The November 2016 Newsletter features the post YTI experiences over several alums.
What is your name and when were you at YTI?
Bryan Cronan 2009
Can you briefly describe your work?
In 2015, I lived in Malaysia on a Fulbright Scholarship. I taught English at a secondary school in a small town in the northern part of the country. One of my major projects was to help a group of students find a voice to empower themselves. When I first arrived at the school, I observed ethnic tensions play out between Malay and indigenous Orang Asli students. They were almost completely segregated from each other, taking separate classes, living in separate dorms, and eating in separate cafeterias.
When I was first introduced to the Orang Asli students, a teacher told me not to worry about them because they are "not very intelligent" and could barely speak Malay or English. I wanted to spend my year working to counter this trend. So I worked with school officials and district officers, who were apprehensive at first, to create spaces and activities where the two ethnic groups had to interact. I spent extra time with the students after school getting to know the students and working on their English.