Ohio Wesleyan University senior Mark Mandych has earned a highly competitive Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program grant to spend 10 months teaching English in Germany.
A resident of East Aurora, New York, Mandych is an English literature and German studies double major and a philosophy minor. He will begin his Fulbright Program teaching assignment in September.
“Aside from teaching, I’m looking forward to meeting people and making contacts,” said Mandych, who plans to enroll in graduate school to study German translation and interpretation following his Fulbright Program experience.
At Ohio Wesleyan, Mandych spent a semester studying at the University of Salzburg in Austria, and was inspired by the immersive experience.
“During my semester abroad at Salzburg University, I volunteered as an English teaching assistant at a local high school to help the students prepare for the English language portion of the Matura, the national matriculation exam,” Mandych told the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, which awarded his grant. “I realized that, although the students had plenty of book knowledge, they had never had the opportunity to hone their conversational skills – and it appeared they had already learned all they could from standardized worksheets.
“So, when the formal exercises were finished, I initiated conversation on topics ranging from popular culture to student life to politics with the aim of expanding not just their speaking abilities but also their knowledge of daily life in America,” he said. “This experience in Austria reinforces my wish to perform similar work, post-graduation, in Germany. …
“In college,” Mandych continued, “I have realized that classroom instruction only goes so far; in order to become the best language instructor possible, I have to understand the people and culture behind the language.”
In addition to studying in Austria as an OWU student, Mandych also participated in a Travel-Learning Course that allowed him to visit Argentina as part of a “Society, Politics, and Social Movements” class taught by Paul Dean, assistant professor of sociology-anthropology.
Mandych said Dean and OWU faculty members Erin Flynn (philosophy), Thomas Wolber (German), and, especially Mark Mitton-Fry (Fulbright Program adviser) all helped to guide him in his successful grant application.
Also at Ohio Wesleyan, Mandych is a member of the Modern Foreign Languages Student Board and senior editorial assistant at The Historian, one of the largest scholarly history journals in the United States. In 2015, he earned the university’s Ernest F. Amy Prize as OWU’s most outstanding junior English major.
Information for this story was provided by Ohio Wesleyan University.