Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Cassandra Bertolini, who will receive a BA in German and a BA in English and creative writing from the University of Iowa this May, is the winner of a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship Award to Germany for 2020-21

Hometown: Green Bay, Wisconsin 
Award: 2020-21 Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship Award to Germany
Degree: BA in German and BA in English and creative writing on the publishing track (double major), minor in translation for global literacy

Could you give me a brief synopsis of what you'll be doing with your Fulbright? 
I will be an English teaching assistant at a secondary school in Germany, helping plan and lead exercises especially focused on promoting intercultural exchange and understanding. Outside the classroom, I will get involved in the community through leading a book club focused on youth literature, or starting a youth literary magazine.

What drew you to this field of study?
While studying English and German at the University of Iowa, I was drawn to literary translation studies as a way of learning and communicating about different cultures. My translation courses then drew me to teach because of the importance of understanding the cultural cues within language when creating a translation. I am interested in encouraging a similar curiosity through teaching about language and the cultural themes within literature. 

How do you envision this will influence your life/future career?
This opportunity to teach abroad will not only help me further develop my German language skills but also my own intercultural awareness as I work with others of various backgrounds and experiences. As a teaching assistant, I know that I will learn just as much from others as I hope they learn from me. It will push me to adapt to completely new situations, be flexible, and try things outside my comfort zone. 

My advice would be to take every opportunity that comes your way in college, even if it seems like something outside your comfort zone. You never know what new experience could become your passion and take you on a completely different path. Take feedback and suggestions with grace and always be on the lookout for how to revise and enhance your writing. Most of all, have faith and confidence in yourself! 

Are there individuals you'd like to thank for their investment in this process?
I'd like to thank those who wrote recommendations for me, Dr. Kirsten Kumpf Baele, Dr. Martin Schaad, Rebecca Hanssens-Reed, and Dr. Waltraud Maierhofer. They were all so willing to support my application and provided great encouragement throughout the process. I'd also like to thank Dr. Karen Wachsmuth and Marie Hoppe for always taking the time to provide feedback that helped me improve my application. 

explore the many funding opportunities available to UI students and alumni 

Students are encouraged to begin their funding searches and applications at least six months to one year in advance.  Schedule an advising appointment with Karen Wachsmuth to discuss your interest in an international fellowship or begin an application (as a UI undergraduate student, graduate student, or alumna/us).