The Boyertown Area Times
Making the connection
Boyertown graduate in Czech Republic fosters exchange with firefighters back home
Kylie Webb, a 2018 Boyertown High School graduate, didn’t know anything about the fire service when she received her assignment under the Fulbright scholarship to teach English abroad at an academy for young men pursuing a firefighting career.
If that wasn’t enough of a culture shock, her placement in a relatively small Czech Republic city — where few people speak her language and there’s a sixhour time zone difference from her loved ones in Pennsylvania — contributed to her initial feeling of isolation.
But the loneliness eventually subsided, the 23-year-old Gilbertsville native said in a recent phone interview from her home away from home in Chomutov, a city of about 46,000 along the border with Germany.
She credits her neighbors and the teachers she works with as a teaching assistant.
“Obviously there’s people around you,” Webb said of her adjustment process. “My neighbors are really great. We’re placed in small towns for a reason. The whole purpose is to place you where there’s a need. Not as many people speak English because there’s less accessibility.
“That’s why it feels more isolating, especially in the beginning.”
Webb was accepted for a Fulbright foreign scholarship after graduating from Salisbury University in Maryland last May with a degree in exercise science.
Administered by the State Department’s Bureau of Educational & Cultural Affairs, the Fulbright U.S. Student Program expands perspectives through academic and professional advancement and cross-cultural dialogue, according to the program website.
In partnership with 140 countries worldwide, the program offers opportunities in all academic disciplines to passionate and accomplished graduating college seniors, graduate students and young professionals from all