Vail Mountain School alum wins Fulbright scholarship to teach English in Czech Republic |

Vail Mountain School alum wins Fulbright scholarship to teach English in Czech Republic

Allison Gish plans to connect with her family's roots abroad

Allison Gish’s roots are pulling her to Eastern Europe where the Vail Mountain School grad will teach English as a Fulbright scholar.

Gish is wrapping up her undergrad English degree at Colorado College in Colorado Springs this spring. She leaves for the Czech Republic later this summer, assuming she can travel by that point with COVID-19 in decline.

She earned a Fulbright English teaching assistant grant to the Czech Republic where she’ll work in a rural Czech high school, most likely at an arts or agriculture school. The Fulbright folks wanted to place a native English speaker and cultural liaison in the Czech Republic.

Return to her roots

She is not yet sure which Czech town, but that’s not much of a concern. For Gish, it’s a quest to return to her family’s roots.

“It’s a way to connect to my heritage,” Gish said.

She traces her family’s lineage to the Czech Republic. Her ancestors immigrated to the United States in the late 1800s, she said.

Gish is well-traveled but has never been to the Czech Republic.

While she’s there she’ll study the Czech language and travel around Europe.

“I also hope to visit my family’s legendary bitters distillery in the Bohemia region,” she says. 

Cultural liaison

Teaching caught Gish’s attention. She’ll be teaching classes and learning as well. As a cultural liaison, some of her lessons will center around expanding her own perspective along with some traditions to the Czech Republic, teaching workshops and classes that tie language to culture.

At Vail Mountain School, Gish spent her summers teaching in the VMS SummerQuest program through the school and Eagle County’s Literacy Project.

“I enjoyed teaching and thought I might want it to pursue it further,” Gish said. “It will be a pivotal opportunity to practice skills I already have learned, to grow as a teacher learning from others and experience.”

About Fulbright scholars

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program awards competitive grants to people teaching English outside the U.S. for one academic year

Fulbright scholarships are a cultural exchange program and recipients live with and learn from people in the host country. It’s designed to help Fulbright scholars gain an appreciation of other viewpoints and beliefs, thereby promoting mutual understanding.

Since its inception in 1946, the Fulbright program has sent more than 380,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists, and other professionals to more than 160 countries.

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