HANNIBAL – With a hunger for education and cultural immersion, Hannibal High School Spanish teacher Kristina Licatese-Linn is ready to take that passion across the globe this summer as a Fulbright scholar.
The six-week program provides 15 language teachers nationwide with an opportunity to fully immerse themselves in Peruvian culture.
They will explore everything from history to literature to the arts.
“We’ll be completely engulfed in all of that culture with the purpose of creating a curriculum to disseminate among our own classrooms,” Licatese-Linn said. “The goal is to learn from this experience and develop a curriculum with the hope of being interdisciplinary and intergrade-level.”
Licatese-Linn, who teaches Spanish to Hannibal students in ninth through 12 grades, said she would like to bring that “authentic” learning experience to share with her pupils.
The program will incorporate that authenticity, as she will stay with a host family and participate in a wide range of cultural activities.
“If you don’t have that passion and excitement from actually experiencing the culture, students can see right through that,” she said. “The authenticity and the passion that I bring into the classroom can be infectious and can spark interest. That’s the main thing that I hope to gain from the program.”
As part of the Fulbright scholarship, Licatese-Linn will receive full paid tuition, access to museums and cultural exhibits, and lodging.
She noted that she never realistically considered the possibility of being a Fulbright scholar, but was thrilled that Hannibal Central School District Superintendent Christopher Staats encouraged her to apply.
“He let me know it was a possibility and was kind enough to write me a letter of recommendation,” Licatese-Linn said. “Being a Fulbright recipient has been a dream of mine for years, but I never thought I would ever have an opportunity or that it would fall into my path of work. I’m so thankful Mr. Staats brought this opportunity to my attention.”
With the opportunity at hand, Licatese-Linn said she is going to embrace it to the fullest – for herself and her students.
“My hope is that this program will allow me to better connect my students with a more global community,” she said. “This will, hopefully, open a door for them that might have otherwise been sealed shut. I’m really looking forward to it.”