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A closeup of a students art work.

Charlie Harned '16

English Teaching Assistantship in Madrid, Spain.

Major in political science

Teaching abroad as a Fulbright fellow has furthered Charlie’s passion for education policy.

Charlie Harned '16 visiting Cadiz, Spain, during his teaching assistantship

Charlie Harned ‘16 received a Fulbright fellowship for international study in 2016 and has spent the 2016-17 school year teaching English in Madrid, Spain. During his time at Knox, Harned served as president of the Knox College Student Senate and captain of the Prairie Fire men's soccer team, was selected as a Newman Civic Fellow, founded the Anything Is Possible Foundation, and interned at the White House. 

Talk about your experience in Madrid and what you enjoy about it.

I have had the time of my life here in Madrid. I'm teaching at a secondary school about an hour outside the city of Madrid. My primary responsibility is to lead the Global Classrooms Project. Global Classrooms is an international Model United Nations competition and I was working with some amazing 14 and 15 year-olds. This year my students learned about and debated the socio-economic conditions that lead to youth violence ... and they did all of that in their second language!

I've also had an amazing time living in the city of Madrid. I live in Malasaña, which is a young and vibrant area of the city. I've been able to visit some of the most famous art museums in the world and see the beautiful parks that Madrid has to offer.

How has the Fulbright award helped you?

I'm really passionate about education policy and this is my first time having full-time experience in the classroom. I think it's important for policy-makers to understand the people and the systems that their policies will affect. Also, just the fact that I'm living in an entirely new culture is an amazing experience. I've improved my Spanish a ton and have really broadened my understanding of different cultures.

Are there any specific parts of your Knox experience that helped prepare you for this position?

The men's soccer team is incredibly diverse—during my four years playing soccer I've become friends with people from more countries than you can count on your fingers. I received a Richter Grant my junior year to teach English in rural China and that month-long experience pushed me to apply for the Fulbright grant to continue educating abroad. Overall, Knox really allowed me to interact with people from all over the world and I'm forever thankful for that. I'm also immensely thankful to the entire Spanish department at Knox, especially to Fernando Gomez and to Robin Ragan. I took a class with Fernando on Spanish history and culture and have used what I learned in that classroom almost every day here in Spain.

What are your plans for the future?

Next year I believe I will be attending Harvard Law School. I'm looking at opportunities to stay in Madrid and teach for another year, but attending law school has always been a dream of mine and I'm really looking forward to it.

The Fulbright program was developed by the U.S. Department of State to strengthen international understanding between people from the United States and other parts of the world-on a face-to-face experiential basis.

Knox College has a long history with the Fulbright program. Since 2006, 16 Knox students have been selected for Fulbright awards. Overall, dozens of Knox students, faculty members, and alumni have received Fulbright fellowships and scholarships.

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Printed on Monday, May 20, 2024