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Matt Knoth: US English Teaching Assistant


Knoth writes, “I am a US English Teaching Assistant (USTA) through the Austrian-American Educational Commission (AAEC), which also administers the Fulbright Program in Austria

For eight months (from October 2014 to May 2015), I have been placed in Linz, Upper Austria, the third largest city in Austria. I work at two business high schools across from Johannes Kepler Universität, one that focuses on management and finance and another that concentrates on hotel administration and tourism. It has brought me much joy to serve as an English teaching assistant and to help my students (ages 16-20) refine their spoken and written English. My experience has been rewarding and exploratory both in- and outside the classroom. Each day in the classroom provides a different set of challenges whether it involves motivating students to take interest in a less-than-fascinating topic or helping them to diversify their vocabulary. Learning a language will inevitably involve mistakes. I find it essential to lightheartedly laugh at some of those mistakes in order to keep class lively.”

“The USTA program offers a fair amount of free time, which has allowed me to explore some new interests, such as Swedish. I have also had the time of my life exploring the extraordinary culture and alpine landscapes of Austria. I feel fortunate to be able to immerse myself in German-speaking Austria with the opportunity to gain teaching experience. As a recent college graduate,this program has been nothing but welcoming and reflective as I figure out where life will lead me next.”

The USTA attempts to:
“Provide college graduates from the United States with once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to work as secondary school teaching assistants in communities all over Austria. In addition to serving as valuable linguistic models in classroom English instruction, US teaching assistants are also valuable resources for first-hand information about the ‘American way of life’ and informal representatives of the United States. In this capacity, they contribute substantially to the promotion of mutual understanding between the peoples of the United States of America and the Republic of Austria.”