UI graduate takes her love of languages to Germany on a Fulbright grant

UI Fulbright recipient Lucy Patterson will use her grant to channel her language proficiency, quench her love for travel, and find her international calling.

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UI graduate takes her love of languages to Germany on a Fulbright grant

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Having recently earned “alumna” status as a 2018 University of Iowa graduate, Lucy Patterson is eager to take her long-fostered love of languages and use it in practice as she goes abroad to Germany on a Fulbright Grant.

With a major in French and a minor in German, few are more prepared than Patterson to be thrust into a different culture, where she will work as an English teaching assistant.

“I did what came easy to me and what I was good at for my major,” Patterson said. “I have been practicing French since kindergarten, so I knew that I would be OK.”

Although she has yet to know which school she will be placed at, Patterson will be in Germany for the academic year, starting Aug. 28 and running through June 30, 2019.

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“I probably won’t have my own classroom,” Patterson said. “We’re really just helping the teachers with whatever they need, getting shuffled around where our skills best fit.”

Patterson’s mentor throughout the Fulbright process, Kirsten Kumpf Baele, told The Daily Iowan in an email that she believes Patterson to be the ideal candidate for this opportunity.

“I believe that a year in Germany as a Fulbright Teaching Assistant will not only enrich Lucy on a variety of levels but, equally important, will enrich those individuals with whom she comes in contact. People gravitate towards Lucy,” she said.

Being fluent in French and continually working on her proficiency in German, Patterson has long had an enduring passion to speak the tongue of those across the ocean. She first put this into action when she studied abroad in France for the spring semester of her junior year.

Her mother instilled in her a desire to “travel and go everywhere,” Patterson said.

“In my personal statement for the Fulbright, I wrote how my mom is the pianist for the Cincinnati Opera. I was always influenced by this, where multiple languages were constantly being sung,” Patterson said. “She would put vocabulary sticky notes all around the house, so languages have been a part of my brain for as long as I can remember.”

Patterson loves to laugh, with a genuine enthusiasm for life, but she wants to make a serious impact on the world. She sees herself eventually working for an international organization, such as the United Nations or Amnesty International, but understands that it may be a challenge to get her foot in the door.

“I know that building experience with an international base will provide me with the foundation to get into this field,” she said.

Fellow Fulbright recipient Rachel Maggi got to know Patterson while working with the Iowa City Foreign Relations Council. Now good friends, Maggi said, “There’s a lot of bonding that comes with the application process … I always adored Lucy. She gets along with people really well, is a super easy person to talk to, and she is very reliable, always willing to step up for someone.”

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Patterson plans to enjoy her free time before her departure, but she could not contain her last moments of delight for her destination, which she jokingly referred to as Germany’s “Iowa.”

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