Elaine Townsend: Rockstar ETA

July 8th, 2015


Elaine Townsend, a proud UNC alumna with a degree in Middle Grades Education, recently finished two years as a Fulbright Korea ETA (’12-14).

A self-described shameless selfie expert, Townsend attributes her growth both professionally and personally to her Fulbright experience, which she says has opened new doors to the meaning of community, family, and culture.

My grant years were a wonderful whirlwind of experiences as I learned so much about myself, others, and my surrounding world. I also learned how to take shameless selfies, surf-balance on turbulent buses, and grub on makchang (막창) like it’s no one’s business.

Elaine spent her time as an ETA at the Attached Elementary School of Kyungpook National University in Daegu. Passionate about education and naturally good with kids, Elaine soon became a rockstar teacher with an equally impressive student entourage.

My elementary students were born superstars, constantly rocking their powers of cuteness, enthusiasm, and creativity. They never ceased to fascinate and entertain me, while helping me become a better teacher.

One of the unique aspects of the ETA experience is the opportunity to live with a host family, and Elaine won the hearts of her family just as she did with her students. Despite language barriers and cultural challenges, Elaine claims to have learned the most from her host family, and says that, “Being a part of their family was an absolute honor and a relationship that will last a lifetime – especially as they are planning to be at my future wedding and the birth of my first born, all events yet to be set into motion.”

Now back in the U.S. and missing her community and family in Daegu, Elaine plans to continue her career in the field of education by pursuing a graduate degree. That being said, we look forward to seeing what you do next, Elaine! Keep up the great work and don’t stop “hair-flippin” your way through life.

Check out her rockstar students below.

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