Welch selected for Fulbright award

Keith Welch '12Linfield alumnus Keith Welch of Vancouver, Wash., will serve as a teaching assistant in Germany after receiving an award from the Fulbright Program.

Welch, a 2012 graduate who spent a semester studying in Vienna, Austria, as a Linfield student, will now head to Germany under the English Teaching Assistant (ETA) program. He will serve as a teaching assistant in a German secondary school, assisting with conversation practice and American culture topics. He also plans to volunteer with a nongovernmental organization or nonprofit to work with immigrant or refugee populations.

As a German studies and international relations double major at Linfield, Welch was interested in languages and cultural differences. His interests grew during the semester he spent in Austria. He also had the opportunity to travel to Germany, which left him wanting to learn more about German society and culture.

In addition to working within and exploring German culture, Welch will also expand his experience working with refugees and immigrants. He spent the past year working with the Vancouver nonprofit, Lutheran Community Services Northwest, a refugee resettlement agency, as part of AmeriCorps.

“I help refugees from Myanmar, Iraq and the former Soviet Union with employment-related issues,” he said. “I teach job-readiness classes and help with resumes and job placement. It has been a spectacular experience.”

Welch’s interest in immigrant populations was piqued while studying in Vienna, where he found the topic just as contentious as in the U.S. He wrote his senior thesis on immigration policy. This opportunity will allow him to work with people firsthand in Germany, and he looks forward to learning more.

Welch hopes to attend graduate school in international relations and pursue a career in the foreign service or as an immigration attorney.

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.

The ETA program places U.S. students as English teaching assistants in schools or universities overseas, thus improving foreign students’ English language abilities and knowledge of the United States while enhancing their own language skills and knowledge of the host country. ETAs may also pursue individual research plans or community service activities in addition to their teaching responsibilities.