Fourth-year Hannah Scholl will spend the next academic year teaching English in an Austrian secondary school with a USTA (U.S. Teaching Assistantships at Austrian Secondary Schools) Fellowship.
For decades, Fulbright Austria has worked with the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science, and Research to bring qualified, motivated university graduates from the United States to teach English in Austria in secondary schools all across the country.
As a teaching assistant, Scholl will help Austrian students develop the linguistic skills needed to be fluent in English, while serving as an informal ambassador and promoting cross-cultural dialogue between the United States and the Republic of Austria.
A native of Wellesley, Massachusetts, Scholl has already been placed in Villach, which she describes as an “idyllic alpine town right on the borders of Italy and Slovenia.” She will be teaching at the Bundesgymnasium und Bundesrealgymnasium in Villach. A Gymnasium, she explains, has a more academic and higher education focus versus a vocational school.
A German and politics major, Scholl’s love for the German language began in the seventh grade, when she chose to learn German over French to set herself apart from her friends. After winning a German National Honors Society study away scholarship and then having to leave her study away program in Munich after fewer than two weeks there, Scholl was eager to find a way to return to a German-speaking country, which motivated her to apply for both the Fulbright Germany English Teaching Assistantship and the USTA Austria fellowship.
“It was definitely quite bittersweet to have to decide between the Fulbright ETA in Germany and the USTA program. While I know that both programs are amazing, I chose the USTA program partly because I really liked my placement in Villach. I also liked that this program provides the potential opportunity of renewing my teaching contract for a second year. I am committed to returning to Germany at some point, and I figure it would be valuable to broaden my international perspective and learn more about Austrian culture, which I am not as familiar with,” Scholl says.
With Austria being new territory for Scholl, she is excited to learn more about the education system and the local sustainability practices. She also expects to hone her language skills, develop a more international perspective, and be a cultural ambassador from the U.S. during a time of recent political turmoil.
At Oberlin, Scholl has been a resident of German House for three years and a frequent German table participant; she has also gained teaching experience by working as an America Reads tutor at the Boys and Girls Club in Oberlin and as a German tutor. Her past visits abroad as a student include the Oberlin in Italy summer opera program in Arezzo, and representing Oberlin at the Athens Democracy Forum, in association with the New York Times.
On campus, Scholl works as a senior admissions fellow and is chair of the Green EDGE Fund.
She has also taken secondary voice lessons in the Conservatory of Music and has been a member of the Oberlin College Choir and Musical Union. “I am excited about the prospect of being in a country containing some of the world’s most historic centers of classical music and opera, and I hope to join a local choir in Villach,” she says.
Upon return from her fellowship, Scholl plans to pursue a master’s of public policy program.
“Challenging international experiences have helped me in the past, and I know that working as a teaching assistant in Austria will help me to develop skills essential to my pursuit of an international career related to public policy and public service,” Scholl says. “The program also will provide me with specific experience to apply to education policy making endeavors. Working as a teaching assistant and student ambassador will allow me to further advance my organization, empathy, creativity, communications, and even conflict resolution skills—all of which will be relevant in my field of interest.”
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