A passion for language and a desire to immerse himself in another culture pushed Belmont alum Derek Price to spend nine months teaching in rural Germany.
Price started his nine-month-long trip on Oct. 5, 2012 and stayed until June 26, 2013.
“Staying in a country for nine months can be very difficult. You don’t have to stay that long for a Lumos trip. You can stay as short as you would like, as long as it’s at least 6 weeks.”
Price spoke about his time abroad Wednesday at the Leu Center for the Visual Arts during a convocation event.
Price’s experience was made possible by through Lumos, which he applied for after graduating from Belmont University
Lumos is a student travel award given to Belmont student’s who wish to serve outside of the U.S.
Some of the places Lumos students serve include schools, orphanages and nursing homes. But some also work unpaid internships, or with special needs organizations and even in farming.
There are, however, a few requirements each proposal must meet, like having a partner organization to work through, designed to expand the applicant’s experience of the world and other cultures as well as teach them new skills while expanding existing ones.
Price’s love for the German language ultimately lead to his decision to search for an opportunity to serve in Germany.
Eventually, he came up the prospect of teaching English at a high school.
Unsure of where to start with his proposal to Lumos, he searched organizations that could help him get plugged into the German school system. One of the first sites that came up was Experiential Learning International, a non-profit organization that arranges volunteer, internship and study opportunities in 26 countries around the world.
With his partner organization established and a detailed financial outline and his application ready, Lumos approved his trip.
In his proposal, Price requested to stay in Germany for nine months, even though Lumos only requires participants to spend six weeks in the desired location. But Price wanted to spend more than three months in order to get a “real experience.”
“It takes up to three months to really get comfortable in the language,” he said. “But after three months, you don’t want to pick up and leave the culture or the language; you want to stay longer to really get the practice and the appreciation.”
Experiential Learning International placed Price at a rural high school in Enkenbach-Alsenborn, Germany called Enkenbach-Alsenborn Integrierte Gesamtschule. There, he tutored student in ninth grade through 13th grade in English and helped them study for university exams.
“It was fun and rewarding to teach at a high school level because all the students seemed willing to try to speak to me in English,” he said.
For Price, the best part of the trip was his submersion into German society and language.
I would’ve never had the opportunity to be as skilled in German if I hadn’t been so immersed in the language, Price said.
Price enjoyed his trip, but there is one thing he said he’d do differently: pick a more urban location.
“Overall I have no complaints about my trip. The only thing I can say is to do your research where you’re going and what you will be doing very carefully. Know the culture and food, and even know what the weather is like. It’ll make all the difference.”