Kimmy Freeman
Graduate of 2007, Communication and German
Fulbright year in Göppingen, Germany, 2007-2008
Entering Denison as a college freshman, I never would have imagined that I would be spending a year in Germany after graduation.  The idea of starting a new life just 7 hours from where I grew up was itself difficult to grasp; however, my 4 years at Denison and particularly my experience in the German Department allowed me to see the world of possibilities that exist far beyond the familiar.  Since September 2007 I have been living just outside of Stuttgart, Germany working as a Fulbright Teaching Assistant. 
As a Fulbrighter, I assist with grades 5, 6, 9, 11, and 13 to encourage an interest in the English language and American culture and a general compassion for international relations.  Since nearly all German students already have an idea of what life in the US is like as seen in films and magazines, I am responsible for providing an accurate picture of American life and articulating the values that actually drive our culture.  My role in the classroom is thus to simply provide pictures, recipes, maps, stories, and explanations of terms that can't be found in any dictionary.  Sharing such familiar experiences as Thanksgiving traditions, Christmas recipes and the process of the Presidential elections incites an incredible curiosity that makes my role in the classroom valuable and engaging. 
For the older students I also established an "English Club" to discuss a range of cultural issues and allow them to fine tune their English skills simultaneously.  Though I rarely teach lessons entirely on my own, I spend a great deal of time tutoring students both one-on-one and in groups after the school day is through. 
I also have a great deal of personal time, in which I have been able to travel with friends (both German and American) to places such as Munich, Berlin, Heidelberg and many more.  When I'm not on my way to explore a new city, I live in a Wohngemeinschaft in the small town of Esslingen with 3 roommates who have helped me improve my German significantly and made me feel at home despite the significant distance.  My full immersion in German culture has been life-altering and much more rewarding than I ever could have anticipated.  Being in this amazing place has allowed me to see that each culture has its own unique identity, each language its own character, and each new city its own beauty.  I hope to maintain a strong connection to Germany for the rest of my life and am extremely grateful for all that I have experienced this year!   
Kimmy Freeman, German Fulbrighter 2007-2008