Student Awards · Travel Abroad · Uncategorized

#WFU18 Tatiana Ostwalt’s time in Kazakhstan as a Fulbright TA

Tatiana Ostwalt, WFU18 in Russian, was awarded a Fulbright TA-ship in Kazakhstan for 2020. Unfortunately, her time in Kazakhstan was cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic, but she has shared this essay and some photographs of her time there with us.

Tatiana in Kazakhstan 1

I was placed in the city of Kyzylorda, Kazakhstan, with a population of about 200,000 people that is located in the south of Kazakhstan. In this region, there is a strong emphasis on the Kazakh culture and Kazakh is more commonly spoken than Russian, as compared to other parts of Kazakhstan. There is a considerable amount of Koreans living in Kazakhstan and as ethnically Korean myself, I would often be thought of as a native until I was heard speaking. This allowed me to blend into my environment fairly well, but also challenged me to continue improving my target language abilities. Although people would be initially surprised to hear that I was American, once I told them about my background, they would quickly understand and be receptive to find out more.

Tatiana in Kazakhstan 3

I taught English 13 hours a week in the Department of Foreign Languages and Translation Studies of a university in my city. My host institution was very welcoming and I had a lot of fun teaching my students. The students were at the very least bilingual, knowing both Kazakh and Russian, and were eager to improve their English with a native speaker and learn about life in the United States. The students I was teaching were majoring in Translation Studies or Education, and were highly driven to be proficient in the languages they were learning to apply to their future careers. 

For almost all of my students, I was the first American they had met and I was happy to share with them about where I was from and represent the U.S. with this cultural exchange. While students were learning about different facets of American life and strengthening their English, I was being educated on the differences of the education system in Kazakhstan and learning more about the Kazakh culture and history. One of my students and a local friend also started teaching me Kazakh. I loved seeing the passion and love the people here had for their ethnic roots and identity, and was glad they wanted to share that with me. Thanks to the support of the Fulbright Program, my host institution, and the local friends I made in my community, the transition process to Kazakhstan was made much smoother. I feel lucky to have formed lasting friendships and bonds there, and feel thankful for the hospitality I was shown by the Kazakh people. I hope I will get the chance to return one day. 

Tatiana in Kazakhstan 2

Department Events · Student Awards · Travel Abroad · Uncategorized

Applications for Sanders Scholarships are Now Open

Interested in doing a study abroad to Germany or Austria?

Austria

Now there’s an incentive to apply for study abroad!

The WFU German program is now accepting applications for Sanders Scholarships, which help offset the cost of study abroad in Germany or Austria. They’re available to rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors who will have completed GER 153 by  the time of the award period and plan to study at the Goethe Institute, IES, or the Flow House.

If you have any questions, please talk to your instructor or Doctor Howards. You can access a PDF of the application here: Sanders Scholarship Application 2019

Applications and letter of recommendation are due Monday, December 2nd.

Faculty research · Student Awards · Travel Abroad · Uncategorized

WFU German & Russian Students Receive Fellowships and Internships to Travel the World

Imst

The town of Imst, Austria, where Elizabeth Waid (WFU19) will be teaching English as a Fulbright Teaching Assistant

Spring is usually an exciting place on college campuses, as students learn of summer fellowships, internships, and post-graduate opportunities.  For our department, even more so: we have had a record-breaking yield on student honors, awards, and fellowships.  Take a look at the following updates we have received to date:

Our department always has a number of successful Fulbright applicants each year.  These students usually go on to spend a year in Germany, Austria, or, recently, the Czech Republic, to teach English to high school students.  This year, 25% of the WFU students selected as Fulbright semi-finalists were from the German and Russian Department!  From that list, the following were selected as recipients or alternates:
Jessica Wu (Mathematical Economics & German Major, 2019) has received a Fulbright Teaching Assistant award to spend next year teaching English at a German high school;
Elizabeth Waid (Economics & German Major, 2019) has been named an alternate for a German Fulbright Teaching Assistantship, and has also been awarded the parallel award to teach English next year in Austria;
Emily Beeland (Sociology & German Studies Major, 2019) has been named an alternate for Austrian Teaching Assistantship.  And hold onto your hats: she has also been offered a job at Walt Disney World, starting this June!
In addition to those exciting year-long stays, FOUR of our students have been offered a WFU Richter Grant, which funds summer travel and research abroad.  These are competitive awards, so having four people from our department – let along from a department of our small size – is outstanding.  Take a look at their fascinating proposed projects:
Riley Phillips (Studio Art & German Major) will be based in Berlin, researching the intersections between German internationalism and the world of high fashion;
Cameron Allen (Politics & International Affairs) will be pursuing her project “An Exploration of Modern Afro-German Activism”;
Sunny Calhoun (Women & Gender Studies) will be researching a project titled “German Queer Public Histories”;
Andy Weicheng Jiang (Mathematical Economics Major & Russian Minor) will be travelling to Koenigsberg and Gdansk, where he will explore the shifting cultural identities of these places after the Second World War.
Our students are very lucky to have Dr. Heiko Wiggers as a mentor for all things related to internships. This year, after a competitive application process, including rigorous rounds interviews, two students have been offered paid internships in Germany:
Nick Mazzella (German & Finance Major, 2020) will be with Ernst & Young in Frankfurt;
Will McKay (German & Business Major, 2020) will be returning to Kieselbronn to work with Elvation a medical device company.  They liked him so much last summer that they hired him again!
In our batch of last year’s graduates, Kimberly Annas (2018) has been accepted into the Ph.D. program for Germanic Languages and Literatures at Washington University in St. Louis, starting this fall.

And the good news doesn’t stop with the students!  Associate Professor Grant McAllister was recently named the Levison Faculty Fellow.  This is one of a very small number of faculty fellowships awarded each year to the most outstanding teacher-scholars at WFU.  Competition for this honor is extremely rigorous, so a huge congratulations to Dr. McAllister!

Congratulations, everyone!  The joy we get from teaching you is beyond measure.  May your adventures be equally thrilling!
And students: if you have exciting news to share about your plans for next year, let us know so that we can brag about you, too!
Student Awards · Uncategorized

Kellie Dupree, WFU04 and German Minor, Gets a Deacon Spotlight!

We’re thrilled to announce that former German student Kellie Dupree has been featured this month in a Deacon Spotlight! Here are a couple of excerpts from her interview:

Kellie Dupree

Tell us about your current job role and employer. What are you currently working on?

Ballot Initiative Strategy Center (BISC) is the only national progressive organization exclusively focused on ballot measures. We work across the country to create a coordinated strategy on ballot measures and pass policies that improve people’s lives. I provide strategic advice and guidance to national and in-state groups looking to deal with an issue on the ballot. I also oversee several programs areas including training campaign staff, our state legislative program focused on protecting the ballot measure process, and overseeing our annual national conference.

What advice would you give to current Wake Forest students and/or young alumni who are interested in working in your industry?

Just do it. It’s not always glamorous and can sometimes be hard to explain to people! But if you believe in what you’re trying to accomplish, go for it. Don’t get caught up on titles – in political work titles are free – and pay attention to what you actually get to do. Show up, do the work and you will advance. But also value yourself and your boundaries. Politics can be all consuming and knowing who you are is key to making it through.

Read the full interview here.

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
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
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!

Department Events · Student Awards · Travel Abroad · Uncategorized

Sanders and Critical Language Scholarship Applications Due Next Week!

It’s a short week! Yay! Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! But in the rush to visit with friends and family and wolf down as many family favorites as possible,

Persian borscht

Professor Clark will be revisiting a cross-cultural family favorite, Persian-style borscht. Dill-haters and beet-skeptics need not apply.

don’t forget that two study abroad scholarships have their deadlines next week!

Applications for the Sanders Scholarship, for students interested in study abroad in Germany or Austria, are due November 26.

vienna_pic

Vienna, Austria

Scholarships will be awarded for language study in Germany or Austria. These scholarships are available to rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors who will have completed German 153 or above by the time of the award period. The awards are designated specifically (and in order of preference) for: l) summer language study at the Goethe Institut; 2) supplemental aid for a semester or year of study at IES program in Berlin, Freiburg, or Vienna; or 3) a semester of study at the Flow House in Vienna, Austria; of 4) study with the department’s Jena summer program.

Completed applications must be returned to the administrative assistant of the Department of German and Russian, 333 Greene Hall, by the Monday after Thanksgiving break. Please contact Professor Howards or your German professor for more information.

Applications for the Critical Language Scholarship, for students interested in studying Russian in Russia, Georgia, or Kyrgyzstan, are due November 27.

Vladimir

Vladimir, Russia is one of the sites of the 2019 CLS programs in Russian

The link to the CLS application is here. Please contact your Russian professor or Professor Clark for more information.

Enjoy your break!

Department Events · Student Awards · Travel Abroad · Uncategorized

Kaffeestunde and Russian Film Night: Events This Week

It’s a cold rainy Veterans Day today, but that won’t stop us from offering plenty of (indoor) activities this week! Both of our department activities are on Wednesday, so if you wanted to, you could totally hang around and come to both!

Kaffeestunde will be from 4 to 5, Wednesday, November 14. Games and prizes will be on offer!

Kaffeestunde 11:14

Then our last Russian film of the semester will be from 6 to 7:30. We’ll be finishing up our retrospective of beloved Soviet comedy director Leonid Gaidai by watching his adaptation of Ilf & Petrov’s comedy classic “12 Chairs.”

12 Chairs

And last but not least, a reminder that students interested in studying German in Germany or Austria next year should talk to their German professor or Dr. Howards about the department’s Sanders Scholarship. Applications are due the Monday after Thanksgiving, which is coming right up!

Student Awards · Travel Abroad · Uncategorized

The Critical Language Scholarship Program

Study abroad is great, everyone agrees, but it isn’t free. Many students can get discouraged before the process even begins because they can’t think of how they’re going to fund their dream trip abroad.

But fear not! There is plenty of money to fund pretty much any kind of study abroad trip you can imagine. Over the next few posts we’ll cover some, although not all, of the sources of funding students can turn to.

For today’s post we’re going to concentrate on the Critical Language Scholarship, a competitive national scholarship program for students of languages and cultures that have been designated as critical for national security and economic prosperity.

The Critical Language Scholarship

Deadline: November 27, 2018

Eligibility: Must be an US citizen and enrolled in a degree-granting program at an accredited US university at the time of application. Must pass a medical review. Applicants for Russian must have already taken at least two years of college-level Russian.

The program: CLS is an intensive summer program. The scholarship covers program expenses and travel costs between Washington, DC and the target country. CLS is currently operating three Russian-language programs, in Vladimir, Tbilisi, and Bishkek.

Vladimir

Vladimir is in the Golden Ring, Russia’s medieval heartland

Fun fact: Russian major Tatiana Ostwalt (WFU18) went to Russia on a CLS in 2017!

The program link is here.

Next week we’ll be talking about the other major national award for studying Russian at the undergraduate level, the Boren Scholarship!

Want to know more? Contact Professor Clark at clarkep@wfu.edu

Department Events · Student Awards · Travel Abroad · Uncategorized

Summer Internships in Germany, Part III

Part III of our series about Summer Internships in Germany. For more information, please contact Dr. Wiggers at wiggerh@wfu.edu.

Summer Internships in Germany

In the summer of 2017 four of our German majors and minors lived and worked in Germany.  The students applied to internship programs that the Department of German and Russian facilitates each year.

The internships are three months long (Mid-May to Mid-August), well paid, and include work permits as well as insurance.

The summer internships are fantastic opportunities for students of German to work and live in a German-speaking environment, make new connections at international companies, experience work and culture first hand, and to learn new skills!

And, of course, students with international work experience are very marketable on the U.S. job market.

Our department is working with two organizations that provide summer internships in Germany:

  • German-American Exchange, Inc.

Internships with this group are geared toward students with a background in Business and STEM.  The internships are competitive and often, but not always, with bigger, international companies.

  • Cultural Vistas

Internships with this group are geared toward students with a background in Humanities, Languages, and Arts. The internships are with medium-sized German companies.

Stay tuned this month for more information and conversations about summer internships in Germany!

Here are the stories of our 2017 interns:

Part 3) Hanna Randall: TÜV Hessen, Frankfurt

During the summer of 2017, I completed an internship with TÜV Technische Überwachung Hessen GmbH in Frankfurt, Germany.  TÜV is a technical inspection and certification organization that operates under a broad range of services. I worked under the VP of Industry Service, Thore Lapp. My primary responsibility was to provide assistance to the industry service division by translating documents and presentations. Throughout the three months, I was given the freedom to choose a research topic for a project that I would later present to the division. I chose to identify and research the top ten “potential” clients to grow business operations. I was also sent on business trips to many of the TÜV locations around Germany, including the headquarter of TÜV SÜD in Munich. While visiting the locations, I would tour construction sites, energy sites, incineration operations, material-testing labs, and many other sites that fall under the requirements for government/private inspection. Although I did not have much interest in industry before the internship, I ended up learning a lot about the field and I gained practical experience in a professional setting. This internship has been a huge talking point in many of my job interviews, as it is something very unique to have on a resume. I met many new and interesting people while working at TÜV as well as being a part of the German-American Exchange. On the weekends, I would travel with some of the people I met within the program to other countries. I still keep in contact with the friends I made from other universities.

Hannah Randall

Hanna Randall giving a presentation at the TÜV, Frankfurt, Germany.
Department Events · Student Awards · Travel Abroad · Uncategorized

Summer Internships in Germany, Part II

Part II of our series about Summer Internships in Germany! Don’t forget that today is the info session for interested students.

Internship flyer

In the summer of 2017 four of our German majors and minors lived and worked in Germany.  The students applied to internship programs that the Department of German and Russian facilitates each year.

The internships are three months long (Mid-May to Mid-August), well paid, and include work permits as well as insurance.

The summer internships are fantastic opportunities for students of German to work and live in a German-speaking environment, make new connections at international companies, experience work and culture first hand, and to learn new skills!

And, of course, students with international work experience are very marketable on the U.S. job market.

Our department is working with two organizations that provide summer internships in Germany:

  • German-American Exchange, Inc.

Internships with this group are geared toward students with a background in Business and STEM.  The internships are competitive and often, but not always, with bigger, international companies. 

  • Cultural Vistas

Internships with this group are geared toward students with a background in Humanities, Languages, and Arts. The internships are with medium-sized German companies.

 Stay tuned this month for more information and conversations about summer internships in Germany!

Here are the stories of our 2017 interns:

Part 2): Jessica Wu: ARAG Headquarters, Düsseldorf

My internship during Summer 2017 was with the ARAG Group at its headquarters in Düsseldorf, Germany. My job responsibilities were carrying out a company-wide installation of Office 365 and Microsoft Teams, along with my coworkers. I was also responsible for translating the Belgium website from Dutch to English. I absolutely loved my coworkers and the other intern that they hired. My company treated me very well, and I could go to them with any problems I had. They were very generous and paid for my travel within Germany, along with a beautiful and spacious flat all to myself in the middle of the city. I met a lot of people from around Europe, as ARAG is a multinational company. My coworkers in my department were mostly middle-aged German men, so my German improved a lot because many of them were not comfortable speaking English. They were very kind to me and would invite me to their house for dinner, so I got to become close with their families as well.

Düsseldorf is a great city. There are not that many young people and it can feel posh at times. However, it has one of the highest numbers of Japanese expats in the world, so as an Asian food-lover, I ate incredibly well. Outside of work and besides eating, I spent a lot of time outdoors. Düsseldorf is on the river, and my apartment was only a ten minute walk from the riverbank, so I enjoyed riding bikes and running along the river. I also traveled a lot around Europe and visited friends in other European cities.

Generally, I was impressed with the internship. The company was very advanced and I got an accurate taste of the corporate world, from coffee breaks, to sitting in on meetings, to having my own desk, to eating lunch at the company canteen with my coworkers and friends. I had a great time and would definitely recommend it to other people. It has definitely been beneficial for my future. I think that completing an internship is already an impressive feat in the eyes of many employers, and successfully completing an internship abroad in a different language and culture is even more impressive.

Dusseldorf

Düsseldorf am Rhein, Germany