Welcome to my new blog! I'm excited to bring you along on this journey. It seems somewhat premature to begin blogging when my departure date is still more than two months away, but things are slowly coming together, and I'd like to intermittently document the pre-departure process as things crop up.
To bring everyone up to speed on why I'm doing this blog, in August I will be heading back to Germany to spend 10 months working as an English teaching assistant in a high school. I was given this opportunity through the Fulbright Program, which is a U.S. government-funded program that sends American students, professors and professionals abroad to teach, conduct research and study. There is also a reciprocal arrangement through which other countries send their scholars to the U.S. to do the same. It's a competitive program with a fairly rigorous application application process, so I am extremely grateful and excited to have this chance. I'll talk more about my experience applying for a Fulbright in a later post.
I'll be spending most of my time in my placement city, Fulda, which is in the state of Hessen about an hour to the northeast of Frankfurt. I previously spent five months studying in Marburg, which is a little over an hour's drive from Fulda. So, though I have never been to Fulda, all in all it's not totally unknown territory.
But while the area may not be unfamiliar to me, other aspects of the experience certainly will be. The biggest challenge I'm facing right now is finding housing. This isn't something Fulbright arranges, although I am sure I could ask my school for help if I end up struggling to find something. I have started to look and have sent out some inquiries, but I have not gotten a ton of responses thus far. I'm hoping to find a place with roommates, both so the rent is a little cheaper and so it's easier to meet people. But, I'm worried people will be reluctant to take me since they won't actually be able to meet me for a few months. We shall see.
And, of course, there will be the challenge of teaching itself. Beyond a brief stint working in an ESL classroom in high school, I've never done any sort of teaching or tutoring in a structured environment. Sure, I've helped people with assignments and presentations, and I definitely have experience working with people from other countries, but I've never been thrown in front a bunch of students and told to teach. Granted, I'll be receiving help from Fulbright and my mentor at the school (and I know they won't throw my in there blind), but, still, it's a sharp change from what I've known, and I do think it will be very challenging at times.
Thank you for visiting and reading. I probably won't be posting terribly often the next couple months, but I wanted to have this space available for when the mood strikes.
Until next time!