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French Major Receives Fulbright to Teach English Abroad

May 4, 2018

Picture of Joseph Rojas, Jr.

Picture of Joseph Rojas, Jr.
Fulbright recipient Joseph Rojas, Jr.

Joseph Rojas, Jr., ’18, will graduate with a BA in global studies, French studies, and Spanish and Portuguese studies. He was recently awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant award to supplement English language instruction abroad in 2018-2019. We asked Joseph about his award, his studies, and his plans for the future.

Where will you be teaching?

I received a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) to Brazil! I have yet to find out where exactly I will be teaching, but as I understand it I will have the opportunity to select a top (and bottom) three cities from the universities receiving ETAs in 2019. Fortunately, Professor Sophia Beal in the Department of Spanish & Portuguese Studies has said that she will assist me in selecting my top three! As of right now,I would most like to be sent to cities in the state of Minas Gerais, such as Belo Horizonte or Uberlândia.

What will you be doing with your Fulbright award?

As an ETA in Brazil, I will be teaching English in a university, where my responsibilities may include developing and leading language learning activities and classes, as well as promoting U.S. culture through cultural and social programs, for approximately 20-25 hours each week. However, as ETAs only spend 20-25 hours each week fulfilling those duties, it is expected that I engage in other activities wherever I am sent. I would especially like to join and support LGBTQ rights groups, audit courses related to international law or politics if possible, and perhaps find a book club to continue my literary and cultural studies, or even learn dances like samba or forró outside of the classroom.

How did you decide to apply for a Fulbright award?

I discovered what the Fulbright was as a freshman when I met with my advisor, Kristin Farrell, for the first time. Over the years, I was lucky enough to have her remind me on more than one occasion that I'd be a great candidate for an award, and it was ultimately her recommendation my junior year that incentivized me to apply! Having received a FLAS Fellowship to study Portuguese for just two months in Florianópolis, Brazil (I have since gone on to help translate a portion of Tim Maia's biography from Portuguese into English, studied Lusophone literature and culture, and worked as a counselor at Concordia Language Villages' Portuguese immersion camp Mar e Floresta), after months and months of waiting, I was ecstatic to finally know that I would have the chance to go back!

How did your studies as a French major influence your decision to apply?

My studies as a French major influenced my decision as well. After studying in Nantes, France, for a semester last spring, I wanted to go back for an even longer period of time and conquer France on my own, just not as a student. I decided to apply to the Teaching Assistant Program in France (TAPIF) as well, and although I will be headed to Brazil through Fulbright, I intend to reapply to TAPIF and make my way back to France!

Anything else you’d like us to know about your studies, your Fulbright, or you?

Beyond incredible opportunities like Fulbright or TAPIF, I have taken a job offer as a Bilingual Legal Assistant for Wilson Law Group in Minneapolis and my current plans, hopes, and dreams are to go on to graduate school and law school in the future!