Jaala Thibault (right) with an Afghan guard.
Jaala Thibault (MATESOL ’07) and Tara Bates (MATESOL ’07) are getting settled in Kabul, Afghanistan this week, where they will serve as the only two U.S. State Department English Language Fellows in the country this year. “Being selected as an English Language Fellow for the State Department is one of the most prestigious positions a recent MA graduate in TESOL or TFL can achieve,” says TESOL Professor Kathleen Bailey.
The two women will be sharing a Kabul apartment under the supervision of the Asia Foundation, a Central Asian nonprofit organization that has been working in Afghanistan since 1954. Jaala met her students at Kabul Education University for the first time on September 22 and says “The students are really eager to get their classes with me underway, and the faculty is excited to use me for a million projects.” She jokingly adds that she must have some Afghan blood in her background because everyone she meets addresses her in Dari, and some people even refuse to believe her when she says she is American. “From a security standpoint all of my Afghan friends say I am lucky to look like an Afghan!”
Jaala has started blogging about her experience in Afghanistan at www.jaalachronicles.blogspot.com