The US Teaching Assistantship (USTA) position I was awarded in 2008–09 fundamentally shaped my career as an academic art historian. The experience ignited my passion for teaching, helped me acquire German-language fluency, and instilled in me a global perspective on education. My instruction and research of art history have also been informed by my placement in Vienna, which immersed me in the art and culture of Austria’s capital.
As a US teaching assistant, I delighted in the opportunity to be an American cultural ambassador as I shared information about the United States with my Austrian high-school students. The fall of 2008 was an exciting time to be an American in Austria, especially since we elected President Barack Obama that November. I was thrilled to share my excitement for our new president with the Austrians, who were also enthusiastic about the election.
Vienna has been a very special place for me since my junior year at Wellesley College in 2006–07 when I was an Austauschstudentin at the University of Vienna. I would not have been able to return to the city and the friends I made during my exchange year had it not been for the USTA program. Teaching in Vienna helped me strengthen my personal and professional relationships in Austria, which have enriched my life.