Theo Canter will enrich his Greek identity while strengthening his language skills through a Fulbright Teaching Fellowship based in Athens, Greece.
In addition to his desire to teach and live abroad, Canter was attracted to this Fulbright program because of his personal ties to Athens. His grandfather was born and raised in Athens and graduated in 1956 as valedictorian of his class from Athens College, the same high school where Canter would teach English.
“Such a full-circle moment is incredibly meaningful,” says Canter, who graduated from Oberlin in May 2023 with a concentration in cinema studies And comparative literature and minor in Middle East and North African Studies. Originally from New York, Canter feels a great familiarity with Greece and its people. “Here at Oberlin, I have been proud to connect with other Greek students. There is something strong and unifying about our shared culture, food and language.
Canter’s scholarship begins in September and he will remain there until July 2024 to contribute to an English summer camp hosted by the school. In addition to classroom responsibilities, the fellowship includes additional work teaching debate, drama, and public speaking in Greek and English. “This combination of disciplines, along with the opportunity to spend extended time in a city that I love but have visited only briefly, all led me to this Fulbright opportunity.”
Last fall at Oberlin, Canter taught poetry to Langston Middle School students in creative writing teacher Lynne Powell’s class. Writers in schools residency program. During his final semester, he taught an introductory Hebrew course at Oberlin Experimental College (Executive Committee) program. “I took advantage of these two opportunities to share things that I am passionate about, namely writing, language and music,” he says. “I find that teaching pairs well with my performance experiences: putting that level of commitment into ‘the act’ and sharing how much I love what I teach.
Canter has had several study experiences since his gap year between high school and college, when he studied Hebrew, Arabic and history through Kivunim, a Jerusalem-based program with trips in the Balkans and the Middle East. For his first winter term he lived in Warsaw and worked for a magazine called Culture-PL— compared to ‘New York Review‘ from Warsaw, where he led a production team for a historical podcast and wrote articles for the English section of the site.
During the months he was at home during the pandemic in 2020, Canter participated in an online artist symposium through the Onassis Center, an Athens-based visual and performing arts center, where he produced Nostos, a short artistic performance featuring music, poetry and family history.
This year, he returned to Jerusalem to produce an audio documentary for the Israel Story podcast, which has been compared to This American Life. For his capstone in comparative literature, he translated the novel Kastoria by Benjamin Shvili from Hebrew. “This book is particularly close to my heart because it is a poetic reflection on the author’s trip to Greece. The author and I both come from the small Jewish community in Greece, so I appreciated the challenge of translating a work that draws on many of the cultural maps I grew up with.
Canter says Oberlin has provided many opportunities to learn and grow. A variety of rigorous courses “challenged me and pushed me to produce some of my best work.”
“I wrote some of my best songs in the Song and Book class with (English teacher) DeSales Harrison and I wrote my first short story in Claire Salomoncomparative literature course Love and Death. And the classroom is only part of it,” Canter says. “For me, what makes Oberlin special is the chance to be around so many creative and kind people who are just looking to collaborate. I am very excited to live my adventures in Athens, taking with me the memories and connections with my friends and teachers.
Outside of the classroom, Canter spent four years on the board of directors of Chabad, the Jewish student group; was a resident of the Keep Cottage Co-op as a chef, granola maker, bread maker and historian; and hosted several radio shows on WOBC. He also plays bouzouki and accordion in the klezmer group Shtick & Poke with friends from college and conservatory.
Canter plans to pursue a career in creative storytelling and media production, which may include documentary filmmaking, screenwriting and radio journalism.
“As a musician, I’m also interested in how music tells stories,” he says. Building on the music shows I have hosted on Oberlin Radio and independently, as well as the articles I have written, I would eventually like to have my own dedicated radio or film presence, to be something like NPR’s Rough Translation, conveying simple messages. stories from far away places. Along the same lines, I hope to be able to both perform and educate. My goal is to be able to pursue a career combining my talent for languages and my passion for music.
“Every time I look around Greece, I laugh at how everyone looks like they could be my cousins – and many actually are! It’s one thing to be Greek in the diaspora, it’s another to be at the center of it all.”