Ethan Koopman, whose German heritage has always made him feel connected to the German language, has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Germany for the 2016-2017 academic year.
Koopman, who is from Meadow Grove, graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in August with majors in mathematics and German and a minor in physics. He previously studied in Germany through UNL’s Deutsch in Deutschland program.
While at UNL, he won several scholarships, including the Christian Lieding Scholarship to study abroad; and he was active in Lincöln, the UNL German club. Since graduating from UNL, he has worked as a professional tutor at Northeast Community College in Norfolk.
While in Germany, Koopman plans to hone his teaching skills.
“I hope to develop my own teaching philosophy through my Fulbright experience, taking from my own experience as a student and my time as an English teaching assistant,” he said.
During his previous study in Germany, Koopman volunteered as a grade school English assistant for fourth- through sixth-graders. He used pictures from home, such as images of farm life in Nebraska, to help the students learn new words. He also assisted with the school’s English production of “Treasure Island,” helping the students learn and understand their lines.
During his Fulbright teaching assistantship, Koopman said he hopes to engage with his students and the wider community by volunteering with a similar theater production at the school where he will be placed. He also plans to become involved with a local church, to find more volunteer opportunities and to deepen his connection with individuals in the community.
After returning from Germany, Koopman plans to pursue a master’s degree in one of his areas of interest – math, math education or foreign language education. In the future, he envisions himself returning to his hometown to become a teacher and to re-establish the German foreign language club at his old high school. He also can see himself teaching in Germany, and said hopes to foster lifetime connections while he is there.
“I hope to establish relationships with teachers and others in Germany in order to work or teach in the country someday,” he said.
Established in 1946 and funded by the U.S. Department of State, the Fulbright Program is designed to foster understanding between the United States and other countries. The U.S. Student Fulbright program gives recent graduates, graduate students and young professionals the opportunity to conduct research, study or teach in one of 160 designated countries. Students such as Koopman are awarded the Fulbright on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields.