My experience as a scholarship winner

“On behalf of the scholarship committee, I am delighted to let you know that you are a scholarship winner”. That message was exactly the email I had dreamt about receiving two months earlier, when I submitted my application for the 2024 TEASIG scholarship. Reading that email last August filled me with immense gratitude and pride. I recalled seeing the picture of the scholarship winners of 2023 in the conference program and thinking: “I’d love to be in this picture one day!” At the time, I could not have imagined that I would be here today, sharing my experience as a scholarship winner.

Attending the Harrogate conference in 2023 opened my mind about what it means to connect with people who share similar interests. After spending two years mostly at home, this was precisely what I needed. I could meet incredible professionals, learn with the talks and workshops and get inspired. I also felt a sense of belonging which reassured me of the support available for my professional growth as a teacher. When I came back home after Harrogate, I had already made up my mind about applying for the scholarship.

The process of application was so important because it made me reflect on my own teaching practice and what I would like to tell the world about it. For the TEASIG scholarship I had to write an essay and submit a speaker proposal, which was something entirely new for me. The IATEFL YouTube channel’s webinar a few weeks before the deadline, along with discussions with friends made in Harrogate, were incredibly helpful. I worked hard on making my proposal the most objective and accurate possible. Although I knew I had only a few chances of winning, I felt proud of myself for trying something new and learning through the process.

When I received the confirmation that I was the scholarship winner, I was ecstatic! After spreading the word about my achievement and taking some time to celebrate with my friends and family, I began preparing for my presentation.

April 2024 came and from the moment I arrived in Brighton I knew that this conference would be a completely different experience from the previous one because now my picture was on the program! This time I was an attendee, a scholarship winner and a speaker, which was truly spectacular. I was eager to reconnect with the friends I made the previous year and to meet the other scholarship winners. The TEASIG PCE event was practical and helped me to get in contact with professionals from diverse backgrounds in language testing and assessment.

The first day was the most memorable for me because that was when we, as scholarship winners, were given reserved seats in the first row of the auditorium and introduced by the committee amidst applause from the audience. I felt really important! My talk was scheduled for the same day in the afternoon. I experienced a mix of nervousness and excitement about it. To my relief, everything went well, and I felt accomplished because the audience asked great questions and seemed genuinely interested in the topic, which was computer-adaptive testing. To end the day on a high note, in the evening we had the scholarship winners’ gathering, where all winners, sponsors, committee members, and head office staff came together to celebrate with us. After that, I just enjoyed the other four days of the conference and came back home re-energized, ready to put into practice what I learned.

My conclusion is that attending IATEFL is always an opportunity to grow. We can stay updated on the latest trends in ELT, make new friends, expand our network, meet in person the authors of the books we use in class, and most importantly, get inspired. One of the talks that inspired me the most was the plenary on the first day by Vicky Saumell on Artificial Intelligence. It was enlightening not only because it made me reflect on aspects of AI that I had not considered before, but also because Vicky herself was a previous scholarship winner and has shared a testimonial on the IATEFL website on how her professional life changed afterward. It’s a great reminder of how far we can go!

So, I definitely recommend applying for the scholarship. Check the requirements of each scholarship and select the ones that suit you the most. It’s an opportunity to reflect on your teaching practice and challenge yourself to try something new. Who knows? Next time, it might be you receiving the email and seeing your picture in the program!


Author bio:

Myleni Ishida is a life-long learner, born in Brazil, currently based in France. She has been teaching English for over 10 years, both as a freelancer and at language schools. She is a CELTA holder and her main interest lies in exam preparation lessons. She has experience helping students see life beyond the tests by enjoying the process of learning and she hopes to continue doing that in the future.

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