Milena Kagel ’20 Receives USTA in Austria

June 11, 2020

Hillary Hempstead

Headshot of Milena Kagel wearing yellow shirt and smiling in the sunlight.
History and German studies double major Milena Kagel ’20.
Photo credit: Courtesy of Milena Kagel

Milena Kagel ’20, a history and German studies double major, has received a U.S. Teaching Assistantship (USTA) in Austria. 

The USTA award provides recent graduates with the opportunity to teach English in secondary schools around Austria. Kagel will spend nine months working as an English teaching assistant at two secondary schools in Völkermarkt, Austria. “I hope to be able to pass on my enthusiasm for language learning and create some curiosity about cultural exchange,” she says. 

Kagel applied for the USTA because of her interest in both foreign languages and education. “I love learning languages,” she says. “I studied French in high school and participated in a year-long exchange to Germany in eleventh grade. At Oberlin, I continued studying German and also began learning Russian. The summer after my freshman year, I worked as a teaching assistant at an elementary school in Iceland. I have also volunteered with a non-profit in Munich serving as a German instructor for refugees.”

She also credits her involvement with Oberlin’s Department of German Studies, which granted her the German University Exchange Scholarship in 2018, for her interest in the USTA opportunity. During Kagel’s junior year, she studied at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich, which helped her to advance her German language skills. “I have been eager to return to Europe ever since,” she says.

Kagel says she’s most looking forward to learning about the Austrian education system, the country’s culture, and European approaches to foreign language instruction. “I have spent a lot of time in Germany, and I'm interested to see how the two countries compare,” she says.

At Oberlin, the Athens, Georgia, native worked as a tutor for Student Academic Success Programs, served as head cook for a co-op, and took secondary piano lessons in Oberlin Conservatory.

After her teaching assistantship concludes, Kagel is considering attending graduate school or exploring a career in international education.

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