“Teaching English in Germany will give me the opportunity to experience first-hand a language and culture that has become my passion,” said Bennett, who has served as a senator and president with the Linfield German Club.
The Forest Grove native will put her economics and German degree to work, teaching at a high school geared toward students interested in careers in business and economics. “The school is a perfect fit,” she said.
She hopes to broaden her understanding of German culture while sharing her perspective on American culture, and wants to give her students an opportunity to break through American stereotypes.
Europe is a long ways from where she started. Bennett had never been out of the Pacific Northwest when she first boarded a plane for Austria as part of a Study Abroad program at Linfield. Traveling abroad, she said, helped her find her true self.
“Foreign language acquisition doesn’t come overnight,” said the Linfield graduating senior, who believes in using a wide array of teaching techniques, including conversation partners, group interactions and outside activities. “A classroom is not always the best learning environment.”
She hopes to establish an extracurricular American Club, where students can learn about American history, culture and tradition in a relaxed atmosphere.
She also wants to give something back to her host country by serving as a volunteer in the local community. Whenever someone adds to her life she thinks of the film “Pay It Forward” and the quote that gave the movie its title, “When someone does you a big favor, don’t pay it back … pay it forward.” Bennett views her teaching assistantship in Germany as an opportunity to pay forward the gift her teachers have given her.
Bennett has been a member of local and national honor societies, a member of the Global Action Club, and an active participant with Greenfield, a student environmental organization at Linfield.
“Ashley is one of 20 Linfield College graduating seniors who have been selected for Fulbright grants since 1999, with four of these students graduating this year,” said Deborah Olsen, competitive scholarships advisor.
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 other countries. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. The program operates in more than 155 countries worldwide.