Graduate to Teach in Venezuela on Fulbright Grant

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

PHILADELPHIA (June 15, 2011) - Gabrielle Fulco ’11 of East Hartford, Conn., was awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) to teach in Venezuela during the 2011-12 academic year. A graduate of East Catholic High School in Manchester, Conn., Fulco majored in international relations with minors in Latin American studies and Spanish at Saint Joseph’s University. She will teach English and American culture at the Centro Venezolano Americano Bi-National Center in Caracas. A member of Phi Beta Kappa and Alpha Sigma Nu, Fulco will depart for Venezuela in mid-September.

While at Saint Joseph’s, Fulco tutored Spanish-speaking high school students at Congreso de Latinos Unidos in Philadelphia and led conversation groups with ESL (English as a Second Language) students on campus. The recipient of the Matthew G. Sullivan, S.J., Latin American Studies Award, Fulco applied to the Fulbright program in Venezuela because of her interest in the country’s political turbulence.

During her time in Caracas, Fulco hopes to gain a better understanding of Venezuelan political dynamics. “Many people say that the U.S. does not have the best relationship with Venezuela, but at the same time, they are a business partner – much of our oil comes from there,” says Fulco. “It will also be fascinating to learn the views of citizens on what is happening in their country.”

Fulco studied at the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú in Lima during her junior year at Saint Joseph’s and received the Greater Philadelphia Latin American Studies Consortium Travel Grant to continue her stay into the summer. For a class in Peruvian social reality, she volunteered at a non-governmental organization, La Casa de Panchita, and traveled to high schools to speak to adolescent girls about their rights as workers. Learning about the struggles the girls faced daily and then witnessing them first-hand was the catalyst that sparked Fulco’s interest in Latin American studies.

Recently, Fulco led a group of SJU students on a service immersion trip to Guatemala. Although her plans are not yet set, she is considering attending graduate school for Latin American studies after returning from Venezuela.

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, the Fulbright ETA program provides funding for grantees to teach English in elementary and secondary education environments in order to improve their students’ language abilities and knowledge of the United States. Designed to promote mutual understanding and facilitate cultural exchange, ETA recipients are usually placed in schools outside of capital cities, and are integrated fully into the host community.

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