The [US] Teaching Assistantship I was awarded in 2008–2009 was fundamental in shaping my career as an academic, with a focus on German and Austrian 20th century art history. The award provided me with the opportunity to immerse myself in the Austrian culture, and to acquire a fluency in the German language, which has been essential to my scholarly research. It was also the first teaching experience I had, and it incited within me a passion for the profession, that I have since been able to cultivate as an adjunct lecturer in Art History at Brooklyn College.
As a [US] teaching assistant, I delighted in the opportunity to be a cultural ambassador in Vienna as I shared information about the United States with my high-school aged Austrian students. The Fall of 2008 was a very exciting time to be an American in Austria, especially as we elected President Barack Obama to office that November. I was thrilled to share my excitement for our new President with the Austrians, who also were enthusiastic about the election.
Since my junior year of Wellesley College in 2006–2007, when I was an Austauschstudentin at the Universität Wien, Vienna has been a very special place for me. 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 Fulbright Teaching program. The year I spent... in Vienna provided me with the opportunity to strengthen my personal and professional connections in Austria, which not only have endured since then, but also have been extremely rewarding.
I cannot imagine what my life would be like now had I not participated in the [program]. It is an experience that is not only fundamental to one's personal growth, but also to the development of our global community, as we foster citizens with an international understanding and perspective.
Vanessa S. Troiano is a graduate of Wellesley College with a degree in German. She taught at a BHAK and BHASCH in Vienna as an US Teaching Assistant in 2008–09.