The Department of Romance and Classical Studies is very pleased to celebrate Grace Koepele, recent MSU graduate and student of the Italian Program in RCS, for their acceptance of a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Italy! Grace graduated from MSU in the Spring 2020 semester with a major in the Arts and Humanities from the Residential College in Arts and Humanities (RCAH) and a minor in Italian Studies, and was involved with the MSU Italian Club, RCAH Ambassadors, the Integrated Learning Option in RCAH for Italian, and also worked on an independent study with Reach Art Studio in Lansing to research how the arts affect youth agency and empowerment. Since graduating, Grace has been working as an ESL Tutor with SiWen Learning Center, which offers Italian, Mandarin, and English lessons, and Grace has been working with them since their undergraduate studies. They expect to hear the details of their Fulbright placement in June, with the program to begin this fall.
Grace decided to explore the possibilities of a Fulbright at the encouragement of Professor Juliet Guzzetta and applied for the program shortly before they spent a summer earning a Teaching English through the Foundations of Theater and Play (TEFL-TP) certificate while studying and working at arts-based English immersion camps in northern Italy. When they return to Italy for the Fulbright, they expect to be working with high schoolers in southern Italy. Working with this age group will be a new experience for Grace, though as they put it, “I am excited to work with this age group and see what joys and challenges venture my way.”
Grace’s love for studying Italy and the Italian language originated with their studies of Latin in high school. Their love for the Italian language grew after transitioning to Italian Studies at MSU. “My Italian studies showed me how expansive of an experience language learning can and should be,” they say. “When you learn a language, you are not simply studying grammar structures and vocabulary, you are also connecting with communities, understanding complex histories, and experiencing the beautiful culture that is intertwined with the language.” Ultimately, Grace would like to pursue a career that allows them to combine their passions for youth work, languages, and the arts.
Romance and Classical Studies is very pleased to celebrate Grace’s success in receiving the Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship, and wishes them all the best in their continued endeavors!