Friday, October 17, 2008

Scott - EC Alumnus - Fulbrighter in Germany 2008-09

Hey everyone! My name is Scott Morris, and I graduated from EC last Spring. In Fall 2006 I spent one semester in Salzburg, Austria with Bowling Green State University's program, and I have been in Hannover, Germany since the 5th of September. I will be here for a year teaching English on a Fulbright Scholarship at the German version of a college-prep high school. I just wanted to let you know that as someone who has been through preparations of preparing for a semester (and now a year) abroad, the culture shock upon arrival as well as return home I would be glad to answer any questions that you may have. You can also contact me on Facebook or email
( if you are interested in post-graduate study abroad opportunities.
I will let you know a little of what my program is about. My offical job title is "English Teaching Assistant", and there are 125 of us in Germany. There is one other Assistant in Hannover, and the others are spread all throughout the country. My job is Monday-Thursday, and I have 16 teaching hours a week. That equates to 12 actual hours at the school a week. I work with about 6 different English teachers, and I do anything from teach a 45 minute lesson by myself to leading conversation to correcting pronunciation and grammar. It really depends on what school you're at and which teachers you work with. I work with grades 6-13 (yes, Germany has an extra year of High School), and the teachers and students are glad to have a native speaker helping out. Some of the reactions I have received are astonishment to shock. It is really interesting. One of the most common questions I get asked is, "Have you ever seen a celebrity" or "Have you met Zac Effron"? They are definitely infatuated with American pop culture.
The nice part is that I don't have to do any grading or administer any tests.
For anyone interested in the program specifically, there are programs in over 100 countries through Fulbright, and you can either teach English or do a research grant. Fulbright pays for your round trip plane travel, health insurance and a monthly stipend. Once again feel free to ask any questions that you may have, because I will be happy to give you as much advice as possible!

The picture that I attached is of the New City Hall.


Blogger Leona said...

Yes, I think American pop culture is attractive just about anywhere in the world. It's so glamorous! I was wondering what types of classes you are taking. Are you minoring or majoring in German? Are you classes in German or English? Both? Did you have a choice? Thank You!

4:47 AM  
Anonymous Dan Bak said...

I am traveling to Germany next semester and I was just wondering how much German language knowledge I need before going because I have none? Also, if you have any tips for dealing with the German culture I would really appreciate it. Another thing i was wondering was the difference in classes when abroad, and if there are any fields in Germany that you found interesting to study.
Dan Bak

12:29 PM  
Blogger Scott said...

Hi Leona:

Well I am not doing a study abroad through Elmhurst, because I graduated in the Spring. When I was in Austria in 2006 I took a Grammar class, Art History, Politics of the EU and European Geography. My main goal was to satisfy as many Gen Eds as possible. This time around I am doing a Fulbright which is sponsored by the State Department. I am teaching 12 hours a week at a high school here, and I am taking two Master's courses: Transatlantic Foreign Policy and Politics of Russia. All of my classes have been in German because my major was German. Most of the European Universities do offer a wide range of classes in English (especially law and sciences). Where will you be studying?


Well my suggestion would be to learn at least the basic greetings and such so that Germans can tell that you are making an effort to learn their language. My experience has been that they are always interested in practicing their English, so you shouldn't have any problem getting around without an advanced knowledge. Where will you be at in Germany? If you are in a University town or a larger town then you will definitely be fine. Smaller towns might be a bit more problematic, but overall you can get by with English. As far as the culture goes, I think that it is tougher to befriend Germans for some reason. But there are always going to be people who take a special interest in foreign students. Also, a lot of things that are looked down upon in the U.S. are more socially acceptable here (alcohol, smoking, etc.). Germans have been very welcoming to me, and they are always looking for someone to have English conversation hours with. That is a good way to meet people (offer one hour of German lessons for one hour of speaking English). As far as what to study, I would suggest taking classes that you wouldn't find at Elmhurst. For example take a class on art history because you can learn about Gothic architecture and then go see examples first hand in your town. I would also suggest taking a culture class because it gives you great insight as to where Germans are coming from in their beliefs. I will be here in Germany until July, so if you want to meet up let me know (I roomed with Darrel Sangster freshman year). Let me know if you have any other questions.

1:05 PM  
Blogger Scott said...

One more part to Dan's question. Classes are a lot different than in the U.S. if you take University courses. There is a lot more work outside of class, and you don't usually have quizzes or homework assignments. The only work outside of class is reading (usually a good amount of it). The professors really expect you to do a lot of the work on your own. Most classes have one paper and one test, however some have two tests. So there is a lot more focus on independent work and not on homework or class participation like there is in the U.S.

1:44 PM  
Anonymous Katie R said...

Hi Scott,
Do people in Germany ask you questions about American politics or ask you your opinon? Are they interested in the upcoming election here? Do you think it's best to answer honestly?

3:40 PM  
Blogger Scott said...

Well my experience in Germany has been that people are really pulling for Obama. They were infatuated with JFK, and they have the same sentiment towards Obama. I have actually taken part in lectures and panel discussions put on by the American Embassy in Hamburg, because there is so much interest. A lot of the students want to know why young people don't vote, and they are really interested in hearing what each candidate stands for. When explaining all of that, I try to be as objective as possible, but if someone asks me what I personally agree with then I will of course tell them the truth. I personally came to Germany expecting to hear a lot of criticism towards the U.S, and that didn't really bother me. However, I have found myself trying to defend certain aspects of politics and government because there is a lot of bad feelings about the last 8 years of Bush. Just be aware that you will be asked a lot of questions (so inform yourself if you don't feel really confident), and if you're in a country that speaks a different language, look up words that may help you explain politics in the United States. I was asked to give a lecture in German about the electoral college, and without preparation it would have been almost impossible. Just be sure to know what is going on and to expect people to be really interested in what your viewpoint is.

5:42 PM  
Anonymous Dan Bak said...


I was wondering if you experienced any culture shock when you first went to Germany?


10:33 PM  

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