Turning the tables

CSB graduate and ESL teacher must learn new language working in Greece

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July 13, 2015

By Megan Flynn ’17

Stella Fredrickson '14

This time, the tables will be turned on Stella Fredrickson.

She's going to be the one learning a new language. 

Fredrickson, a 2014 graduate from the College of Saint Benedict with a degree in English, has received a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) award to teach English in Greece for the 2015-16 academic year. She is one of five College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University graduates to receive an award from the Fulbright Program for the 2015-16 academic year. 

Teaching English and learning Greek at the same time will give her a unique perspective on language that she can apply to her teaching. She served in Chanhassen, Minnesota, as an English as a second language long-term substitute teacher this past year. 

"I'm really looking forward to putting myself in a reverse role that my students would typically be in. I think it will make me a better teacher because I will have lived the experience that my students are having," said Fredrickson, who leaves for Greece at the end of August.

The Fulbright ETA program places U.S. students as English teaching assistants in schools and universities overseas. The program improves foreign students' English abilities and knowledge of the U.S., while enhancing the ETAs own language skills and knowledge of the host country. ETAs may also pursue individual study/research plans in addition to their teaching responsibilities. 

Fredrickson, who has always wanted to teach overseas, had her first abroad experience in the fall of 2013 when she studied abroad in Galway, Ireland, for a semester. Since then, she has been looking for opportunities to travel. 

However, Fredrickson originally had her sights set somewhere other than Greece. 

"I was originally thinking China," Fredrickson said. "In one of my classes we had Chinese students who wanted to be teachers visit Saint Ben's. I got really close to them and got to learn about where they come from. That experience made me want to pursue teaching abroad." 

Although Fredrickson's experience with Chinese students inspired her to teach abroad, she eventually decided Greece was the best choice for her. She is looking forward to her classroom experience and immersing herself in the culture. 

"I knew I could get a lot of student-teacher interaction in Greece," Fredrickson said. "Every program is a little bit different and Greece had me working in the classroom. Another component of Greece is it has a forensics club, which is like a speech club and I could work with students within that program." 

While Fredrickson is excited to teach English, she says she is nervous to learn Greek. However, the Fulbright program in Greece provides free language lessons for Fredrickson while she is overseas. 

"I'm nervous because I'm not that good at learning a language, but I'm excited to try," Fredrickson said.