The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College since 1873

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Foreign Language TA Spotlight: Andrea Elisabeth Kreditsch

The Bates Student runs a regular column which hopes to highlight the unique gifts to the Bates community brought forth by foreign language teaching assistants. This week, I spoke to Andrea Elisabeth Kreditsch, the 2018-19 German language teaching assistant, about her native country of Austria, adjusting to American culture, and Austrian food!

Bates Student (BS): Hello, Andrea! Where are you from?
Andrea Elisabeth Kreditsch (AES): I am from Austria, from Graz. Graz is in the southeast of Austria, about a two-hour drive south of Vienna, our capital. It is also the second biggest city of the country and it’s a student city, so it has its very distinct flair.

BS: Where did you attend university and what did you study?
AES: I attended Karl Franzens University (or University of Graz) in Graz, Austria. I studied English language, literature and culture as well as history and graduated with my Mag. phil. (like a MA) earlier this year.

BS: Why did you decide to pursue teaching German as a foreign language? What led you to this field of teaching?
AES: I am a trained foreign language teacher for English, and I knew that at some point in my life, I wanted to work and teach abroad. I decided in late 2017 that I would try and apply for a Fulbright grant in German language teaching, because I thought that this would be a great opportunity to not only experience living in a different country but also to teach my language and introduce students to my culture.

BS: When and how did you learn English?
AES: I learned English first from books and other materials that a family member living in Canada sent over to Austria before I started school. In school, I had 12 years of English, but I think I also learned a lot by reading and watching movies in English outside of class. I then went on to study English in university.

BS: What do you miss the most about your home country?
AES: What I miss most about my home country is the food, probably. Food is such an essential part of every culture, and you don’t realize how used you are to your own food until it becomes unavailable. I miss “real” (meaning dark rye) bread and pumpkin seed oil, and gingerbread and cookies, and Topfenstrudel and Marillenknödel. Thankfully, we have a cultural kitchen in Roger Williams that my fellow TAs and I have been using to make some of our favorite dishes from home for and with students, and I am looking forward to doing this again this semester!
And I miss the mountains. I am not much of a hiker (more of a skier), but I miss just looking out my window and seeing mountains.

BS: What has been your favorite part of living in the States? Least favorite part?
AES: My favorite part of living in the US is probably that I get to live in such a beautiful part of the country—I love the nature here, I love the outdoors, and I love winter, so Maine is the perfect state for me! My least favorite part of living here is that you need a car to get anywhere, at least here in Maine….

BS: How has your experience at Bates been?
AES: My experience has been great so far, I really love working at the German and Russian Department; it’s so much fun! I love teaching my language to students and giving them an insight into my culture. I also really like the tight-knit community at Bates; it is like a big family, and you are never just a number like at big universities (like my university at home—we had 30,000 students and big lectures with 400 students).

BS: Do you have any recommendations for students hoping to learn German?
AES: What I would recommend to students wanting to learn German is to make use of as much authentic material as they can: German movies and TV shows (even if they don’t understand anything yet, just hearing the language helps such a lot!), German books, German news, German websites/YouTube channels/blogs etc. and, of course: try to speak German whenever they can, whether it is with German speakers or with each other! I know it can be very intimidating to speak a new language, but it will all pay off in the end! And of course, if you are not a student of German yet, come and say hi to us at the German department and check out our language courses!

Reviewing 211 Days and a Lifetime in Art

On Friday, April 6, the 2018 Senior Thesis Exhibition opened to the public. Every year, the show is one of the most well-attended events at the Bates College Museum of Art, and for good reason. The show is the product of a full year of preparation for 14 splendid graduating seniors. It has been 211 days since the first day of this academic year and the beginning of their projects, but the show unveils much more than that — it unveils deep passion and sense of place. The works speak more than my words ever could.

There is an array of media in this exhibition: drawing, painting, sculptures, hand-drawn animations, photography, and ceramics — and behind every medium a couple of familiar names. For me, part of the punch of this show comes from seeing that the artists are my friends, classmates, and acquaintances. They are the person who held the door for me last Tuesday, or that course mate who was always sketching during class. The Senior Thesis Exhibition reminds me of how incredibly talented and fortunate Bates is. This show is inevitably permeated by a sense of place and community, which were visible in the curiosity of the visitors who flooded the museum on April 6.

Leading to the show, the 14 exhibiting artists worked closely with Robert Feintuch, Senior Lecturer in Art and Visual Culture. Feintuch, who is leaving Bates this year, has been organizing and installing the Senior Thesis Exhibition shows ever since he joined Bates in 1976. In an email interview, he told me the first show he organized took place in Chase Hall, prior to the opening of the Olin Arts Center in 1986! “He has done it many times before, and so, I felt that I was working with a professional who knows how to make his voice known, while also balancing the voices and options of all the artists. He is a true mentor,” Sophie Olmstead ’18, one of the exhibiting artists, revealed.

“I think, for me, the best part of it has been seeing what happens when smart students make working the center of their lives,” Feintuch revealed. In a number of exchanges we had, Feintuch always seemed passionate about working with seniors, often mentioning the intimacy that comes with teaching art. Feintuch helped to select, organize, and place the over 150 artworks at the museum. “I enjoy the challenge of working out an installation that makes individual students’ work look strong and that, at its best, also makes interesting juxtapositions and connections,” he added.

In the relationship between Feintuch and the 14 seniors, I found one example of the close relationships that make Bates the place it is. Community seems visibly important in the 2018 Senior Thesis Exhibition, even if not always intentionally. If there is one thing that this show reminded me of, it is that an art piece is not a self-contained end goal, and it doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Art has an impact in the world. No wonder the show seem like the product of much more than 211 days of work — the pieces are the product of a lifetime of learning and sharing.

Max Breschi ’18, an exhibiting potter, found a concrete example of what I feel in regards to this show. The artist created an installation of utilitarian pottery as a way to give back to the L/A community for his years at Bates College. The installation asks that the viewer choose a pot that speaks to them. Every day, a person can leave with a piece from his installation. Since seeing the 2018 Senior Thesis Exhibition, I feel like I have been walking around with my hands full of “metaphorical pottery” that I carry around.

More than a celebration of talent, the show makes me thankful for the friendship and collaboration I’ve learned to cultivate at Bates since arriving here. If there is a connecting thread that runs through an exhibition as diverse as this one, it would be that art is exchange.

The show is free and open until May 26, 2018. All are welcome.

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