Taylor Lenze offered two Fulbright Scholarships

July 26, 2016

Recent graduate Taylor Lenze will travel to Austria this fall on a Fulbright Scholarship.

When in elementary school, Taylor Lenze became intrigued by the German language.

To her, it was something different—most of her classmates wanted to learn Spanish. Lenze said she liked the way German words were pronounced.

“It was the language that sounded the coolest,” said Lenze. “I was so into it that my dad bought me a German picture book that we’d read at home.”

She enjoyed learning about the German language and culture, but said she didn’t think about traveling there until college.

“Before that, I’d been to Canada and Pennsylvania. I didn’t realize that it would be possible for me to travel much, especially internationally,” Lenze said.

While at UM-Dearborn, she had professors—namely Lecturer Liana McMillian and Professor Jackie Vansant—who encouraged her to gain educational experiences abroad.

And when Lenze shared that she didn’t think it was financially feasible, they also introduced her to applying for traveling scholarships and grants.

“They changed my life. Until then, I had no idea that there were so many possibilities out there for me,” she said. “I thought travel was for wealthy people to go on cruises. It didn’t cross my mind that you could travel for education and research and there was financial help out there for you to do it.”

And that encouragement led to Lenze landing not one, but two Fulbright Scholarships.

The 2016 CASL graduate, who majored in English and minored in German, was offered English Teaching Assistant (ETA) program grants in high school-level equivalent classrooms, one in Germany and another in Austria.

“Taylor is an ideal candidate for the teaching assistantship position and it is not at all surprising that she received offers to work as a teaching assistant in both Germany and Austria,” said Vansant, who has known Lenze since Lenze’s first year on campus. “She has been well prepared through her course work at UM-D and shown how well she can work with students as a tutor in the language lab. Taylor is creative, flexible, open to new cultures, and eager to share information about her own culture.”

Lenze said she chose to take the ETA position in Vienna, Austria, because of Vansant’s stories of the location and a previous experience with the German-speaking city.

“I only stopped for a weekend on my way from Hungary to Germany, but I immediately fell in love with Vienna,” said Lenze, who traveled to Germany on a previous educational grant. “I saw why Jackie (Vansant) spends so much time there. When I walked around the city, they have book carts all over! In the center of town, there’s a free opera broadcast and there are museums everywhere. To me, it was magical— a magical place where I could speak in German.”

Leaving in September for her new adventure, Lenze will be in Vienna for nearly a year. She said she will miss her family and friends, but is looking forward to this new chapter in her life.

“Growing up I wanted to be an English teacher. I just happened to fall in love with the German language,” Lenze said. “Now I get to teach English, use German and be in an enchanting place. It’s what I went to school for—and it’s all come together so perfectly.”

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