60 Years OeAD: It was my dream to see the Alps ...

23. September 2021 OeAD60School
Vier junge Studierende
“weltweit unterrichten” (“teaching worldwide”) – language as a gateway to the world

Language assistants have the possibility to gain their first teaching experience in Austria or abroad with weltweitunterrichten.at. Language assistants assist teachers in the classroom and work closely with them. Their support is intended to motivate the pupils to speak the language. They provide country-specific insights and thus arouse the pupils’ interest in Austria abroad. In addition to teaching vocabulary and the language the incomings provide support in the classroom by conveying impressions of other countries and bring internationality into the Austrian classrooms.

“I fell in love with Austria”

Dusty Keim (USA): “In my last year at university in the USA my German professor recommended that I participate in the USTA exchange programme. I thought “Why not?” It has always been my dream to see the Alps, improve my German language skills and visit Europe. When I was accepted I was so excited. However, I had never been to Europe before – neither on a holiday nor to study. I had never travelled by train before. I had no idea what to expect in Austria. Originally my plan was to stay in Austria for a year and then return to the US to finish my master's degree there.

I then spent two years teaching at the KPH Edith Stein and at Meinhardinum grammar school in Stams, Tyrol. I made friends with my pupils and colleagues and learned a lot about the Austrian school system. In Austria foreign language teaching is taken seriously. In my experience it is not like that in the US. It has been an honour and a pleasure to play a part in foreign language teaching here in Austria.

My favourite memory of this exciting time is the graduation ball and the farewell party for the graduates. I have made friends for life and a home in Austria. My plans have changed completely in the last two years and I am grateful for “taking the leap” – as we say in English – with “weltweit unterrichten” and the OeAD. After my master's degree in Austria I hope to be able to teach. Education and cultural exchange are very important in today’s world and I want to help others exploit their potential. I plan to stay here in Austria. I can recommend the language assistance programme and weltweitunterrichten.at. If you have the chance, you should do it. It could change your life!”

Author: Dusty Keim

Dusty Keim currently studies English and American Studies at the University of Innsbruck.

“weltweit unterrichten” is a mobility programme of Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research (BMBWF). It includes the language assistance programme, which is implemented by the OeAD. www.weltweitunterrichten.at