SUNY Oswego student wins scholarships to study in Germany

OSWEGO — The German Academic Exchange Service has awarded SUNY Oswego student Elizabeth de Reeder two scholarships to study in Germany for a year, starting in July.

Elizabeth de Reeder
Elizabeth de Reeder Photo by Phillip Moore

The dual major in German and teaching English to speakers of other languages with a linguistics minor will enroll for two semesters at the Freie Universitat Berlin this fall with a monthly stipend to cover tuition, fees, room, board and other living expenses.

In July, she plans to use a smaller scholarship from the German Academic Exchange Service — a publicly funded organization of higher education institutions in Germany –for a course in Leipzig in teaching German as a foreign language, then take a course in Berlin to further boost her fluency in German.

John Lalande, de Reeder’s adviser for German and chair of modern languages and literatures at SUNY Oswego, sponsored her for the academic-yearlong scholarship, with support from other professors in modern languages, linguistics, education and English.

“This is a very prestigious award, which reflects well on Elizabeth, our high-quality German program here and our campus,” Lalande said.

Academic traveler

De Reeder said she pursues travel/study opportunities whenever she can, including a Congress-Bundestag scholarship she won as a high school student in Mattituck, Long Island, to study for a year in Germany.

During a later summer of travel, de Reeder was taking a course in Prague to become certified to teach English in Eastern Europe when she discovered linguistics.

“The course I took in Prague exposed me to linguistics for the first time, and I was ‘hooked’ — learning about linguistics after studying foreign languages is like meeting the author of your favorite book,” she said. “Linguistics is like the how-to manual for the existence of language, and it had never occurred to me that such a topic even existed.”

After teaching English in a Romanian kindergarten for a semester, she applied to SUNY Oswego.

Future plans include applying in fall for a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship award that would provide a stipend for educators teaching English to speakers of other languages abroad, she said.

“I hope to spend that year working in Latin America, which will help increase my Spanish fluency and also provide me with more cultural experience that will serve as context for me once I’m teaching stateside,” de Reeder said. “After that I hope to spend at least four of the next seven years, as per my TEACH (Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education) grant stipulations, teaching in New York state, and, hopefully, some or all of the remaining three years teaching abroad, possibly in Thailand or Indonesia.”