German Major receives Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship (for Halle, 2013-14)

by David R. Ewens, B.A.

An English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) places a Fulbright grant recipient in a classroom abroad to provide assistance to teachers of English to non-native English-speakers. English Teaching Assistants help teach the English language while serving as a cultural ambassador for U.S. culture. I am currently working at the Berufsbildende Schule III "J. C. v. Dreyhaupt" in Halle (Saale), Sachsen-Anhalt, and my experience thus far has been incredibly positive. Since beginning my teaching assistantship in September 2013, I have worked with a wide variety of students doing professional apprenticeships and training courses in many different fields. From retail shop assistants and realtors to event managers and fitness experts and personal trainers, I've helped and continue to help them improve their English skills in practical ways. The most important part of my job as an ETA is making sure my students learn English skills and vocabulary they can use in their daily work life for any situation where English is required. Though I initially expected to be at a "traditional" German high school like a Gymnasium, being at the Berufsschule (like a community college where students learn a trade) has been a delightfully eye-opening experience and has given me a valuable glimpse into the lives of young working Germans. Much different than the kind of school I expected, my work at the Berufsschule has proven to be much more rewarding for me than I could have ever imagined.

I studied abroad in Berlin for my entire Junior year (AY '11-'12) with the Institute for the International Education of Students Abroad through their Berlin, Language and Area Studies. as well as at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. I lived with a homestay family and all of my classes were conducted in German. I experienced total language and cultural immersion and consequently gained a much deeper understanding of both.

I wrote my senior Honors Thesis in the English and Germanic and Slavic Studies departments. With the title "Sister Outsider, blues in schwarz weiss: A Study of the Effects of the Poetry of Audre Lorde and May Ayim on the Contemporary German Discussion of Race, Gender, and Sexuality," I examined the effects African-American feminist poet Audre Lorde had on the young Afro-German poet May Ayim and how Lorde helped unite a previously scattered and timid Afro-German community in Berlin. Because of Lorde, the Afro-German movement found their footing in the German post-Wende discussion of race, and through Ayim, among other poets, the Afro-German community began to solidify their identity as black Germans.

All the best,

David R. Ewens, B.A.
Tulane University - English, Germanic and Slavic Studies
English Teaching Assistant / Englischsprachiger Fremdsprachenassistent, 2013/14
J. William Fulbright Commission, Institute for International Education, & Deutscher Pädagogischer Austauschdienst