Steven Legg ’22 wins Fulbright to Germany

Steven Legg ’22
Starting in September 2024, Steven Legg ’22 will spend 10 months teaching English in Germany as a 2024 Fulbright scholar. (Photo by Keith Nordstrom)

He will teach English, enhance his foreign language skills

After studying abroad in Germany in high school and again during the pandemic while at Wheaton, Steven Legg ’22 jumped at the opportunity to return to Deutschland—this time as a Fulbright scholar.

Starting in September, the Plymouth, Mass., resident will spend 10 months teaching English, assimilating himself further to German culture and mastering his verbal language skills.

“German culture and the idea of a united German nation is a core part of my identity,” Legg said. “I’ve had these two experiences in Germany before; I’ve visited since; I have a very good cultural understanding; I’ve studied the language for a long time, but I still am American in so many ways. This time, I really want to be able to speak German in Germany as I would English in the U.S.”

Fulbright scholars are recent college graduates, graduate students or early career professionals who take part in study and research exchanges or serve as English teaching assistants.

After graduation, Legg, who majored in German studies at Wheaton, became certified to teach English as a second language. He intends to earn his master’s degree in education after completing his Fulbright.

“My long-term goal is to get in a position where I feel like I am making a difference in the public education system,” he said. “Whether lobbying for better education laws, being involved in public administration, or pushing for better school lunches from a public health perspective. I firmly believe every child deserves a quality education.”

Legg credited Wheaton’s liberal arts education, particularly its language departments and humanities programs, as well as its encouragement of students to study abroad for preparing him for this opportunity.

He said events on campus like the International Cafe, where students gather in Emerson Dining Hall to converse in their second, third or even fourth languages, strengthened his desire to travel.

Laura Bohn Case, senior professor of the practice of German, and Tessa Lee, associate professor of German, were also particularly influential in encouraging him to apply for a Fulbright.

Legg said he was motivated to become a teacher so that he could follow in the footsteps of his late mother, a children’s librarian who—through learning—constantly put smiles on the faces of her students.

“Time with people who care about us is most valuable in life, but clearly, we must learn to appreciate others first,” Legg said. “Teaching and learning languages is my way of increasing this communication and appreciation of everyone’s unique story. I love learning about people’s stories and I believe I can best give back to the world by empowering others through education.”

—By Scott Enman ’15