Krista Shaw, Contributing Writer
Senior Michaela Sobrak-Seaton was recently named the 37th University of Dallas student to receive the prestigious Fulbright Scholarship. After her work in college and a nearly year-long application process, she will be spending a year teaching English in Germany.
Graduating UD with a major in Philosophy and a German concentration, Sobrak-Seaton believes she is ready for the opportunities ahead.
“My German courses with Dr. Jacob-Ivan Eidt did not just teach me the mechanics of a language, they gave me the opportunity to study disciplines such as history, literature, and philosophy through the perspective of the German language and culture,” Sobrak-Seaton said. “After spending the last few years here at UD exploring and formulating ideas in my philosophy classes, and learning to communicate these ideas through a foreign language in my German classes, I feel well prepared to guide my German students in developing and expressing their own ideas in English.”
The application process involves submitting essays and letters of recommendation in the fall, followed by a panel interview and then application review by the Department of State and various Fulbright committees.
“Perhaps the most difficult part of the application was preparing focused and compelling essays that adequately conveyed my purpose in applying for the grant,” Sobrak-Seaton said.
The Fulbright grant will give Sobrak-Seaton the opportunity to return to Germany, the country of her father’s birth, which she visited over her ten-day break during UD’s Rome semester and where she spent a month last summer studying German and German literature at the Catholic University of Eichstätt (Germany). The grant will pay for her travel to and from Germany, health insurance and a monthly stipend for living expenses. Though she is still awaiting precise details on the location of her school assignment, Sobrak-Seaton is excited to be sharing her gifts with others.
“I began learning German in high school, and was immediately taken with the exquisite depth of expressiveness afforded by the language. I hope to give German students the opportunity for the same sort of experience with the English language,” Sobrak-Seaton said. “I’m really looking forward to spending time with German students and experiencing everyday life in Germany. This year will give me the opportunity to hone my language skills and to participate in the German culture, while offering my students the tools to develop a similar appreciation for the English language and English speaking cultures.”
In addition to the opportunities to teach others and expand her own knowledge, Sobrak-Seaton is excited to appear on behalf of her country.
“The Fulbright program really emphasizes the ambassadorial role of its grantees. I will go to Germany as a representative of the United States, and hopefully at the end of the year I will return to my own country able to provide insight into the German culture and language to my fellow Americans,” Sobrak-Seaton said. “I am honored to be a part of the Fulbright program, and highly recommend that other UD students apply for this grant.”