Hamline senior Amanda Dutcher, who was recently awarded a Fulbright Scholarship for the 2010-11 academic year, talks about winning the Fulbright, her time at Hamline, and what’s ahead.
I’ve been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship for the 2010-11 academic year, which will allow me to teach English to middle school children in Germany. I leave in September, and I’m not sure which part of Germany I will be assigned to at this point. I am just thrilled to have this opportunity! I plan to get everything I can out of it, to immerse myself in the German culture, and to travel to many of the surrounding countries that I didn’t see the last time I was in Germany—such as Croatia, the Czech Republic, Italy, and Poland.
I have always been fascinated by other cultures, and I love to learn everything I can about them. I grew up in Pelican Rapids, Minnesota which had a population of just 2,500, but it was so rich with diversity. In my small town, more than 40 languages were spoken. And, really, I just took that daily living and learning about different cultures for granted. I had friends who were from Mexico, Bosnia, Somalia, Korea, Haiti, Germany, and so many other places.
I was looking for a university with strong modern languages and foreign exchange programs. I knew I wanted to study abroad. My aunt and uncle are Hamline alumni, and this was definitely one of my top three choices for college. In the end, Hamline offered me better financial incentives than any other school. And, looking back, I know I made the right decision in coming here.
I was lucky enough to receive a Presidential Scholarship all four years here. I’ve also been involved in Jazz Ensemble, Student Congress, Phi Beta Kappa academic honorary society, Omicron Delta Kappa leadership society, and Student Alumni Board. I was asked to serve on the “Mission and Identity” committee when the university was going through its strategic planning process. I’ve been a public relations intern at Hamline all four years, and that has definitely helped open doors to new opportunities. And, one of the greatest honors I’ve had here was in being invited to be a student representative at the President’s Circle Dinner, with all of the trustees and top donors to Hamline. One year, I was even asked to give a speech at that event. Plus, it’s just a pretty cool thing when the president of your university knows your name!
Best Hamline Memories
The year I studied abroad in Trier, Germany was incredible. It wouldn’t have happened at all if I hadn’t come to Hamline, because we have such a strong partnership with Universität Trier. One of my favorite memories from that year is that on the first day of class I remember being totally lost; I was just writing down key words from the lecture...the few words I could understand. And, by the end of the academic year, I was actively participating in the discussion and even leading it at times. To know that I came that far and advanced my speaking skills that much in such a short time is just amazing to me.
I’d Like to Thank…
My mom is my role model. She’s an incredibly strong person, and she sacrifices so much to make sure the people she cares about have everything they want and things they didn’t even know that they needed.
Favorite German Word
Ausgezeichnet! (It means “excellent!” or “awesome!”)
Words to Live By
My mom once told me, “Never settle for what’s in front of you just because it’s there.” That has always stayed with me, and it’s how I try to live my life. Keep searching, keep striving, and I know I will achieve my goals, no matter where or how far away they take