Recent Fulbright Scholarship winner, senior Elise Mozena, will spend next year in Germany completing an English teaching assistantship. Mozena, an English major and German minor, will use this experience to teach the English language, customs and culture to young German students.
Of the 366 U.S. citizens who applied for this grant, Mozena is one of the 140 applicants who were chosen to teach in Germany anywhere from elementary school age to high school age.
The Fulbright teaching scholarship emphasizes the importance of cultural exchange between countries. The scholarship allows students from all over the world to assist in teaching English in various countries, and provides funds for roundtrip airfare and a monthly stipend of 800 euro per month for living expenses from housing and groceries.
Mozena echoed Fulbright’s concerns for cultural exchange. Said Mozena, “in general, America is kind of perceived negatively. I think the Fulbright wants students to go out and show that we too are interested in culture and language. We’re not ignorant. People actually are interested in learning and teaching.”
The Fulbright program, a program started by the U.S. Congress in 1946, has long aided in helping students fund their travels abroad. Mozena acknowledged that the scholarship “gives an opportunity to students to study outside the country, which they wouldn’t be able to do otherwise.”
Mozena became aware of the program last spring when faculty within the German department urged her to apply. The rigorous application process required that she pass through the school, regional and national selections. Supplemental application materials, such as her detailed life story and a resume all written in German, also had to be submitted. She finally heard the news that she had received the award March 28th.
The program requires the recipient to spend about twenty hours a week teaching at his or her school. Mozena predicted that her tasks would include “helping [teach] English, talking about English or American culture, language and history.”
The scholarship not only affords the recipient the privilege to live abroad but also allows him or her a chance to be fully immersed in the community. Mozena hopes that her interest in theater will allow her to help in some way with her school’s theater or possibly a community theater.
Mozena emphasized that the process has been collaborative, citing people at Lawrence who have been helpful figures in securing the award: “It’s a very collaborative effort to get a Fulbright. I had a lot of help from my professors and from Oskar, who’s a German tutor and Provost Burroughs. So, it was really fun telling everybody because they all helped me to get it.”