W&L’s Anne Riter ’22 Awarded Fulbright to Austria Riter will spend the next academic year volunteering with a community organization, working as an English teaching assistant and taking courses at the University of Graz.
Anne Riter ’22 has received a Fulbright Community-Based Combined grant to Austria for her project, “Supporting Syrian Refugee Integration into Austria,” which she will complete in Graz. Riter is majoring in economics and German and minoring in Middle Eastern and South Asian studies with an Arabic language focus. Riter is a native of Naples, Florida, and graduated from Community School of Naples.
While abroad, Riter will spend approximately 13 hours a week teaching English at an Austrian secondary school. She will also be enrolled in supplemental classes at the University of Graz. The rest of her time will be spent engaging in her community project with Syrian refugees with her partner organization, Weichenstellwerk Graz.
“With Weichenstellwerk Graz, I’ll help teach the refugees German and assist with the music program,” said Riter. “I’ve played piano since I was 6 years old, so it will be incredibly rewarding to utilize my music skills. This grant is a unique combination of my studies since I study both German and Arabic. There aren’t many situations where I get to use both languages, so I’m very excited about that. And with my economics major, I plan to enroll in courses at the University of Graz that relate to development economics and the sociological dimensions of globalization and development.”
Riter is the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) young ambassador on the W&L campus. The DAAD is an organization that partners with both the German government and universities in the U.S. and Canada to encourage study abroad and internships in Germany for American and Canadian students. As the young ambassador, Riter hosts the German department’s semiannual “Words of Wisdom,” which brings together alumni of various study and internship programs in Germany and Austria and encourages W&L students who haven’t been abroad or want to visit another country ask questions about alumni experiences.
Riter is the vice president of the German Club at W&L and a peer tutor in economics at the Harte Center for Teaching and Learning. She is also a member of club tennis and Chi Omega sorority. Previously, Riter was the Hawaii state chair for Mock Convention and the vice president of programming and community engagement for W&L’s Panhellenic Council.
Riter credits Anthony Edwards, assistant professor of Arabic, as one of many faculty members for helping her as an undergraduate. When Edwards met Riter at admitted students’ day, he encouraged her to try Arabic, and she has “never looked back.” Thanks to Edwards’s encouragement, Riter also studied abroad in Beirut, Lebanon, for a summer. She is working on an independent study with him geared toward being able to converse about a variety of pop culture topics with the Syrian refugees she’ll be supporting in her Fulbright program.
“Anne has phenomenal interpersonal and organizational skills,” said Edwards. “She is kindhearted, generous and polite, and highly dependable. Her years of focused, stateside language study, as well as immersive experiences in Germany and Lebanon, have prepared her linguistically, emotionally and practically to live and work abroad. Anne will be a stellar cultural ambassador on behalf of the United States.”
After Riter completes her Fulbright program, she hopes to find a job, but says she plans to stay “flexible.”
“I have the opportunity to re-up the teaching assistantship portion of the grant for another year in Austria,” said Riter. “I want to give myself as many options as possible. Ideally, I would pursue opportunities that bring me closer to my goal of serving as a U.S. ambassador to another country.”
If you know a W&L student who has done great, accolade-worthy things, tell us about them! Nominate them for an accolade.