Regarding both personal and professional growth, I definitely feel like this year as a USTA had a forever-lasting impact on my career. During my time as a USTA, I had one of the best experiences of my life. I got to truly experience alpine life, which helped me in more ways than I can count. Not only did it give me a new relationship with nature, but it also helped me cope through the passing of my father this spring. Being away from home during such a tragedy was not easy, but my fellow USTA friends, my school, and coworkers helped me feel at home and comforted here. After I returned from my trip to the US, I was able to dig deeper into my purpose and why I was in Austria and how important it was that I finish out my assistantship year. This experience helped me grow an insane amount, and I am forever thankful for Fulbright Austria bringing me a new family—even if they’re based 4,300 miles from home.
Michaela Culley majored in German and international studies at Washington & Jefferson College. She was a US teaching assistant in the 2018–19 academic year.