By Jan Worth-Nelson
Andrew Custer, 27, a Michigan State University graduate from Flint, has received a Fulbright U.S. Student Program award to Colombia from the U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.
Custer, an alumnus of The Valley School, is the son of Casey and Edwin Custer, EVM’s longtime photographer and distribution director and is the nephew of East Village Magazine’s late founder and publisher Gary Custer.
He will be in Colombia from July, 2017 to May, 2018 as part of a program to support the teaching of English as a lecturer at La Universidad Escuela de Aministraticion de Negocios – a school of business administration — according to the official announcement from the Fulbright program.
In addition, Custer, who has been teaching secondary ESL in Houston for the past two years and speaks fluent Spanish, said he expects to be engaged in the community and to bring “mutual understanding between our cultures.”
He said his decision to apply to Colombia specifically had something to do with being from Flint.
“I chose Colombia for work in the first place because the majority of what is known of the country by foreigners is negative stereotypes. Flint often gets painted a certain way as well. I want to learn about the place to get a more accurate picture,” he said.
“It’s an honor,” to be selected as a Fulbright Fellow, Custer said. “I am told it is a life-altering experience.”
Custer studied Spanish at Michigan State, taught English to international students, and has traveled to Peru, where he also taught English. He says learning a second language has had numerous benefits, professionally and personally.
“Spanish allows me to see or explain the world in a different way,” he said. “Language shapes the way I think, and having this second language takes away some limits. It allows me to be more creative. And it sounds cool.”
Custer is one of more than 1,900 U.S. citizens who will conduct research, teach English and provide expertise abroad in the 2017-2018 year through the Fulbright program, according to a Fulbright press release.
EVM Editor Jan Worth-Nelson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.