• Erin Osterhaus (left) and Carolyn Acker (right) with German Professor Erika Berroth.
    Erin Osterhaus (left) and Carolyn Acker (right) with German Professor Erika Berroth.

Two Southwestern students have been awarded Fulbright English Teaching Assistantships in Germany for the 2009-10 academic year. 

Carolyn Acker is graduating from Southwestern in May with a double major in German and Anthropology. Erin Osterhaus is graduating with a degree in Spanish and French, as well as a minor in German. 

The Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship program is one of several academic exchange programs administered by the U.S. Department of State. The application process begins in the fall when prospective candidates are interviewed by faculty members on their campus, who then rank and recommend students to the Fulbright Commission. The commission reviews the applications and selects a number of candidates to recommend to partner countries, who then screen the applicants again and match the candidates with schools in different cities. Acker and Osterhaus should learn soon which cities and schools they will teach in. 

“Fulbright Teaching Assistantship awards are very competitive and very prestigious,” said Erika Berroth, associate professor of German at Southwestern. Berroth said Germany currently offers 140 positions for English teaching assistants, France offers 55 and Spain offers 43.

Students selected for the Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship program receive round-trip transportation to the host country, a salary for the academic year based on living costs in the host country, an allowance for books and research, and medical insurance. They have an orientation program and also participate in a variety of enrichment activities during the course of the year. 

Most English Teaching Assistants work in their schools for 20 to 30 hours a week, which leaves plenty of time to pursue independent research projects, internships or community service projects.

Acker and Osterhaus are following in the footsteps of 2008 Southwestern graduates Amy Tanguay and Chelsea Edge, who are currently teaching English at schools in northern Germany.

After her year in Germany, Osterhaus plans to attend graduate school for international affairs or Latin American studies. Acker plans to attend graduate school for social work or public health.


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