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Reid Gaede–Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship (Germany)

Name: Reid Gaede

Class Year: 2019

Hometown: Cincinnati, Ohio

Major(s): European History

Minors or Concentrations: German Language and Culture

Opportunity and Year: Fulbright Program for U.S. Students, 2019-20

Project Summary: As a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA), I will teach German students about life and culture in the United States while helping them to develop their English skills inside and outside of the classroom.

How did W&L prepare you for this opportunity? Rigorous, rewarding, and undeniably stimulating coursework with Professors Prager, Crockett, and Youngman throughout my time at W&L molded me into a competitive candidate for the Fulbright Program who could properly interact with Germans on a regular basis in their native tongue. Additionally, I worked with Languages for Rockbridge as a volunteer teacher and took EDUC-365: Methods for World Language with Professor Kuettner in order to gain classroom experience and a fundamental understanding of current foreign language pedagogies. I actively participated in extracurriculars such as the Connolly Entrepreneurship Society, the General Development Initiative, the University Library Committee, and Greek life which were vital in further developing my leadership skills and fortifying my desire to be dynamically and consistently involved in my community. As far as applying for the Fulbright Program itself is concerned, I hands-down would not have received this opportunity without the constant support of Professors Prager, Crockett, and Youngman in the German and Arabic Department, as well as the support of Professor Eastwood in the Sociology and Anthropology Department (among many others!). They were crucial in proofreading my application statements, giving timely and useful advice on navigating the application process, and overall were invaluable confidantes whom I felt truly had my back from start to finish. There is no doubt in my mind that there will be a learning curve as I adapt to Germany this coming fall, but I am well-convinced that the language and cultural education I have received at W&L, as well as the professional and personal enrichment opportunities I have taken part in, will be more than adequate to help me navigate all challenges that come my way.

Why did you apply for this opportunity? Strong relationships between the people of the United States and those of other countries around the world are the bedrock of a strong international community based on a mutual desire to connect and share time, talent, and experiences with others. As a Fulbright ETA, I not only have the opportunity to further develop my German capabilities while honing my teaching skills in a completely new environment, but I get to do so while serving as a cultural ambassador for the United States. While this is a great responsibility, it is also a tremendous honor. It will be my duty for the entirety of my time in Germany to demonstrate that the American-German connection is not only strong, but also indisputably worth maintaining and growing for generations to come. Professor Prager in the German and Arabic Department first introduced me to the Fulbright Program when I declared my German minor at the end of my sophomore year, and simply put, the opportunity to represent my country on a personal level to one of our strongest allies never left my mind since that day.

Post-graduation Plans: This is definitely something that I am still trying to figure out! Teach for America is one route that I am considering post-Fulbright, but I am also in the very, very early stages of considering joining the military through Officer Candidate School (OCS). Sometime further down the line, I see myself going to law school and earning my JD – perhaps a JD/MBA depending on the circumstances. Over the long-term, I am attracted to the prospect of working in the federal judiciary as a judge or an attorney, or as a business consultant in some capacity. Serving as a U.S. diplomat is an exciting possibility that I have only recently started to consider, but I have much to learn before any of these realities would materialize.

How will this opportunity help you achieve your goals? Working as a Fulbright ETA in Germany will help me to fortify my classroom teaching skills while providing precious international perspectives that will be transferable to a variety of fields and professions. Perhaps most obviously, serving as an ETA will be fantastic preparation for Teach for America should I pursue that path upon returning stateside. Furthermore, as someone interested in diplomacy, international law, and the military, the international outlook and experiences I will be afforded by serving as a Fulbright ETA are second-to-none, and will undoubtedly and invaluably color my understanding of the American-German relationship and the international community more broadly.

Extracurricular Involvement:

Connolly Entrepreneurship Society (formerly W&L Venture Club)
Delta Kappa Epsilon International Fraternity
Languages for Rockbridge
University Library Committee
General Development Initiative (GenDev)
5 WLUR

Off-campus Experience:

Spring Term Abroad in Berlin – Spring 2017
Greek Summer Program (Thessaloniki, Greece) – Summer 2013

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