Teaching Assistant 2011-12 and Fulbright Combined Grantee - Innsbruck, Tirol
[...] the most significant lesson that I’ve learned all year was: certain things defy the language barrier. ... Like the look of confusion and disgust on every Austrian’s face when I mention my extreme love for peanut butter … the sigh of relief when the students were expecting an exam but then I walk into the room instead of their usual teacher… the blank stares when I try to explain the rules of baseball… the eye rolls from a class of students who don’t want to speak English at 8am… the roars of laughter when I ask if Austria has a good soccer team … the teachers’ looks of horror and the students’ looks of excitement when I explain the drinking culture in the U.S. … and the loud applause when I surprised the students with my perfect pronunciation of “Oachkatzlschwoaf” during the final weeks of school.
Although I do not want to leave Austria yet, I can’t wait to show everyone back home the pictures of this fairytale ski-town that I spent 10 months in. Although the snow and mountains are definitely something to brag about, it was the people I encountered here that made it an unforgettable experience. While I cannot adequately express my gratitude, just know that I’ll be in Boston telling everyone how wonderful Austria is – making them jealous with tales about mountains, Christmas markets, and Käsepätzle. [...] To quote the wise Winnie-The-Pooh, “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”
Teaching Assistant 2010-11 - Bad Hofgastein, Salzburg
Teaching Assistant 2011-12 - Graz, Steiermark
I would like to tell all incoming TAs that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity which many people would love to have. I feel that my teaching impacts the students the most by motivating them to be excited and enthusiastic about the English language. I, additionally, feel that my students directly apply the things I have taught them to tests and in everyday life. This observation comes from discussions with teachers and personal contact with the students. Above all, though, I believe that the atmosphere that develops in a class prods the students to listen, take interest and actively participate in the activities and discussions.
My teaching assistantship job has had a large impact in my life and will certainly be advantageous in my future life. I have gained experience in working within a multicultural environment and also in a setting completely different from what I had been previously used to. I feel completely at ease being in front of a class of students and assuming a teaching role and I have gained insight into the lives of teenagers and the learning process. Being an assistant has also made me more independent and sure of myself when it comes to breaching the unknown. I will surely apply the experiences made and lessons learned in the future.
Teaching Assistant 2010-11 - Dornbirn, Vorarlberg
Teaching Assistant 2011-12 - Telfs, Tirol
The impact these two years as a TA has had on me personally is immense! The biggest impact definitely comes from the challenges of creating lessons and embracing the quick change from student to teacher. It was also great to see how I learned something new every single day in the classroom, be it about the Austrian school system and the reflections of the American school system or about learning and teaching in general. Another impact is that I learned that I really do like teaching and could see myself continuing this in the future. Finally, I realized my love of Austria!
Teaching Assistant 2008-09 - Linz, Oberösterreich
Teaching Assistant 2009-10 - Wien
Being a TA for two years in Austria through this program has been an incredible, worthwhile, and memorable experience. When I first became a TA, my only expectations were to learn more about Austria and gain some teaching experience. The program and job have really exceeded my expectations. What I find so amazing about this program is how much teaching experience it offers. I think it's safe to say that doing a program like this offers more experience than simply staying home and pursuing a credential immediately after graduating from college. After two years in the classroom, I feel confident with my abilities and certain that I want a career in education. I can't imagine something back in the states that would have afforded me this time to gain so much experience and in such a unique way. Living abroad has been quite the adventure; there was something new to learn everyday, and my worldview has definitely been broadened from my time living in a different country. I really can't say a negative thing about my time in Austria. I feel stronger as a person, more certain about my career path, and I have so many stories from my time here that will hopefully be recounted in the years to come.