar to the lifestyle people live here. So, I guess, just trying to break through some of those myths and stereotypes that people have and just kind of get to the reality of the situation,” Damon said.

There is a lot of things people do not understand about Africa and what it is actually like to live there.

“You know, just about everybody has a mobile phone, just about everybody uses the internet, just about all the young people listen to the same music that young people listen to here. They have a lot of the same interests,” Damon said.

There are a lot of things that students can benefit from Damon’s experiences . There are a lot of factors that can contribute to teaching students the truth about other cultures and other lifestyles other than our own, and Damon hopes to help teach those students this school year.

Damon emphasized her goals, “Breaking down some of those barriers and helping students see that there really is this kind of global community that has more similarities than differences.”