Michelle Diblasio’s big step after May graduation will take her across the world -- to spend almost a year teaching in Austria, thanks to a prestigious award.

For the 2021-22 academic year, Diblasio earned the opportunity through the English Language Teaching Assistantship Program of the Austrian Ministry of Education, Science and Research, which is administered by Fulbright Austria. Graduating in May with dual majors in adolescence education with a concentration in German, and in German language and literature, Diblasio said making it into the select program is a dream scenario.

“I applied for it because it has always been a dream of mine to teach English in a foreign country (particularly German-speaking) and I also want to go back in order to continue improving my own German language skills,” Diblasio said. “I also applied for this program in Austria specifically because I studied for a semester in fall 2019 in Graz, Austria, and absolutely loved the country and culture.”  

Teaching assistants help Austrian students develop linguistic skills that will help them succeed as they grow up. Diblasio also will serve as an informal cultural ambassador and promote mutual understanding between the two countries.

Diblasio will arrive in Austria in September, then help teaching English at a secondary school in Mistelbach, Austria, from October 2021 to May 2022. 

“Upon return from Austria, I plan to teach German back here in the U.S.,” Diblasio said.

Diblasio credits Oswego’s outstanding faculty for making this amazing opportunity possible, particularly her academic advisor, Joanne O'Toole of the curriculum and instruction department, as well as Patrick Schultz and Ana Djukic-Cocks, modern languages and literatures faculty who teach German. 

“Dr. O'Toole has always been an amazing mentor and support system through my studies as a world language education major,” Diblasio said. “Professor Schultz and Professor Cocks have helped me improve my overall confidence in my ability to speak German, as well as served as great mentors when searching for and applying for opportunities to go abroad. They have all motivated me, had confidence in me, and really pushed me out of my comfort zone to achieve my dreams.”