For as long as I can remember, I have been drawn to foreign languages and cultures, attributing my interest not only to my multi-ethnic family, but also, perhaps surprisingly, to my solely English-speaking upbringing. Throughout my childhood, I had exposure to many cultures, Portuguese and Puerto Rican being the most prevalent. But somehow, without the language, I felt like I was missing out. To my curious young mind, it was a secret code that I hadn’t yet cracked, and it became my mission to solve it.
I began studying Spanish in school at age 12 and Portuguese on my own at 16, but the greatest opportunities presented themselves at William & Mary. I chose to become a Hispanic Studies major because being able to really communicate with the non-English-speaking people I encounter inspires me. Getting beyond the surface motivates me because being able to share language makes a person come alive. My abilities in Spanish increased dramatically after just one semester at the College, and in the next two years, I was able to spend two incredible semesters abroad, the first in Florianópolis, Brazil, and the second in Seville, Spain. These adventures have had such a wonderful impact on my life, and as a result of my experiences abroad and here at W & M, I speak Spanish fluently and have an advanced level of conversational Portuguese. This has given me the special gift of being able to develop relationships with truly amazing people that I never would have gotten to know if I hadn’t studied these languages. I am eternally grateful.
Next year, I plan to receive my Masters in Foreign Language Education and ESL at the W & M School of Education. Then, in the years following, I plan to find a job teaching Spanish in the US or English abroad so that I can share my passion for languages and cultures with others. I also hope to travel as much as possible, return to Brazil to solidify my Portuguese, learn Italian, and write a novel about all of my adventures.