As a Fulbright scholar, I worked as an English Teaching Assistant at a Gymnasium in Koblenz, Germany. The English department consisted of seven teachers who taught grades 5-13, with the 11th-13th graders having the option to take advanced English. For the younger classes, I helped them with their grammar and pronunciation, as well as the difference between British and American English. For the older classes, I had the opportunity to teach lessons about current events in the US, customs and traditions, and interesting colloquialisms. I learned just as much from my students, teachers, and German friends as they learned from me!
At orientation we had the chance to meet the other ETA’s from the US, which totaled about 140 of us. Since our teaching assignments were spread throughout Germany, I was able to visit my new friends in their cities, towns, and even villages that I otherwise never would have experienced. Living and working in Germany gave me the chance to observe firsthand the similarities and differences between the US and Germany regarding their school system, common stereotypes, and most importantly the Germans’ way of life.
The Fulbright program was suggested to me by my philosophy professor as a way to spend more time in Germany and submerge myself in the German culture. I lived with two German graduate students, and I tried to speak as much German as I could with the other teachers and my German friends. I am still very close with my American friends that I met at orientation, and I am still in touch with a few of my teachers and friends from Koblenz. It was one of the best years of my life, and I am forever grateful for the experiences that the Fulbright allowed me to have.