Q&A with Fulbright Scholar Anitha Quintin

Anitha Quintin sits overlooking sweeping mountain views
Anitha Quintin, Fulbright Scholar, pictured at Mudeungsan National Park in Korea.

Anitha Quintin ’21, international studies, political science, and mathematics, has had an incredible journey as a student, a scholar, and a teacher. From her time as a student at UW–Madison to her role as an English language instructor in Korea, Quintin has continued to cultivate a global perspective, while seizing on unique opportunities. Since January 2022, Quintin has worked in Korea as a Fulbright Scholar in the Fulbright ETA program. She recently connected with the International Division (ID) to share her experiences as a UW student, a Fulbright Scholar, and her plans for the future.

 ID: Are you a Wisconsinite? What town do you call home?

AQ: I have been a cheese head since moving to Madison, WI in middle school!

ID: Why did you choose to enroll at UW-Madison?

AQ: The reality of the matter is that, as a die-hard Badgers fan, I couldn’t see myself cheering for any other university team. But from a more practical perspective, UW–Madison has a uniquely hard-working environment and offers incredible opportunities as an R1 institution.

Quintin makes kimchi
Quintin participate in the making and sharing of kimchi.

ID: You have an interesting mix of majors—mathematics, political science, and international studies, as well as certificates—what drew you to these fields and how did they support your future goals?

AQ: I started off as a physics major, but always had an interest in international relations. After speaking with Dr. Pevehouse in political science about pursuing a certificate, I realized that a major would better help me achieve my goals. Political science and international studies fed directly into my interests in foreign policy and international law, and my math major helped me develop strong quantitative and logic skills.

ID: Many of your majors and certificates seem to suggest interest in a career on the international stage. Were there other activities and programs you took part in at UW to build a global dimension into your education?

AQ: UW offers many great opportunities. I studied abroad at Sciences Po Paris for a semester, participated in the Korean Language Flagship program, and competed with Wisconsin Speech and Debate at various international policy competitions.

ID: Please talk about your language learning efforts, particularly with Korean. What interested you about the language, and how did you grow these skills both during your time at UW and after?

AQ: I wanted to learn Korean after making friends from South Korea in high school. UW–Madison has a great Korean language program which helped me develop the necessary foundation to live in Korea. One of the most helpful things for me was conversation practice with language partners I met through GUTS—I still keep in touch with them! Of course, nothing beats living in Korea when it comes to language acquisition, and my Korean has improved greatly during my time here.

ID: What caused you to apply for the Fulbright ETA program?

AQ: During COVID, I realized that I wanted to broaden my horizons. I applied to many international programs, but the prestige of the Fulbright program and the ability to choose my placement country appealed to me the most.

Quintin poses with fellow teachers
Through Fulbright, Anitha Quintin serves as a teacher in Korea.

ID: Please talk about your work with Fulbright Korea. Describe your roles as a participant and what the experience has been like.

AQ: I am a high school English teacher at a school in Hwasun, Jeollanam-do. My responsibilities include teaching 18 student classes, 1 teacher class, and 1 club class a week. I also host weekly conversation practice for students and present at monthly English curriculum development meetings for English teachers in Jeollanam-do.

ID: During your time as a Fulbright Scholar, how have your experiences at UW been influential or helpful? Were there faculty or staff who were particularly influential?

AQ: UW–Madison has an incredible, long-standing connection with Korea. As COVID eases up, I’ve been able to meet many fellow badgers through alumni network events—and there are badgers at all levels of industry and government in Korea! Two professors have been particularly helpful to me while in Korea. Dr. David Fields, who reviewed my Fulbright application and taught one of my undergraduate courses, was instrumental in helping me find my research position in Gwangju and in connecting me to the badger network in Korea. Dr. John Ohnesorge, whom I met through an alumni event, has also provided me with a lot of advice on law school and pursuing an Asia-focused legal career.

ID: I understand you are also a volunteer research assistant for the May 18 Memorial Foundation. Please describe the foundation and your work as a research assistant. What drew you to help further the work of this organization?

AQ: What many people may not know is that Korean democracy as we now know it is less than 40 years old. The Korean people have had to fight for pro-democracy reforms through decades of dictator and military regimes, and the city of Gwangju found itself the center of one particularly significant protest movement. The May 18 Memorial Foundation serves to protect the legacy of the victims of the Gwangju Massacre, which saw pro-democracy protestors slaughtered by military paratroopers.

Living in a suburb of Gwangju, I wanted to learn more about this history and use my experience researching protest movements to contribute to the foundation’s work.

ID: What are your future goals upon concluding your time with Fulbright?

AQ: I will be pursuing legal studies at the Georgetown University Law Center beginning in fall 2024, after which I hope to pursue a career in transnational arbitration.

ID: Can you offer any advice to current students who may want to follow a similar path?

AQ: UW–Madison offers great resources to support students who want to apply to similar programs. Make appointments with major advisors, the writing center, and the UW–Madison Fulbright coordinator… Also, apply broadly, even to opportunities which may not seem to fit your goals perfectly. You will be surprised how much you can learn!


Editor’s note: UW–Madison students and alumni interested in learning more about opportunities available through Fulbright can visit the UW-Madison’s Fulbright website. There are Fulbright opportunities available for all Badgers, at all points in their academic and professional careers, and the UW–Madison Fulbright coordinator supports students, faculty, staff, and alumni throughout the exploration and application process for all programs.