In spring 2016, Julia DeLaRosa will pack her bags and the teaching skills she has acquired at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and head for Brazil.
DeLaRosa is one of five UNL students who have earned Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship grants for the 2015-2016 academic year. For her, the award will not only be an adventure of teaching English in a classroom, but also the next step in her journey of cross-cultural exchange. She has already traveled to Mexico and Costa Rica and spent five months studying in Spain, and she will travel now to Brazil as both an international student and teacher.
DeLaRosa is no stranger to adapting well to a new environment: She came to UNL after graduating from Reicher Catholic High School in Waco, Texas. A secondary education and Spanish major with an emphasis on English for Language Learners, DeLaRosa has delved into language teaching in Lincoln through her practicums as a Spanish teaching assistant at Lincoln High School and Irving Middle School. She has demonstrated her commitment to diversity and service by her involvement as an international student mentor, a UNL Cultural Ambassador and a cross-cultural mentor through a UNL anthropology class.
She has also helped to fill the need for English tutors through Catholic Social Services. In this role, DeLaRosa has shown she is confident in the face of challenges that may arise while working in Brazil.
"Working in language teaching made the idea of going abroad to teach really exciting for me," she said.
UNL fellowship adviser Laura Damuth said, "Julia has even taken on the study of Portuguese at UNL and could not be more motivated or prepared for the year ahead of her."
The Fulbright Program, established in 1946 and funded by the U.S. Department of State, is designed to foster understanding between the United States and other countries. The Fulbright U.S. Student Program gives recent graduates, grad students and young professionals the opportunity to conduct research, study or teach in one of 155 designated countries. About 8,000 grants are awarded annually, and about 1,600 of those are awarded to U.S. students.
During her time abroad, Julia will serve as a Fulbright cultural ambassador. DeLaRosa plans to engage with the community in Brazil, using her interest and knowledge in music to connect with others.
"What I’m really passionate about is music -- especially choral music," she said. "I would enjoy finding an opportunity to get connected to a community choir or a choral group through the school.”
Upon her return to the United States, DeLaRosa would like to pursue a master's degree in foreign language education to teach Spanish, Portuguese or ELL at the secondary level.
"I definitely want to teach secondary language classes, whether that is at the middle school, or high school, or maybe university level if that becomes a possibility."
Other UNL students who earned Fulbright awards this spring are Jennifer Gotrik, Bryan Howard, Kelsey Lee and Courtney Leikam.