Genesis Garcia – 2017-2018, ETA, Portugal
My name is Genesis Garcia & I was a 2017-2018 Fulbright ETA in Barcelos, Portugal. I’m a proud chapina, daughter of two resilient Guatemalan parents, & hail from Providence, Rhode Island; a tiny yet vibrant city in our country’s smallest state. I was the first in my family to graduate college, getting my degree from Tufts University in American Studies, with a focus on Issues in U.S. Education. Having experienced the stark inequalities transitioning from public to private school throughout my educational career ignited my passion for fighting systems of oppression in educational contexts.
Being from such a tight knit Central American community, it’s rare that anyone ever leaves (going to college out of state--a whopping 45 minutes away--was risqué enough). But after studying abroad in Spain my junior year, my whole world expanded, along with my understanding of what education & oppression looked like in different areas of the world. While abroad I visited Portugal &--for reasons still unbeknownst to me--became enamored with the country. Consequently, I applied to be a Fulbright ETA in Portugal & achieved my dream of living there for 9 whole months.
While in Barcelos, “minha pequena cidade portuguesa,” I single-handedly designed & taught an English conversation course to over 60 Portuguese university students, blending a gamification, social justice, & mindfulness framework within the curriculum. My students discussed issues like environmental racism & immigration policies in the U.S., while uncovering previously unchallenged parallels in Europe & Portugal. Pushing my Portuguese students to think critically about their own identities & the complex history of their own country are some of my proudest teaching moments.
As an Intercultural & Social Justice educator, I aim to provide students, educators, & administrators with resources to take learning beyond the classroom and make a meaningful impact in their global communities. Through the Fulbright Latinx group, I hope to connect with & inspire future grantees to continue using their Fulbright platforms as tools for social change as well.
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