I feel settled here at Bates College; I have found my routines at work and home, made friends on campus, found my favorite places to spend my free time.
The first snow has fallen and stayed, Maine is a beautiful place all year around. I hiked along beautiful trails on the coast during the fall and was surrounded by autumn colors, and now I listen to quiet footsteps in the snow as I make my way from our house to campus.
I live with other language teaching assistants here, and we share our experiences and ideas for classes and spend free time together.
I have made friends and we have traveled together on weekends and holidays.
The people I have met here are kind and welcoming. Professors and students are eager to engage in academic discourse, being supportive and mindful of each other as they do so.
My first semester here is almost over and students are working on their finals now, so I get to see them frequently during office hours. Within the German and Russian department, we have offered a lot of cultural activities, which the students enjoy attending. We had a lantern workshop for St. Martin's Day, we baked German desserts, made an excursion to a German Restaurant in Portland, watched movies together and are baking cookies and drinking punch together this week.
Teaching here as an FLTA is a unique experience. Students approach you openly, because they are curious to learn about the culture around the language, that they are putting so much effort into learning. You are part of what makes their language inquisition become more real, grounded in intercultural interaction. As you get to know culture in the US and specifically culture on your university's campus more during your Fulbright grant, you will see that you equally have the chance to share your own cultural background.
Fulbright and IIE as well as the university or college you work and study at also offer workshops and networking opportunities. There is much to learn, and much to share during your time as a Fulbrighter in the US. Be open, reach out, get in touch with students and professors, share your thoughts and ideas, and don't be shy to make an impact, to engage in discourse and activities, and you will have a great experience!