Student selected for a 2015-16 Fulbright to Germany

April 2, 2015 | Features, UToday
By Cathy Zimmer

Neil Hetrick, a senior majoring in multi-age education (pre-kindergarten through 12) and German at The University of Toledo, has been selected to receive the Fulbright U.S. Student Award to Germany.

Neil Hetrick posed for a photo in front of the East Side Gallery in Berlin, Germany.

Neil Hetrick posed for a photo in front of the East Side Gallery in Berlin, Germany.

He will participate in the English Teaching Assistant Program, which places Fulbrighters in classrooms abroad to provide help to the local English teachers. Those in the program help teach English while serving as cultural ambassadors for the United States.

Hetrick’s love of exploring his world and of Germany started in high school.

“During high school, I participated in a foreign exchange program in Germany for a year. This experience was my first brief exposure to all the world has to offer,” he said. “It invigorated my drive for academic success and became my motivation to continue on into college.

“Throughout my studies, I had another opportunity to travel to Germany for a semester abroad and it solidified my love for this country and its culture. By receiving this Fulbright grant for an English teaching assistantship, it truly is a dream coming true.

“This statement might be a little cliché, but I have really devoted a lot of time and energy to equip myself with the skills and expertise to become a positive impact in the local and global community,” Hetrick added.

“It is my hope that Fulbright will provide me with the opportunity to continue improving myself, while also allowing me to make a greater difference on the international community — living in, growing and influencing the target culture Auf ein spannendes Jahr [on an exciting year]!”

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program of the United States. The Fulbright U.S. Student Program provides grants for individually designed study/research projects or for English Teaching Assistant Programs.

During their grants, Fulbrighters live, learn and work with people of the host country. The program facilitates cultural exchange through direct interaction, allowing the grantee to gain an appreciation of others’ viewpoints and beliefs. Through engagement in the community, the individual will interact with his or her hosts in an atmosphere of openness, academic integrity, and intellectual freedom, thereby promoting mutual understanding.

“The Center for International Studies and Programs and the UT Fulbright Interview Committee are ecstatic that Neil was accepted for this exceptional experience and prestigious program,” said Michelle Ploeger, international education specialist in the Education Abroad Office. “This opportunity will enable Neil to not only continue his personal, academic and professional growth, but will provide an unprecedented occasion for him to share American culture and values with German students, professors, teachers and the community. He will be an excellent ambassador for UT and the United States.”

She encouraged anyone interested in studying abroad to attend the Fulbright U.S. Student Program Workshop Monday, April 6, from 2 to 3 p.m. in Student Union Room 2592.

“Your international journey can start during your undergraduate studies. Don’t miss out on the opportunities to study abroad. We often find that study abroad is a launching pad for future international opportunities, and Neil is a perfect example of this,” Ploeger said.

Applicants for the Fulbright U.S. Student Program include graduating seniors and those who have recently received bachelor’s degrees; graduate-level candidates demonstrating the capacity for independent study or research, together with a general knowledge of the history, culture and current events of the countries to which they are applying; and young professionals, including writers, creative and performing artists, journalists, and those in law, business and other professional fields.

Benefits for all Fulbright U.S. student grants include round-trip transportation to the host country; funding to cover room, board and incidentals based on the cost of living in the host country; and accident and sickness health benefits.

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