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Teaching in Germany: Katie Deppen '13
07.02.14 |

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Bravery comes in many forms. For Lebanon Valley College alumna Mary “Katie” Deppen ’13, it came in the form of stepping out of her comfort zone and into an unfamiliar territory: Berlin, Germany.

Deppen started working at Freie Schule Ann-Sophie elementary school just this past April. After graduating with a bachelor of science in elementary education, she received a call from Mike Corman, her former boss at YoYo Camps, with information about a teaching position in Berlin. Accepting the job meant traveling to a country with diminutive knowledge of its native language and abandoning the comforts of home. Armed with an adventurous spirit, she took advantage of the unique opportunity to teach in a different country.

As Deppen soon discovered, teaching overseas is vastly different than in the United States. Teachers and students at Frieie Schule Anne-Sophie elementary have an autonomous system giving them complete control over their curriculums.

“I enjoy creating my own curriculum, discussing new ideas with colleagues, and implementing them,” Deppen said. When asked how the College prepared her for the job, she replied, “I work at a newer school and the curriculum is always changing, LVC prepared me for a constantly changing work environment.”

Deppen has faced challenges since her move to Germany, especially linguistically. “One of the most challenging parts of teaching in Germany is the language barrier,” she explained, “it even makes everyday tasks, like riding the train, difficult.” Despite her language learning curve, she speaks very highly of the country’s cuisine. She recommended going to “I Due Forni” for Italian pizza and “The Bird” for burgers.

Even with the rigors of teaching in Germany, Deppen still finds time to chat with College friends. Some of her fondest memories of LVC are Dutchmen Day, Chicken Tender Thursday, and the family-like setting. She advises future students to make sure to protect their dreams: “If you have a dream don’t let anyone stand in your way; if I did, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”

An ordinary person might be uncomfortable stepping into such an unfamiliar setting. Unlike most, Deppen finds it rewarding and is satisfied with the decision to venture to Germany. Her future plans include coming back to the States to teach. “In the future, I would like to teach in a more traditional setting, but for now I am happy to have the challenge.” 

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