Student Awards · Travel Abroad · Uncategorized

Hello From the Czech Repubic! WFU Grad’s Fulbright Adventure

David Burch, Russian major and WFU’18 grad, is currently teaching English in the Czech Republic on a Fulbright. He sent us this update and some photos of his adventures! Here’s what David has to say:

I am teaching at an arts high school for designers and woodworkers. I have gotten into the teaching rhythm, taken many trips with my students, been to the U.S. Embassy for a banquet, experienced lots of Czech food and drink, and done every Czech activity from mushrooming to something resembling a medieval battle.

carp harvest

A Czech carp harvest
Teachers tend to tell me what they want the day before, and I usually spend that afternoon making the lesson for the next day. I work with three different teachers, teaching 6 classes for each teacher (18 total) every week. I also have two clubs I do with the students: Music and Conversation club, and North American Culture Club. 
david with school principal
From right to left: David, another teacher at the school, and the school’s principal
The students and teachers seem to like me, and I like them. I often spend time with the fellow teachers at my school, and I’ve attended several parties and events with them. Going to the pub on a Friday (or any weekday) after work is the cultural norm here, and my colleagues get to practice their English with me this way.  
town square
The town square of Hradec Kralove, where David is posted
The relationship between the teachers and students is quite informal at this school. I think that many students hold a great deal of trust in me and see me also as a sort of counselor. 
The Czech Fulbright Commission has an excellent staff, and they have been super supportive of me and my placement at this school. I’m very happy to be working for them.
My adventures with the students have ranged from camping trips to art galleries, and I’ve had a blast. They are very respectful and mature teenagers, and I imagine that I’ll be friends with many of them long after I leave. For many of them, their English is not so great, but their desire to learn the language is greater. 
An extraordinarily large percentage of my students play guitar (and make guitars) and love rock music, so, as a musician myself, there’s lots to do and talk about. I have been invited to several concerts, and one of them even plays in a well-known AC/DC tribute band. Other students are designers, who make everything from sculptures to computerized cartoons to house plans. Still, other students are poets, singers, and writers. The “arts school aspect” is truly amazing, and I never would have expected that so much talent could be concentrated in one small Czech school. This is probably my favorite aspect of being here. 
Guitars made by David’s students
My Russian language skills–and language skills in general–have proved very valuable here. I’ve even befriended some Russian-speaking Ukrainians who live here in Hradec, so I get to practice my Russian.
Right now, I think I’ll most likely teach English elsewhere in Eastern Europe another year and enter graduate school in 2020. Though, the University of Amsterdam has a very appealing Masters Program in Linguistics that I’m going to apply to this year.
Prague at midday at midwinter

A huge congratulations once again to David for his Fulbright Award, and we’re thrilled to hear he’s doing so well and having such a good time in the Czech Republic!

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