Fulbright Award to Send LVC Senior to South Korea
Lebanon Valley College senior Kristy Sonberg ’18 is from a small town in Maryland and thought she would have to wait a few more years to finally travel abroad. Last week, she learned that she’ll be spending 13 months in South Korea as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant, starting this summer. The early childhood and special education double major is the College’s fourth student Fulbright awardee in the past three years.
“This will be an exciting change and challenge for me. South Korea is so different from where I grew up,” said Sonberg. “When I started learning about Eastern Asian culture and history, I fell in love.”
In addition to serving as a teaching assistant, Sonberg plans to pursue her personal interests, including theater and martial arts. She is the lighting designer for Lebanon Valley College’s student-run Wig and Buckle Theater Company and has been involved with shows since her freshman year. She designed the lighting for the company’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 2017.
“I am interested in learning more about South Korean traditional and modern theatres,” she said. “I really want to learn more about how it is compares to here.”
Sonberg is also an officer in the College’s Martial Arts Club and has taken karate since she was 12. In Korea, she hopes to join a dojo to expand her skills.
Sonberg said she learned about the Fulbright Program the spring of her junior year. She worked with Dr. Philip Benesch, associate professor of politics and faculty director of external scholarships and fellowships, to complete the application process.
“The difficult part was the two one-page essays that I had to write. The Statement of Grant Purpose and the Personal Statement took me several weeks and drafts to get it ready to submit with my application in early October. What helped me the most during the process is researching the country. After I submitted my application, it was just a lot of anxiety from there. The waiting was very difficult, but well worth it in the end,” she said.
After completing the Fulbright teaching assistantship, Sonberg plans to teach special education in Maryland and bring her new skills and perspectives back to her community.
Editor’s Note: Kristy Sonberg is one of three LVC Class of 2018 graduates to be named Fulbright Finalists and is the sixth LVC student in the past three years to earn this prestigious award. She joins Audrey Reiley '18, Katie Hockenbury '18, Megan Lough ’17, Jasmine Olvany ’17, and Hannah Pell ’16.