German and English major Rosa Canales ‘20 has been named a Fulbright ETA finalist for Germany. ETA programs place Fulbrighters in classrooms abroad to provide assistance to the local English teachers. ETAs help teach English language while serving as cultural ambassadors for the U.S.

Canales notes:

“I have always been fascinated with language and language learning, with discovering patterns in words and how those patterns create meaning, I recently ended my junior year studying at Universität Heidelberg in Heidelberg, Germany, an experience funded by a DAAD scholarship.

“I boarded the plane to Frankfurt, confident my years of language learning would automatically translate to my initial success in a foreign country, yet this thought was naive. Instead, I was transplanted from the carefully ordered language structure of a university classroom into the chaos of a kitchen filled with 21 native German speakers, where unfamiliar words buzzed past me from every direction, like pesky gnats, evading my attempts to whack them down with a German-English Wörterbuch.

“With the help of my German roommates, I began to understand the intricacies of patterns larger than just grammar and words, but of culture as well.”

She adds:

“My three years as a peer German tutor for beginning and middle-level German students at Denison has allowed me to put into practice some of the techniques I believe would be most beneficial to aiding in language learning. The best learning occurs when students are engaged and interested in a topic. To this end, I believe incorporating contemporary culture through media such as videos, audio clips, newspaper articles, and podcasts would both stimulate engagement and learning.

“I have continued to feel the personal impact of teaching and mentoring others, first as a swim instructor and then later working as a peer German tutor, Big Sister’s mentor, and orientation leader. Especially as an orientation leader, I felt this same uncertainty as a I entered an unfamiliar role, yet soon found myself able to empathize with my mentees’ simultaneous eagerness for and nervousness of the college experience, where our enthusiasm fostered each other’s.”

April 28, 2020