St. John’s College senior Austin Xavier Volz has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship. Volz plans to pursue questions about how a second language is learned and how advanced students accomplish fluency in speaking and writing another language.
Volz, a native of Durango, Colorado, graduated from St. John’s College – Santa Fe on May 23rd. Upon the completion of his Fulbright assistantship, Volz plans to enroll in the University of Hawaii’s masters program in second language acquisition.
“Each time I go abroad I develop an entirely new perspective on myself. The new location and culture broaden my experience and also challenge my basic cultural assumptions. I think that integration into a foreign culture is best accomplished by speaking the country’s language. A foreign language is useful for getting around – but more importantly for truly connecting with the local citizens and achieving the self-expansion that occurs through travel,” Volz wrote in his application.
The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The Fulbright Program has provided approximately 294,000 participants—chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential—with the opportunity to study, teach, and conduct research and exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.
“Aside from being thrilled with the honor of being awarded a Fulbright, I am pleased that I will be fluent in German within a year and that my future academic plans are secured,” said Volz.
During his tenure at St. John’s College, Volz has demonstrated both community leadership and academic achievement as a recipient of an Ariel Internship Award and the Community Scholar Award, given in recognition of constructive services to the community, and as a German Conversation Group Leader with students and faculty.
St. John's College President Michael P. Peters announced, “We’re enormously pleased that Austin Volz’s remarkable leadership and international commitment have been recognized with this fellowship. He has been an outstanding student at St. John’s College, and, with this recognition, we’re now able to share him with the larger world.”
After completing his graduate studies, Volz plans to teach German and create teaching materials for German, with the aim of improving the quality of foreign language education in the United States.
The English Teaching Assistantships (ETA) Program, an element of the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, places U.S. students as English-teaching assistants in schools or universities overseas, thus improving foreign students' English-language abilities and knowledge of the United States while increasing the Fulbright students' language skills and knowledge of their host countries. ETAs may also pursue individual study and research in addition to their teaching responsibilities.
Since its establishment in 1946 under legislation introduced by the late Senator J. William Fulbright, of Arkansas, the Fulbright Program has provided opportunities for approximately 294,000 people from the United States and from countries around the world to observe each others' political, economic, educational, and cultural institutions, to exchange ideas, and to embark on joint ventures of importance to the general welfare of the world's inhabitants. The program operates in more than 155 countries worldwide.
For more information about the Fulbright Program or the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, please visit the organization's website at www.fulbright.state.gov.