Thursday, April 15, 2010

Ralph Neumayer from Austria Will Join us Next Year as Fulbright Scholar and Teaching Assistant

   My name is Ralph Neumayer and I am currently in my seventh semester of my studies and teacher training at the University of Vienna.  I would describe myself as a self-confident, flexible, dependable, and initiative person with facility as a motivating character. I think I can further describe myself as a communicative person who establishes contacts quickly and likes to communicate with others and pass on my knowledge. Further, I can be characterized as an outgoing character who displays no shyness or fear of public appearances. Thanks to this feature of my personality, I already gained experience as presenter, singer and soloist at numerous school concerts during my high-school days. The absolute highlight (and embarrassment), however, was my participation in the casting show “Starmania”, as a 16-year old.
   My passion for music stems from my childhood days when my great-grandmother used to sing with me everyday, while I spent time with her, since my parents were at work. Thus I also decided to attend a high school with a specialization in musical theory and practice. The school’s production and performance of musicals (Hair, Grease, West Side Story, Carmina Burana, etc.) gave us pupils a chance to show our music skills in public. Today, I still enjoy it very much to play my acoustic or electronic guitar and to jam with other friends, whenever I feel exhausted from workday and need to recharge my batteries.
   When I am not studying for university or playing my guitar, I probably can be found near a soccer ground. Since I am the son of a very successful soccer player and Austrian Soccer Cup winner, it is not overly surprising that I am playing soccer myself. In this context, I have to mention, however, that I am not as serious about soccer as my father once was, but regard it more or less as a pleasant leisure time activity. Besides all that, I also like to participate in football drills together with my friends.
   Already during my days in elementary school I discovered a fondness for books. At that time Thomas Brezina was probably most gratified by that fact, since I read more than one hundred of his books between the age of six and twelve and therefore provided him with substantial income during that time span. Even after I had quit reading stories about the “Knickerbocker-Bande”, my passion for books and literature remained and was fostered by my German and English teachers during my high-school days. Therefore selecting a subject to study was also a rather easy decision. However, while I really enjoyed studying English, German did not meet my expectations, since my studies in German consisted of Middle High German grammar and the essential aspects concerning bibliographic citations. For this reason, I changed my second major from German to History after one semester – a decision which I have not repented until today.
    For me studying history is a bit like reading a huge piece of literature which, however, has really happened. I really enjoy to investigate evidence from the perspective of various key players of the past and to reflect about why people thought and acted as they did. In addition my special areas of interest (American history and cultural studies) have even enabled me to establish a connection between my two majors.
   I believe that apart from the qualification, skills and competencies I have acquired during my teacher training, my passion for the United States and my attitude of being absolutely determined to achieve my goal of studying at an American college or university make me a suitable candidate for the position of FLTA. Whenever I read a text passage somehow connected to the United States or whenever I watch a College Football or NFL game on Saturdays or Sundays, I suddenly have an irresistible urge to pack my bags and fly to America. Therefore I hope that my application will be accepted and that this time next year I will find myself as a German teaching assistant in the United States of America.

Ralph Neumayer