NWU Student Wins Fulbright Scholarship to Czech Republic
Nebraska Wesleyan University Senior Alex Bednar grew up eating Czech food and celebrating his Czech heritage. Starting next fall, he’ll be immersed in the culture he’s so interested in thanks to a Fulbright Scholarship that will send him to the Czech Republic.
Bednar has been awarded a prestigious Fulbright Scholarship to teach English and American culture in a secondary or post-secondary school in the Czech Republic. The Fulbright Scholarship is the flagship international education program sponsored by the U.S. government. Students are selected based on academic merit and leadership potential.
In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Bednar is excited for the opportunity to research Czech culture, specifically if the traditional Czech culture has been revived after the Velvet Revolution of 1989, which overthrew the country’s authoritarian government.
“I have a strong Czech background on both sides of my family and have been fascinated with the country from a young age,” said Bednar who will graduate in May with majors in history and biology and minors in chemistry and psychology.
Bednar got a glimpse of the Czech Republic during a high school choir tour of Europe.
“I had a great time while I was there and it was very interesting, but I felt unsatisfied,” he said. “I wanted to spend more time in the Czech Republic and increase my level of cultural and historical understanding.”
Bednar is looking forward to studying abroad again. In addition to his high school choir tour of Europe, he participated in a service trip to Zambia where he helped build a medical clinic, and traveled to Belize last year for a NWU tropical forest ecology class.
“Travel has deepened my perspective of the world and has given me the ability to place myself in the larger scheme of things as a student, citizen, and person,” he said. “I don’t see travel as a pastime; I see it as an essential part of my education.”
Following his year in the Czech Republic, Bednar plans to either teach under the Teach For America program or attend graduate school. He hopes to someday teach modern American history.
Bednar is the 36th Nebraska Wesleyan University student to win a Fulbright Scholarship.
The Chronicle of Higher Education, a leading academic newspaper, has consistently named Nebraska Wesleyan as a top producer of the Fulbright Scholarship. Last fall, the Chronicle put NWU in the top 50 bachelor’s degree institutions in the nation to produce Fulbright scholars. In the last 10 years, Nebraska Wesleyan has had 26 Fulbright Scholarship winners.