Grek ’12 Receives Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Germany

April 25th, 2012 by Nikolas Markantonatos


Image by John Buckingham

Heidi Grek ’12, of Auburn, Mass., has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Germany, where she will teach English to German high school students. She will also take German literature courses at a local university and volunteer at a nursing home.

This will not be Grek’s first time traveling to Germany. An English major with a German minor and a creative writing concentration, she lived in Germany for one year when she was 9 years old. Her father, Predrag Cicovacki, is a professor of philosophy and director of Peace and Conflict Studies at Holy Cross, and her family accompanied him during his sabbatical to Germany in 1998-99. The one-year stay left a lasting impression on Grek. She returned to Germany in 2010 after receiving a scholarship from the DAAD, the German Academic Exchange Service. Last year, while studying abroad at Oxford University, she spent her monthlong spring break studying at the Goethe Institute in Gottingen, Germany.

Also at Oxford, Grek pursued her passion for studying German by taking tutorials in German literature and translation, which sparked the idea for her senior year honors thesis comparing Edgar Allan Poe to the German writer E.T.A. Hoffman.

The experience Grek had in Germany at the age of 9 also heightened her cultural awareness, and inspired her to volunteer as an English teacher both in the United States and abroad to students from different countries. She has taught adult immigrants in Worcester through Student Programs for Urban Development, the College’s umbrella service organization, for the last several years; taught students ages 9 to 14 in Bosnia through Builders for Peace in June 2009; tutored a young girl from Pakistan in England last year, and taught kindergarteners in China along with seven other Oxford students last summer.

Grek is a member of both the College Honors Program and English Honors Program, and has taken part in the College’s fall and spring break immersion programs.

When she returns from Germany, she hopes to attain a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing or attend graduate school in English literature, with the goal of becoming a writer, editor or publisher.

Each year approximately 1,000 college students are awarded grants through the Fulbright Program, the U.S. government’s flagship program in international educational exchange. Fulbright grants are made to U.S. citizens and nationals of other countries for a variety of educational activities, primarily university lecturing, advanced research, graduate study and teaching in elementary and secondary schools. Since the program’s inception in 1946, more than 300,000 participants—chosen for their leadership potential—have had the opportunity to observe each other’s political, economic and cultural institutions.

Read about this year’s other Holy Cross Fulbright Grant recipients: Joseph Cavanaugh ’12, Mattea Cumoletti ’12, Caroline Galiatsos ’12, Daniel Geiger ’11, Eliza Gettel ’12, Maria Jaroszewicz ’12, Jaeyeon Lee ’12, Courtney Lesoon ’12, George Matthews ’12 and Peter Renehan ’12.

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