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Recent Graduate Receives Fulbright Grant to Teach English in Germany

 Universitat Konstanz

Pictured above: Universitat Konstanz, Germany

Harrison Haramasz '14
Bachelor of Science in Accounting & Bachelor of arts in German

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is a nationally competitive, fully funded fellowship that provides recent graduates and graduate students the opportunity to travel abroad to a foreign country to study, conduct research or teach English as a foreign language. Harrison Haramasz, a recent graduate of Binghamton University’s School of Management and Harpur College, was awarded a Fulbright Student Grant and is currently teaching English in Germany.

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Harrison’s experience with the Fulbright program shows that Binghamton students succeed in a wide variety of environments, even those they never considered when first starting their college experience.

Harrison graduated from Binghamton in 2014 with a double-major in Accounting and German and a minor in Medieval Studies. But it wasn’t until his senior year that he decided to pivot away from accounting and focus on pursuing a career related to Germany.

Now, he is living in the city of Konstanz in southern Germany on a yearlong Fulbright grant. As part of his grant, he is working as an English Teaching Assistant in two advanced German high schools. Harrison said working with students has been a rewarding experience for him on a personal level.

“The kids are a really impressive group,” Harrison said. “The schools in Germany are all really good, and that has played a huge role in my experience here. We have college level discussions in English about current events and politics.”

He said the learning experience has been mutual between him and the students. He often presents to his classes on interesting topics, such as the U.S. elections, and takes all the opportunities he can get to practice his German.

“Sometimes, the kids giggle and I think I said something wrong, but it is usually because I said something very proper and formally, like in a Stewie Griffin kind of voice,” Harrison said. “Sometimes I get stuff wrong, but sometimes I get it too right.

He said the South German accent is much different than what he was taught in school, and that sometimes leads to confusion. But people around him are always helpful and polite with their corrections. He added that practicing with native speakers is definitely the best way to improve fluency.

When he isn’t teaching high schoolers, Harrison takes linguistics classes at a local institution, the University of Konstanz.

“It is a really good University and I am really lucky to be able to study there,” Harrison said. “I get to learn things I am really interested in that I couldn’t focus on while at Binghamton, like linguistics.” 

Harrison’s Fulbright grant ends in June, but he wants to stay in Germany through the end of July so he can finish his classes.

He encourages students from a wide range of background to apply for Fulbright and other similar programs.

“Don’t assume that Fulbright is just for ‘smarter kids,” Harrison said. “If you have professors who support you, you should believe in yourself too. Just try to be resourceful and don’t try to play the song that you think they want you to play. Be yourself and don’t sound like everyone else in your application. Make it clear how you are unique.” 

Article Written By: Brendan Zarkower '17

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Last Updated: 11/22/17