'Hurd' and Understood

After semesters studying abroad in France and Germany, Joshua Hurd ’13 is back in Germany for one year on a U.S. Junior Fulbright Award and learning much from the experience. He’s teaching at a school for adults ages 19 and up who are studying to pass college entrance exams. Most of the students are also balancing family responsibilities and full-time work and are themselves international, from countries as far away as Pakistan and Cameroon as well as nearby Poland and Italy.

“I’m loving it!” says Hurd, who double-majored in German and French with inclusive adolescence education certification. “Not only am I learning about how schools and classrooms function, I’m learning how other people function around the world. It is from people that I’m learning my greatest lessons: How does one live, think, and grow on a day-to-day basis?”

The Fulbright program promotes mutual understanding between Americans and the rest of the world. Founded in 1946, the Fulbright program awards highly competitive, merit-based grants that promote international exchange among students, scholars, teachers, professionals, scientists, and artists. This prestigious program has produced more Nobel laureates than any other award program.

In the past five years, 17 Fulbrights have been awarded to Nazareth students. In 2012, Nazareth earned the top spot in the “Master’s Institutions” category in The Chronicle of Higher Education’s Top Producers of U.S. Fulbright Students list.

Hurd says the German language skills he honed in college have been invaluable. “The skills I learned at Nazareth not only helped me master my second and third languages, but to understand my own language and culture from an objective perspective,” he writes from Bielefeld, Germany. “As a foreign language educator, produced by one of the top foreign language teaching colleges in the state, I am proud to say that I was well prepared to tackle this year.  I hope that I can inspire my students, my colleagues, and my superiors to cherish and embrace language learning to foster true cultural understanding.”

Hurd grew up in Livonia, New York. His parents had lived in Germany while his father was in the military and liked German culture — including listening to German music, eating German foods and using Christmas decorations from Germany. He’s been involved with Rotary Youth Exchange since 2008, when he went to the Czech Republic. Now he’s volunteering with the program in his free time, meeting with international students ages 14 to 18 who are experiencing a year at German high schools.