Friday, April 12th, 2019
Celina High School grad selected Fulbright Scholar
By Tom Stankard
CELINA - A Celina High School alumnus has been named a Fulbright Scholar and will spend a year in the Netherlands working as a teacher's assistant as part of the scholarship program.
David Giesige, 25, will graduate with honors in May from The Ohio State University and will spend the 2019-2020 school year abroad, assisting with high school classes and studying the Dutch high school education system. Giesige said he hopes the experience will make him a better teacher.
Fulbright Scholarships offer more than 1,900 students annually an opportunity to study, research or teach abroad. The international exchange program is sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to foster bilateral relationships in which citizens and governments of other countries work together to meet shared needs, according to the scholarship's website.
The possibility of becoming an educator didn't cross Giesige's mind until he shadowed a teacher as part of the application process for the Peace Corps.
"I fell in love with it in 20 minutes," he said, adding the experience inspired him to stop the application process and instead major in education at Ohio State.
Giesige, who graduated from Celina High School in 2015, said he first dropped out of college because he couldn't decide on a major. He then tried several career choices but couldn't find one that felt right to him.
Being a teacher is the most fulfilling career he can think of, he said. "I will play a huge role in my students' lives and helping them transition into adulthood," he said, joking that English is the perfect subject for him to teach because he never excelled in math.
"I love English," he added. "People are very narrative and our words make us individuals."
His academic advisor suggested he apply for the Fulbright Scholarship and Giesige thought it would be the perfect opportunity to expand his horizons.
"I owe it to my students to push my own boundaries as much as possible, and this seemed like a good avenue to do that," he said.
The application process was brutal, he said, as it involved a series of interviews and essays.
"It felt like I was getting picked apart but it was worth it in the end," he said.
Recipients are chosen based on their academic success, leadership capabilities and desire to foster cultural relationships, Giesige said. He will work as an English teaching assistant at ROC Van Twente in Almelo, a city with a population of 72,000 in the eastern part of the Netherlands. When not in the classroom, he will research the Dutch vocational education system and instruction for immigrants who don't speak Dutch.
Vocational schools often have a stigma, Giesige said, and he wants to learn while overseas how to address this stigma with his future students.
"I want to impact as many students as I can and help them find their career path. If I only see college as a way to success, I'm not going to reach several students," he said.
The Dutch have attempted to integrate an influx of refugees and non-native speakers into the education system, Giesige said.
"I want to find ways to better integrate students into the U.S. education system," he said. "Columbus is facing a similar rapid influx of non-native speakers, and this will be a good way of studying that situation."
For more information about the Fulbright Scholar program, visit us.fulbrightonline.org.