Did you know that Amity Institute has been an organization for almost 60 years? Because of our long and vibrant history, we absolutely love connecting with alumni, to hear their stories and see how their Amity experience still impacts their lives.
Today on the Amity Blog, we talk with an Amity Alum from 2016, Jennifer, who shares about her time in Alaska! Check out the story below!
1. Where and what year were you an Amity Intern? I was an Amity Intern at Rilke Schule German School of Arts and Sciences in Anchorage, Alaska from February until June of 2016. It was one of the best parts of my life, and I found a home away from home in Alaska!
2. What was the hardest adjustment you made while living in the United States? What was the most surprising thing once you arrived? It was not too surprising, but it was great to see moose walking across the street or nearby the street in Anchorage. My host family also welcomed me very warmly and I had a great start in my American experience. In Alaska, especially in Anchorage, nature and the city are perfectly combined and it is the perfect location for anybody who loves hiking, skiing and more outdoor activities.
3. What was your favorite part of your Amity experience? What did you share about your culture? I cannot say that I have only one favorite thing that comes to my mind when I think about my Amity experience. The teachers at my school gave me a lot of advice on my teaching skills and I learned so much about myself in the classroom. Furthermore, I could now also think about teaching younger students (K-4) than the ones I will teach in my future teaching career (5-12). In Kindergarten, I made Easter bunnies with the children, for example and we sung many German songs. I also had a great host family. We shared so many cultural activities and cooked some German meals together. For my eldest host sister, I brought a CD with German pop songs that were popular at that time.
4. What about your experience provided the most professional growth for you? I now know that I could also work with younger children from Kindergarten to 4th grade. I also had the opportunity to teach a lot myself and could, thus, try many new things in the classroom. However, I learned the most probably when I came to school on one morning and the front office told me that I should take over the second graders for the whole day as their teacher was sick. There was, of course a second teacher in there, who knew the kids better than I did, but, in the beginning, I was still a bit unsure if I was doing everything right. However, during the day, I learned what methods worked best and which didn’t with my students. This definitely helped me to gain more confidence in my teaching skills.
5. What are you doing now? How did your time interning help lead to your current career/your growth personally and professionally? I have just finished the first part of my state exams here in Germany. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, I haven’t been able to write my state exams in history yet. As soon as I have finished them, I will start my Referendariat in September at school, which is the last part of my teaching training. I think that I gained a lot more confidence in my teaching skills through the Amity experience, and I am very happy that I was able to be part of it.
6. What is one piece of advice that you have for a new Amity Intern? Just be open for any new experience. If you are open you can have the best time of your life just as I did. Try to be friendly and helpful in school, and try to adapt as best as possible to your host family. Then, you will not have to face any difficulties during your Amity experience!