If you’ve ever traveled abroad, you might have dreamt about what it would be like to live and work abroad. For Marian University students Andréa Stanley ’20, Grace Albertson ’21, and Katherine Grabowski ’22, being awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship (E.T.A.) in Austria has made this dream a reality and is changing their lives.
“The Fulbright Scholarship is a highly-competitive national award and many exceptional applicants are not selected for a scholarship, said Wendy Westphal, Ph.D., Marian’s director of global prestige grants. “I am thrilled for Grace and Andréa who are doing an amazing job teaching in Austria, and now we have learned that Kate Grabowski will be Marian’s next Fulbrighter. She’s the first student in Marian University history to have been granted both the Fulbright Scholarship to Germany and the Fulbright-Austria English Teaching Assistantship.”
“I was able to study not only in Austria this past summer, but after months of waiting, I was beyond excited when I found out I received two Fulbright awards,” Grabowski said, after learning that she had received both the Fulbright to Germany and the Fulbright-Austria, allowing her to choose between the two awards. “After graduating in May, I’ll be headed to Austria as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant.”
As Marian’s eighth Fulbrighter in the past nine years, Kate Grabowski will be following in the footsteps of Emily Neice ’19 (Marian’s first Fulbright E.T.A. to Germany), Andréa Stanley ’20, and Grace Albertson ’21. Stanley and Albertson are both currently Fulbright-Austria English Teaching Assistants. In her second year as an E.T.A., Andréa Stanley is overseeing the new English T.A.s this year. Since Stanley teaches in Vienna and Albertson teaches in a small vacation town just a half-hour outside of Vienna, they decided to become flatmates in Austria’s capital city. “It was really humbling and important for me to win this award,” Albertson explained. “I’m living with Andréa and learning from her previous experiences. It feels like home, having another Marian student in a foreign country with you.”
Grabowski, who will teach in the small town of Telfs just outside Innsbruck during the 2022-23 academic year, says the scholarship is crucial to her future career goals. “This award is important because it is much more than receiving an international job to teach abroad,” she said. “It is about increasing cultural competency, cross-cultural relationships, and global understanding,” she explained. “I am ready to be an ambassador in a foreign country and make those genuine relationships with locals,” she explained. Grabowski’s long-term goal is to become an international lawyer.
Making cultural ambassadors is exactly what the Fulbright program does. Not only is it the United States government’s flagship international educational exchange program, but scholars are considered America’s cultural ambassadors. Westphal says it’s a great honor for students to be selected for this fully-funded program and it is an example of how Marian is preparing transformative leaders for service to the world.
In addition to gaining international teaching experience, the Fulbrighters have the chance to take part in the cultural lives of their host cities. For example, Stanley says after quickly adapting to the Austrian culture, she’s been skiing with locals and other Fulbright scholars. She’s especially excited that she has been invited to sing with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. “I am really looking forward to performing with them in June,” she says. “I got involved because I wanted to be part of an exceptional choir, and I realized I could join the university in one of their voice clubs, and after being chosen to sing, I’m really excited about it!”
Grabowski says she’s ready to put her German minor to use and can’t thank Wendy Westphal, Ph.D. enough. “She’s been amazing as I really appreciate her encouragement and support,” Grabowski said.
“I’m really proud of all the successes of our students,” Westphal explained. “It’s a mark of prestige that Marian’s students are competing on a national level and becoming Fulbright scholars. In the past nine years, Marian has had a total of eight Fulbright Scholars, teaching in Argentina, Austria, Colombia, Germany, and South Korea. Of course, as Marian’s German professor, I’m especially excited to have had a Fulbrighter in a German-speaking country each year for the past four years!”