By: Erika Dietrick, Undergraduate Director of Marketing and Communications
A global society requires the ability to effectively communicate with dissimilar cultures and understand world events. Being able to speak another language, interpret world news, and bridge the gaps between continents in a variety of fields are invaluable skills in today’s workforce. As a triple major in German, history, and history education, Honors College student Daniel (Danny) Franch has spent his college career gaining valuable knowledge about the world around him.
Danny’s list of collegiate accomplishments is impressive, including a professional publication, becoming a North Carolina Teaching Fellow, and long-term dedication to the University Writing Center. However, his most recent impact on the community took place over Spring Break by aiding refugees in Germany. After extensive fundraising efforts, he and ten other members of ECU’s German Club spent nine days at a home called Helferkreis-Waldperlach in Munich. The students taught the refugees basic German, such as the alphabet, important survival phrases, and traffic rules. In return, the club gained important insights about the refugees during their free time and while playing frisbee and basketball.
Before and after his travels, Danny was busily preparing an application for a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Germany. Founded in 1946, the Fulbright is a highly competitive international program that seeks to promote cultural understanding by providing generous grants for student research projects and assistantships abroad.
After a lengthy and grueling application process, Danny learned that he had been chosen as a semi-finalist in January.
By April, he was officially named a 2016 Fulbright Scholar.
“I had the choice to pick three federal states, and I chose all former East German states because the former East is still economically behind the rest of Germany,” Danny explained.
In addition to teaching English to a German K-12 classroom, he will be expected to engage the local community.
“I proposed to join a local environmental organization and learn ways to increase sustainability practices,” said Danny. “Germany is a world leader in using clean alternative energy. The country does an excellent job recycling, and the Germans love to garden. My mother’s passion for gardening and my own love of the outdoors made me want to join ECO-Pirates at ECU and engage in environmental activism in Germany.”
Danny is the seventh student to be named a Fulbright Scholar from East Carolina University. The most recent ECU student recipients of the award were Diana Gliga (medicine, Romania) and Sarah Searcy (teaching English, India) in 2009.
The ECU Honors College is proud to see the culmination of Danny’s efforts in education end in a prestigious award that will open a multitude of doors for his future. We wish him all the best with this exciting new adventure!