Saturday, June 30, 2012


Hi, I’m Jessica. I’ll be a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Germany next year, which is quite possibly the most exciting and most frightening thing I’ve ever done. Somehow my native language has become my ticket to spend ten months living in another country. I’m still in the preparation stages of finding housing and returning paperwork, but my plane flight has been booked and there’s no going back.

I studied English literature in college, with a German minor. Notably missing from both those fields is any formal training in education. Unlike several of my former apartment-mates, I’ve never been a student teacher or worked in a high-school classroom. I’ve done English tutoring and I’ve helped in adult ESL classes, but I feel woefully unprepared for my new job. Thankfully the Fulbright Commission knows they’re not getting education majors and offers a three-day orientation and practice time, where I’m told we split up into groups of four or so and give a mini lesson. I’ve warned the butterflies in my stomach to watch out for that and maybe pack up before they’re kicked out, but they’ve been blithely ignoring me.

My current project is sending a bunch of emails out to prospective landlords and apartment-mates, in the hopes that one of them will want me to live in their apartment. As is true everywhere, the city I’ll be living in has some good places and some bad places. Prior to a warning from a (very helpful) former Fulbright ETA, I was looking for housing in the bad part of town. Now I’m not anymore, which is unfortunate because most of the cheap housing is there. I imagine not getting mugged is worth fifty euro or so, but no one from the nice neighborhoods is returning my emails.

Maybe I seem shady.