Award-Winning Italian Major to Teach English in Austria
Lena Schroeder, ’18, will graduate with a BA in Italian studies and mathematics and a minor in German. She was recently offered a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant award to supplement English language instruction abroad in 2018-2019. We asked Lena about her award, her studies, and her plans for the next year.
What will you be doing with your Fulbright award?
I received a Fulbright ETA award to teach in Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany. While I was very honored to be awarded this distinction, I actually declined it to participate in another very similar program in Austria, the USTA-Austria (US Teaching Assistantships in Austrian Secondary Schools). I spent some of my childhood in Salzburg, Austria, and it was very important to me to go back for a long period of time as an adult before living in Germany for a year. So that being said, I will be teaching at two secondary schools in Landeck, Tirol, which is just north of the border with Alto Adige in Italy.
How did you decide to apply to teach abroad?
I decided to apply for these two programs after having spent a year abroad in Bologna, Italy, in the Bologna Consortial Studies Program. This experience and that of my time in Salzburg made me want to return as soon as possible. I want to be a teacher, so an ETA program was the obvious choice.
How did your studies as an Italian major influence your decision to apply to teach abroad?
My studies as an Italian major gave me some of my best experience in teaching environments that really convinced me that that was the path I want to take. I'm returning to Lago del Bosco (Concordia Language Villages) for my third summer, I've taught as a substitute at the Youth Language School at the Italian Cultural Center, and I was a tutor this year for the FRIT department. Although I probably would have applied for a Fulbright had I not studied Italian, I would not have been as good of a candidate without these opportunities and preparation. Italy's proximity was also a factor in my decision to choose Austria over Germany.
Anything else you’d like us to know about your studies, your Fulbright, or you?
Later, I hope to teach at an immersion school, either in the US or abroad. And I'm always thinking about spaghetti alla carbonara :)