Grad Receives Fulbright Opportunity
NMU graduate Monique Yoder will teach English and American culture
to students in Austria from October through May. The opportunity
comes courtesy of the Austrian-American Educational Commission,
which works in conjunction with the Fulbright Commission and the
Austrian Ministry of Education.
As a foreign
language assistant at two business vocational schools, Yoder will
facilitate 12 conversation lessons per week for students ages 16-19,
team-teach with their English instructor, and introduce students
to various aspects of American culture. She will be based in Neusiedl
am See, in the eastern part of the country near the borders of Slovakia
graduated from NMU in May with an English/graduate-bound degree
and a minor in German. This will be her second trip to Austria.
went to Vienna with Carol Strauss (Modern Languages
and Literatures), Robbie Goodrich (History) and
a group of students last year as part of a study-abroad program,
and I really liked it there,” she said. “It’s similar to the Midwest
with its rolling fields, but in Austria you have the Alps in the
heritage inspired her to choose German as her foreign language in
high school and as one of her minors in college. Selecting a major
did not come so easily.
started out as a biochemistry major because I liked science, but
I switched to English my junior year because I like writing more.
I’m glad I made that decision; it’s given me a chance to explore
the humanities more. I have a better understanding of myself and
the world around me.”
Austrian students that Yoder will be teaching have already taken
two or three years of the English language, but she hopes to bring
more to the classroom than language skills.
think it’s important that the students over there have a positive
image of the U.S.,” she said. “I hope to create an open environment
so they’ll be comfortable with asking questions about life over
here; I want them to know how diverse it really is. I also plan
on introducing them to some good music.”
Yoder also understands that even though she’s the teacher, she will
be doing some learning as well. “This will be my first time living
someplace on my own, so that will be a learning experience in itself.
I’m also curious as to how they deal with the same issues that we
do, and I want to brush up on my German skills. But most importantly,
this experience will prepare me for grad school at Michigan State
next year, where I’ll be studying how to teach English to foreign
speakers. Once I finish that program, I’ll be able to teach anywhere
in the world.”
long-term goals are to teach abroad for a few years after graduate
school, then return to the states for her doctorate in linguistics.
She is one of 121 teaching assistants hired by the Austrian-American
Educational Commission this year to promote communication between
the two countries.