Economics student wins Fulbright Scholarship to teach in China

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Alex Burch, a University of Tulsa senior economics major from Humble, Texas, has received a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantships for an exciting teaching program in Hong Kong.

The program, which begins this September, will immerse Burch in a 10-month cultural exchange where he will teach English language and culture while learning Mandarin in his spare time. He also has a unique plan for using his favorite pastime as a social icebreaker.

“I plan on starting or joining an Ultimate Frisbee team while in Hong Kong,” he said. “I believe Ultimate Frisbee is a good vehicle to break down barriers both between cultures and barriers of authority and lack of confidence within cultures.”

Burch’s interest in Chinese language and culture developed with TU study abroad programs that took him to China in 2007 and 2008. His adventures in the region included traveling to Thailand and Mongolia, and experiencing the devastating effects of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake.

Once he finishes his Fulbright teaching assistantship in Hong Kong, Burch plans to continue his language studies in China until he is fluent in Mandarin. He also wants to earn a master's degree in public policy and/or foreign affairs.

While at TU, Burch held leadership positions in the TU Student Association, the Judicial Council, Student Economics Association, Student Finance Association and the Center for Global Education. He was named the Outstanding Senior in Economics and is a member of Phi Eta Sigma, Phi Kappa Phi and Phi Beta Kappa honor societies.

The Fulbright grant will cover Burch’s roundtrip airfare, living expenses, medical insurance, language programs and other related costs.

Since 1995, TU students have received 44 Goldwater, 8 Truman, 4 Marshall, and 6 Udall scholarships; and 28 National Science Foundation, 7 Department of Defense, 7 Fulbright and 8 Phi Kappa Phi fellowships.

Amethyst Cavallaro