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Senior receives U.S. Fulbright student grant to teach English in Luxembourg
Sunday, April 22, 2018

Senior receives U.S. Fulbright student grant to teach English in Luxembourg

Zachary Jones

Beginning as a youngster, when he listened to his grandfather speaking German to friends on the telephone, Zachary Jones was always intrigued – even fascinated – by foreign languages and cultures where they live.

Now, on the eve of receiving a B.A. in French Adolescence Education, Mr. Jones, of Grand Island, has received a Fulbright U.S. Student Program award.

Jones will use his English Teaching Assistant grant to teach English at the high school and university levels in Luxembourg, a culturally-rich European nation that boasts three official languages. That multilingual and multicultural identity attracted the 2014 Grand Island Senior High School graduate, who finished in the top 2 percent (7 out of 263) of his class, to Luxembourg.

“The Universite du Luxembourg, where I will be teaching English, offers undergraduate and graduate programs to students in German, French and English,” Jones explained. He’ll spend 20 hours a week teaching English at the university and in a high school in Luxembourg City, the nation’s capital.

His Fulbright grant, sponsored by the embassy of Brussels, Belgium, and the U.S. Department of State, is one of more than 2,150 funding opportunities in 140 countries to be offered during the coming academic year by the Fulbright U.S. Student Program.

“Zachary Jones is one of those students you are delighted to have in your class or your program: accomplished, rigorous and enthusiastic. He manages to be professional while still being an inquisitive student,” said Juan de Urda, associate professor and chair of the Department of World Languages and Cultures.

Jones, who is currently training for the 2018 Buffalo Half Marathon in late May, plans to start an English-speaking running group in Luxembourg City. “As part of our teaching responsibilities to teach in Luxembourg, we are encouraged to create community outreach programs and become involved outside of our academic responsibilities teaching English,” Jones explained.

“I hope to create a community or city English-speaking club where we meet at a local café and provide community English conversation groups with Anglophones living in Luxembourg City,” Jones added. Along with conducting private English tutoring lessons, Jones would also like to create a network of clients, ranging from business clients to students, who want to improve their English language proficiency.

While his current academic objective is to teach French as a foreign language, Jones is equally interested in the pedagogy of teaching English to non-native speakers. He traces that attraction to his work as an English teaching assistant, assigned to a middle school in a small indigenous village, during a four-week Spanish immersion trip to Oaxaca, Mexico, in the summer of 2015. That experience led Jones to the realization that he has much to offer a foreign classroom as a well-traveled, tri-lingual native English-speaking American.

“I learned that this sort of experience goes well beyond a linguistic exchange, and that these opportunities provide the sharing and exploration of culture and American identity to students of English,” Jones said.

Jones also works as an international trip leader for a student travel company out of Montreal, Westcoast Connection, Inc. In summer 2016, he led a Costa Rica Spanish Language and Community Service Summer Program for three weeks, and during the summer of 2017, he led a pre-college enrichment program at McGill University in Montreal for four weeks, both with Westcoast.

His spring semester is devoted to student teaching with two eight-week assignments, one at Jamestown Senior High School and the other at Fredonia Middle School. Jones, who also has minors in Spanish and International Studies, has served as a French and Spanish tutor at the campus Learning Center and as a substitute teacher in three area school districts.

On campus, Jones has served as an events and outreach intern in the Office of International Education and a student intern in the Office of International Student Services and also performed original research on French immigration politics for the Department of Politics and International Affairs. He has also been president of Pi Delta Phi French honor society and the International Club, a Study Abroad student ambassador, a Global Student ambassador and secretary of the Model European Union.

Jones, a son of Michael and Stephanie Jones, is also one of three Fredonia recipients of the 2018 SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence. Other honors include an ACT SUNY Award for Excellence and Student Initiative Scholarship and being named to the Dean’s List for several semesters. Jones is also enrolled in Fredonia’s Keeper of the Dream Scholarship and Leadership Program and is a member of the New York State Association of Foreign Language Teachers.

“As a language teacher, grammar and verb conjugations are only the beginning,” Jones said. “I strive for my students to leave my classroom with a more in-depth understanding of internationalization, multiculturalism and globalized understanding.”

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