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Patricia "Trish" PricePatricia "Trish" Price

Patricia "Trish" Price: Spokane Grad Living Fulbright Dream

Patricia "Trish" Price, an honors graduate of Gonzaga Preparatory School in Spokane, is living her dream job as a Fulbright teaching assistant in Vienna, Austria.

Price, the recipient of a coveted 12-month, $15,000 Fulbright grant, is teaching English, economics and religion to Austrian students ages 10 to 18. The Fulbright Teaching Assistant program, allows graduating seniors, graduate students, and developing professionals and artists opportunities for personal enrichment and international experience. These grants, covering up to one year and renewable for one additional year, are awarded through a merit-based competition to men and women who wish to study and research abroad.

Price, a 2004 philosophy/piano performance graduate of Willamette University in Salem, Ore., first became enthralled with Vienna during a study abroad experience. "As an undergraduate at Willamette, I studied in Vienna for a semester. My Viennese piano professor strongly encouraged me to return to Vienna to study through the Fulbright program."

She's both teacher and student in Austria. "I teach in the classroom about 10 hours a week and study both German and music. My teaching day ends about noon and I organize the rest of my day around studying and practicing piano."

For Price, teaching is a joy. "This experience has given me a true taste of what it's like to be a teacher. I've learned a lot about the energy, planning and focus it requires to inspire students. It's made me appreciate all of the great teachers throughout my education and how they inspired me to accomplish my goals."

She's learned that it's all about the students. "My students are the greatest part of this experience. The younger students are especially sweet because they still think hanging out with a "real" American is a treat. They get extremely excited and clap when I'm invited to their classroom."

She's also been surprised at how close she's gotten to them. "I've become emotionally involved with my students and their progress. If they don't do well, I feel as if I could have done something better. If they succeed, I'm overwhelmed with pride."

For the music-oriented Price, the cultural opportunities in Vienna are a bonus of her Fulbright experience. She's fallen in love with Vienna. "I am a pianist and to be in a city like Vienna that's filled with so much culture is a dream come true.

I live about 10 minutes from central downtown, so I have constant access to the State Opera House, the Konzerhaus [Vienna concert house] and the Muskiverein [concert house that is home to the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra]. I think that the Viennese have their priorities in order. The government subsidizes so many cultural programs that I can always find something inspiring to do with my time."

Being an ambassador for America and American culture was an aspect of her Fulbright experience that she didn't expect. "True cross cultural understanding hasn't really occurred between Europe and the U.S.," says Price, who has extended her Fulbright teaching assistant position for an additional year. "I've lived extensively on both continents so I can often explain to both Americans and Austrians what each might be thinking. It's amazing how it's grounded me in my own personal views. I never realized before how truly American I am."