Our Language Assistants

Seit vielen Jahren und jeweils für ein Schuljahr sind Fremdsprachenassistent*innen aus dem englischsprachigen Raum bei uns tätig. 

Einige kamen aus Großbritannien und den Vereinigten Staaten, aber auch Sprachassistent*innen aus Neuseeland und Kanada haben über die Jahre unsere Schülerinnen und Schüler mit der Kultur, Geschichte. Literatur und Politik ihrer Länder vertraut gemacht. 

Wir Lehrkräfte freuen uns sehr über diese Kolleg*innen, die mit ihrer Muttersprache Englisch den Unterricht in allen Abteilungen und allen Klassenstufen bereichern.

Matt Straub

 

 

Hello visitors! My name is Matt, and I am the English language assistant at the Hans-Litten-Schule for the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 school years! I grew up in White Plains, a medium-sized city in New York, 30 minutes from Manhattan. I grew up speaking mostly English as well as some Spanish with my family, and have always enjoyed being outside; either in the city or in nature. My hobbies include unicycling, photography, and hiking.

 

German culture has always been interesting for me, and I took German as a foreign language for three years in high school, and was President of the German Club. I participated in a brief exchange with the Gymnasium Buckhorn in Hamburg, and my exchange partner and I are still good friends. This exchange taught me how warm and fun Germans can be, and started my travels around the world, including within the US, as well as to Canada, Brazil, and 19 countries around Europe – I have even visited 14 of Germany’s 16 federal states! The pandemic has slowed-down my plans to visit Bremen and Thuringia. 

 

Some of my more adventurous travel experiences include a 35-hour train ride across the Western US, hiking in Iceland in the winter, and climbing two of the tallest mountains in New York in one day, each around 1500m high.

 

I studied architecture and earth science at the University at Buffalo. While studying, I enjoyed living near Niagara Falls and working for many organizations, including a Tool Library, the local community garden organization, as well as a business incubator for refugees and new arrivals to Buffalo. I also worked as an architect for several offices in Buffalo and New York. Studying architecture is a tough but fun process, for one project we had to build canoes – and then race them! I also had some fun while studying, and was a member of my university’s competitive Bollywood dance team for two years.

 

After completing my Bachelor’s in 2019, I moved to Berlin on a Fulbright grant to start working as our English language assistant! Since arriving in Berlin, I have spent time exploring the many corners of the city as well as the countryside in Brandenburg. In addition to my work as English language assistant, I tutor English for struggling students, and in 2020 I started my Master’s in Architecture-Typology at the Technical University of Berlin.

 

Since moving to Germany, I have had to adjust to many parts of German culture. For example, there needs to be a confirmation, certificate, or contract for everything – I even have a contract for my volunteer work! German directness is something I have enjoyed. We New Yorkers are known for being rude and direct – but in German culture I am actually friendly! One part of German culture that I do not enjoy is how private people can be – I enjoy getting to know people, but it can take months before some people speak to you like a friend. I also do not enjoy the pressure to quickly pack my groceries in to my bag after buying them – in the US it’s OK to be a little bit slower at the checkout.

 

A lot of what I do at the Hans-Litten-Schule is also what I do with Germans who I meet outside of school – everybody wants to know what life in New York is like, if high school is really like the movies, and especially how American politics work. Even at parties, somebody will find out that I am an American and ask me all of their questions about how the President is elected and what I expect to happen at the next elections.

 

I enjoyed my first few months at the Hans-Litten-Schule that I extended my work for a second year! I am always excited to help out around the school – I am most often helping in the Oberstufe, as well as with the FOS-, IBA-, and Willkommensklassen. 

 

See you around!

 

Alle Fotos: © Matt Straub