Two UM Grads from Livingston Win Teaching Assistantships to Austria

July 30, 2018

Natalia Boise MISSOULA – Two University of Montana alumnae, both from Livingston, will teach English during the upcoming school year in Austria.  

Natalia Boise studied German and linguistic anthropology at UM. She said her studies helped prepare her to become a private German tutor, and she hopes she can apply the same skills in the beautiful alpine town of Gmunden, Austria.

“The job is still daunting, though, since some dialects of Austrian German are more different from German than Spanish is from Italian,” she said. “But I hope it will be a fun challenge to take on and that the students will teach me as much as I teach them.”

After Boise’s year in the Austrian school ends, she hopes to find work in the international aid sector, ideally working with refugees in community development. She is the daughter of Steven and Laura Boise.

Sonia McLain graduated from UM in 2017 with a degree in German and a certificate in teaching English. While at UM, she studied abroad in Germany to further her knowledge of the language, culture and history. She also enjoyed taking dance classes and performing.

After graduating, she worked as an English tutor and in the Office of International Programs at Montana State University. She also dances withSonia McLain the Raison D’etre Dance Project.

For her English teaching assignment, McLain will move to Lower Austria to work as a high school English assistant in the small towns of Tuernitz and Lilienfeld.

“Studying language inspired me to travel and make international connections, and I realized how valuable it is as a second language learner to have the opportunity to practice conversation with native speakers of the language,” she said. “I think that experience will teach me all the important components of having my own language classroom someday.”

McLain’s long-term plan is to teach English abroad or in the U.S. to ensure all refugees and immigrants feel welcome and supported, as well as to pursue a graduate degree in speech-language pathology. Her parents are Caroline and Frank McLain.

Each year, more than 140 college graduates from the United States teach in the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education Foreign Language Teaching Assistantship Program. The program draws teaching assistants from the English-speaking world, France, Italy, Russia and Spain into the classrooms of secondary schools in communities all over Austria.

Although Fulbright Austria manages the program, participants in the U.S. Teaching Assistantship Program are not grantees of the Fulbright Program.

U.S. teaching assistants are employed during the school year from Oct. 1 to May 31. Teaching assistants with a superior performance record may apply to have their assistantships extended for a second year. UM alumnus Eric Bush will take advantage of that opportunity to teach again in the program.

For more information on U.S. Teaching Assistantship Program in Austria, visit


Contact: Laure Pengelly Drake, UM coordinator for writing center programs, external scholarships and advising, 406-243-6140,; Natalia Boise, U.S. teaching assistant,; Sonia McLain, U.S. teaching assistant,