Ben Hane knows with virtual certainty what he will be doing five months from now. He just isn’t sure where he will be doing it.
The Lawrence University senior from East Dundee, Ill., has been named a 2006-07 Fulbright Scholar by the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. The fellowship will provide Hane a 10-month opportunity to teach English at the high school and vocational school level somewhere in Germany beginning this September.
“Being a teaching assistant abroad will be great experience,” said Hane, who is expected to graduate in June with a major in both German and history. “I will have an opportunity to live in Germany for close to a year, improving my language skills all the time and getting to know the culture even more.”
While Hane knows he will be heading to Germany, the exact location and school are still to be determined. He indicated a preference to teach in the state of Saxony in the former East Germany, or somewhere in Hesse or Lower Saxony, but the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. State Department, which oversees the Fulbright programs, can assign him to a school anywhere in the country.
“As someone who hopes to pursue teaching as a career, the Fulbright fellowship will provide an incredible classroom experience teaching middle and high school-aged students,” said Hane.
“Having previously worked with several exchange students here at Lawrence, I can honestly say that I really enjoy helping people learn English and understand American culture. As a language assistant in Germany, I’m looking forward to working again with foreign students and hopefully learning much from them as well.”
No stranger to Europe, Hane spent the 2004 Fall Term on the Institute for the International Education of Students study-abroad program in Freiburg, Germany. In addition, he was one of seven students who spent last month’s spring break recess in Berlin, touring the city as part of the German department course “Berlin: Experiencing a Great City.”
The Fulbright Program was created by Congress in 1946 to foster mutual understanding among nations through educational and cultural exchanges. Arkansas Senator J. William Fulbright, who sponsored the legislation, saw it as a step toward building an alternative to armed conflict.
Since its founding, the Fulbright Program has become the U.S. government’s premier scholarship program. It has supported more than 265,000 American students, artists and other professionals opportunities for study, research and international competence in more than 150 countries. Fulbright alumni have become heads of state, judges, ambassadors, CEOs, university presidents, professors and teachers. Thirty-five Fulbright recipients have gone on to earn Nobel Prizes.