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Penn teacher uses Fulbright Scholarship to study in Germany

Penn instructor Eric Bowers, left, was recently honored by Penn High School principal Sean Galiher for being named a Fulbright Scholar
Penn instructor Eric Bowers, left, was recently honored by Penn High School principal Sean Galiher for being named a Fulbright Scholar

This story was written by CARSON COCQUYT

Penn High School Student Reporter

 

Granting teachers the opportunity explore the world of education outside the United States is very promising. Given that the world offers such a great variety of culture, there is so much new knowledge to be gained abroad.

 

One of the ways an educator can explore and study in an unfamiliar country is through Fulbright Scholarship. This scholarship, which was proposed by Senator J. William Fulbright in 1945, sought to promote international learning for teaching professionals in the U.S.

 

There are more than 3,000 applicants who apply for a Fulbright Scholarship each year, but only just a handful of teaching faculty are awarded with the opportunity of a lifetime to research, study and teach in a country of their choice.

 

Eric Bowers, an AP European and AP U.S. History teacher and tennis coach at Penn High School, was one of the few applicants accepted into the program.

 

Bowers was assigned to visit Bavaria, Germany, and was permitted to study at Regensburg University.

 

Bowers spent a total of four weeks in Europe. Even though the scholarship only funded two weeks of the trip, Bowers decided to head to Europe and week early and stay a week late. By doing this, he was able to visit more countries other than just Germany.

 

During July, Bowers was in and out of countries daily, submerging himself a new culture each few days at a time. Click here to see the full photo gallery on Penn High School’s website.

 

While in Germany, Bowers sat in on presentations, classes, and guest speakers at each level of study in Germany. His task in was to learn from the educators who live and work in Germany, and apply their work into his life back home at Penn.

 

Whenever he had freetime from his studies in the classroom, Bowers said he would, “walk the streets of Germany and get a taste for everything it had to offer. Whether it be visiting schools or local businesses, I saw a new aspect of life everywhere I went.”

 

One of the most eye-opening things Bowers witnessed on his trip was the Syrian Refugee camps located in Germany.

 

“I found it interesting that Germany was fond of welcoming the refugees into the country as they planned to help them assimilate into the population.”

 

It was situations like these that help Bowers realize the culture of Germany has endured great change since the World Wars they were responsible for.

 

Overall, Bowers truly did learn a lot about the system of education in Germany and the cultural life as well. By taking time out of his summer to do this trip, Bowers feels that it was worth it. The amount of knowledge he gained from the countries abroad have helped him understand the world better as a whole.

 

The biggest take-away that Bowers took from his trip was that he learned to accept new strategies of learning teaching in the classroom. Now that Mr. Bowers in back home, he can apply is experience and knowledge into the classroom at Penn High school.