First Fulbright Scholar comes to university

Megan Thorne

Machoniesse Photography by Bobby Shipman
Machoniesse Photography by Bobby Shipman

Tania Machonisse is on the path to fulfilling her dream of bringing knowledge back to her home country.

Machonisse, who is studying communication, is the first Fulbright Scholar the university has ever had. The program allows students to access research, study and teaching opportunities in over 140 countries to recent graduates and graduate students.

Machonisse is a junior teacher at Eduardo Mondlane University in Mozambique. In order for her to become a senior, she is required to study more. Her goal is to bring all of her knowledge back to her country.

“We don’t have many teachers with a Ph.D. or master’s (in Mozambique). The university (tries to) hire people with a (master’s or Ph.D.) expecting them to fulfill all the requirements. That’s why I had to look for scholarships to study and I always wanted to study abroad,” Machonisse said.

Machonisse said she could study in her country, but she believes studying abroad allows her to meet new people and learn about their culture.

She also said she hopes to improve her English.

“It’s not only related with learning new academic things but what you can experience in this enormous world,” Machonisse said. “The world is so big, we have to explore and it’s good to have these exchange programs or scholarships to study (in) different parts of the world.”

Fulbright was the first scholarship that she came across that had her major.

“I was chosen and had to take some English classes that were very challenging, I am proud and happy to be here,” Machonisse said.

Originally, Machonisse said she didn’t achieve the score required for the Fulbright scholarship. She had to attend an intensive English course and redo her exam.

“I came first to California State University to attend the intensive English program there, (for) four months. Then I redid the exam and I had achieved the score,” Machonisse said.

Being here has been an amazing experience,  Machonisse said. It’s a new university and there are fewer students here than in California. I also like it here because we have a personal connection with professors. It’s nice to have the staff care about you.

“The environment makes you feel like you’re a part of a family, which is one of the advantages of having (fewer) students. Even the city of Evansville is quiet and safe,” Machonisse said.

Shadrach Mensah, a public administration major, is a student that Machonisse met at the university along with other international students. Since then they have been sharing interesting conversations about both of their countries in Africa.

Mensah is a Global Ambassador Scholarship student who is a part of a program similar to Machonisse. The program allows nations to express its people, its cultures, attributes and opportunities.

Mensah said the university was quite a difference compared to his hometown in Ghana, Africa.  This is mainly because of the ample resources that the university offers.

“The resources in terms of study materials and obviously technology are more advanced, (as are) the teaching and study skills,” Mensah said.

At the University of Ghana, Mensah said class sizes are huge with about 400-600 students in every class. Because the university’s classes are fairly small, you get the opportunity to interact with your professors.

“So far it has been good, I just had my orientation on Saturday and I’ll be having my first class this evening. I am expecting a lot,” Mensah said.

Mensah said that The Global Ambassador Scholarship is actually what got him in touch with the university, where there are currently two people in the master’s program.

“Nothing comes easy that’s what i’ll say, you need to (prove yourself). Obviously, there is a lot that is involved,”  Mensah said.