Skip to content
Bethany Webster, ETA Germany 2011-2012
Bethany graduated in 2011 with a double major in music and German.  She studied abroad in Graz, Austria during the 2008-2009 academic year.  Here is what she had to say about her Fulbright experience.
Why did you apply for a Fulbright?
After I returned from Austria I realized that I missed the German language.  I still used it in my last two years of German classes, but I missed using it in everyday life.  I also wanted to experience a completely different part of the German-speaking realm, so I requested to be placed in Schleswig-Holstein, just about as far away from Graz as I could get. 
How did you decide what kind of Fulbright Grant/which country to apply for?
I knew I wanted to apply for a grant to Germany because of the language.  At the time I was considering pursuing a Master’s degree in German Education, so I applied for an ETA in order to get an opportunity to experience the life of a teacher.  
What was your daily like life as a Fulbrighter?
Many ETAs are able to arrange their schedule so that they work Monday-Thursday or Tuesday-Friday, but I worked five days a week through most of the year because I wanted to really get acclimated to the school.  Some days my first period was at 8 am, but other days I started around 10. Usually I had the afternoons off, so I tried to do one big bike ride each afternoon during the first month to really get to know the city and the surrounding area. I was also very active in the school’s orchestra program, and I took some college classes at the University of Kiel during the afternoons. 
Do you have a favorite memory from your Fulbright year?
I was able to extend my grant for a second year, during which I had the sweetest fifth grade class.  At the end of the school year we had a final breakfast together and they sang a bunch of songs in German and English to say goodbye. Fortunately, I still live in the Kiel area so I see them occasionally, but they’re eighth graders now!
Was there anything you learned about yourself during your Fulbright that surprised you?
I was surprised at how comfortable I was teaching. I’m not sure that I’ll make a career out of teaching full-time, but it was surprising to feel comfortable standing in front of a large group from the beginning. 
Was there anything you learned about your host country/culture that surprised you?
I was continually surprised by how helpful not only my colleagues, but also people I would meet in the city were.  I had been warned that northern Germans tend to take a while to open up, but everyone I met was very welcoming and I felt at home almost immediately. 
How has your Fulbright experience helped you in your career?
I’m currently pursuing a Master’s degree at the Europa-Universität Flensburg, while also teaching at the University of Applied Sciences in Kiel.  My teaching experience from my Fulbright year(s) was invaluable for my current position.  I learned so much about the German teaching style as well as the structure of the English language during that time.  Without that experience I would not feel comfortable teaching at such a high level.
In Germany I’ve also been able to keep the music half of my degree alive.  The school I was working at has a very active music program and through my participation in the orchestra I met a few professional musician from throughout the area with whom I’ve had the pleasure of performing on the baroque violin. 
Do you have any advice for students who are thinking about applying for a Fulbright Grant?
Start early and keep submitting drafts of your personal statement and project proposal! Cheryl Lochner-Wright is a huge help and has a great deal of experience with Fulbright – ask her for advice if you get stuck! She also might be able to put you in touch with someone who has successfully applied to your program before!