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As seen in Transitions Abroad Magazine January/February 2005
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Teach in Austria or Germany

Fulbright Assistantships Require No Prior Experience

By Jeff Dehn

While a Fulbright is an established and respected award, the Fulbright Assistantships program is underused. An assistantship places you in a secondary school at the center of an Austrian or Germany community; it lets you transcend the status of traveler and also gives you the freedom to explore. The weekly in-class teaching requirement is only 12-15 hours per week, which leaves plenty of time to absorb your surroundings. Considering the time requirements, the pay provides a comfortable life. At around $1,000 month, my monthly salary provided me a stylish single dorm-style room, an enticing diet, a happy social life, plenty of photo-ops, and the train fare to and fro. Demand for teaching assistants is as high as ever, but participation has waned in recent years. Visit the Fulbright web site, www.fulbright.at, for extensive information about the application procedure and program specifics.

Positions for both Austria and Germany are competitive, but they are by no means unattainable. A working knowledge of (not fluency in) German is required. The programs do not require any teaching experience, just the desire to explore or develop in the profession.

I started my application process in January of my senior year of college by contacting two of my favorite professors who knew more about me than my name and major. As is true for many applications, the letters of recommendation are most important, and the inescapable advice is to start the process early. I also recommend spending a few minutes researching cities where you might want to be placed. Requesting a city other than Vienna, Salzburg, Graz, or Innsbruck will go a long way in getting placed where you want. Check each city for its location, population, vicinity to major cities or railways, and what secondary schools and universities are located there.

The Austrian-American Educational Commission can be contacted at: Schmidgasse 14 , A-1082 Wien, Austria; Tel +43-1-313 39 x 5685, fax +43-1-408 7765. The head contact person is Alexandra Enzi (aenzi@fulbright.at).