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Côte d’IvoireFellow

Featured Fellow Mickey Goggin Lived and Taught with Curiosity and Compassion in Côte d’Ivoire

…a fellowship can be many things, but what it will be starts with you and the attitude, perspective, and passion you bring to the experience.

As an English Language Fellow (2021-2022) in Côte d’Ivoire, Mickey Goggin taught EFL classes in academic writing, oral communication, and Introduction to Culture with the English Language Department at the Université Félix Houphouët-Boigny and facilitated English classes at the local American Space. In addition to his teaching assignments, Goggin focused on delivering teacher training around the country. 

Creating curriculum and teacher training was a large aspect of Goggin’s fellowship. In coordination with the Côte d’Ivoire Ministry of Education and UNICEF, Goggin helped to develop a K-12 life and work skills curriculum. He and Fulbright English Teaching Assistants co-delivered a five-week seminar course called Level UP 2022 Unleash your Potential. Local women attended the course and discussed how to improve the physical, mental, and financial aspects of everyday life. “The Level UP seminar courses provided Ivorian women with ideas, resources, and strategies to help them improve their lives and livelihoods” explained Goggin. 

For Goggin, the work that had the most significant impact was the teacher training he provided to K-12 teachers. Dedicated to improving the education and lives of Ivorian youth, the teachers “are truly invested in trying to identify ways to prepare their youth for challenges they will face in a globalized world” he says. Goggin was inspired by their optimism and interest in professional development despite the difficulties teachers face. Goggin provided practical resources on thumb drives, modeled activities, and often offered a space for teachers to discuss their questions and concerns in the classroom. 

Relationships & Jazz

One of Goggin’s most memorable experiences was collaborating with a local teacher at the university. This collaboration allowed Goggin to observe and learn about teacher-student relationships and how to approach teaching a class of over 150 students. This relationship was foundational to Goggin as he started his fellowship. 

Later in his fellowship, Goggin collaborated with many local Ivorian teachers and fellow Fellows to participate in the Jazz Slam & Jazz Event for UNESCO’s International Jazz day. Attendees led and participated in a day of live music, jazz poetry, and dialogue about all things jazz.

Cooking, Curiosity, & Compassion

Having previously worked as a chef, Goggin has always been drawn to food. Since cooking dinner was one of his favorite daily tasks, Goggin enjoyed trying new dishes such as gambas tigres with pilaf or riz complet aux epinards. With curiosity and joy, Goggin engaged in conversation with local Ivorians he visited and met routinely. Goggin loved talking about food and learned about their cultures through it. Knowing that he represented the United States each day, Goggin said, “I tried to practice compassion, patience, and tolerance…trying to be mindful of respecting and appreciating the people I shared my day with.”

Professional Growth & Future Plans

Moments of problem-solving, being flexible, and taking initiative were always a juggling act,  filled with takeaways and growth. Goggin’s time as a Fellow will inform his future work and inspire him to serve others. Upon returning to his home in Iowa, he will work with refugee resettlement education programming. Reflecting on his fellowship, Goggin said, “a fellowship can be many things, but what it will be starts with you and the attitude, perspective, and passion you bring to the experience.”

Goggin on the COP

Goggin has many Highlights from his time as Fellow. Check-out Goggin’s Highlights on the COP here.

Mickey Goggin has over 25 years of experience working in English language education programs. In the U.S., he has taught EFL as an adjunct at community colleges, taught and coordinated intensive English programs for international students at two universities in the University of Wisconsin system, and delivered community-based ESL instruction and cultural training to newly resettled refugees in Des Moines, IA, USA. Goggin’s work abroad began in Ethiopia working three years with the U.S. Peace Corps as an EFL Peace Corps Volunteer and as a Peace Corps Volunteer Leader. He has also worked extensively in education programs and project management with marginalized communities on the Thailand–Myanmar border. He taught at the English Immersion Program in Umpiem Mai Refugee Camp and taught and co-managed the Wide Horizons Program in Mae Sot, Thailand. Goggin also served for two years as Director of the CBO Youth Connect Foundation, where he managed and coordinated the delivery of their life skills and language training, apprenticeships, and social enterprise programs alongside community stakeholders, donors, government agencies, other CBOs, NGOs, and iNGOs in an effort to improve the livelihoods of migrant youth living on the Thailand-Myanmar border. Goggin was an English Language Fellow in Turkey (2019-2020) and Côte d’Ivoire (2021-2022).

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