Erin Lutenski, '13
Minor(s): Applied Linguistics
Award: Fulbright ETA, Lohne, Lower Saxony, Germany, 2014-2015
- What prompted you to apply to the Fulbright program?
- I knew that I needed to spend more time in Germany to better my German language skills. I was also very curious as to whether teaching would be a good career choice for me.
- What aspects of your university experience (classes, internships,
leadership positions, service commitments) were most useful to you
as a Fulbrighter?
- My study abroad year in Munich was invaluable for my next experience in Germany, as it provided me with a good foundation in my German language skills. The Intercultural Experience certificate that I earned through a series of courses with Dr. McClinton was also really helpful when it came to understanding some of the differences in behavior between the students in my host country and myself.
- What was most unexpected or most challenging in your Fulbright
- Making connections and forming social relationships in a small town was quite challenging. However, this also meant that I had plenty of time to reflect on my experience as it was happening and carefully consider what I wanted to do after my Fulbright year came to an end.
- What was most rewarding?
- By far the most rewarding part of my experience was having my students tell me that they also wanted to try studying and/or working abroad when they finished their schooling. This was in an area where people didn't tend to stray too far from home, so knowing that I helped broaden their horizons a bit made me very happy!
- How did you create connections with your host community beyond the
ETA or S/R experience?
- I am an avid horseback rider, so I rode at a local stable and met some very welcoming people there who I am still in contact with today. I also took classes at the local college, where I met people who were my age. I also remain in contact with several of these classmates.
- What are you doing now (in terms of study, work, hobbies -
- After Fulbright, I stayed in Germany and earned my master's degree in linguistics at the University of Würzburg. I now live near Nuremberg, Germany and work in marketing and communications at an IT company. As for hobbies, I am still an enthusiastic dressage rider.
- Did your Fulbright experience contribute in some way to what you
are doing/studying now?
- It sure did! I wouldn't have been able to do my master's in Germany without immersing myself in the language the way I was able to during my Fulbright year. It also made me realize that although I liked planning how to communicate an idea to people (a.k.a. lesson planning), I didn't enjoy teaching as much as I expected. This is what led me to pursuing a career in communications.
- What advice do you have for those in the application process?
- Power through! It takes a long time, but it's worth the wait (and prepares you for job applications with similar wait times and multiple rounds of evaluation).
- What would you want future Fulbrighters to know about the
- Depending on where you're located and how you're received by your host community, sometimes it can be difficult to form connections - and can sometimes even be lonely, especially at the very beginning. However, this is a great time to really examine what you want to get out of this experience and maybe even do some self-reflection as to whether some of your own cultural habits are creating social barriers for you. Remember, what's "normal" for you might not be standard in your host country!
- Do you have anything else you would like to add about your
- I am so thankful for everyone who helped make it possible, especially Amanda Cuevas and Professor Donovan Anderson.
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