The summer before enrolling at NYU, John Leake (BA ’18) stayed with a host family in Yaroslavl, his first real introduction to Russian culture. The Memphis, Tennessee, native studied Russian for four years as an undergraduate while developing a concentration centered around nationalism and revolutionary movements, with a specific focus on Russia. This coming fall, he’ll return to Russia as a Fulbright fellow. Leake’s fellowship, an English Teaching Assistantship Fulbright to Russia, will enable him to spend a year instructing university students in English while delving deeper into Russian life and culture. Says Leake, “Even though it’s a small action—me going to Russia to teach English—my being there and learning from Russians and them from me can lead to good things.”
“I’m looking forward to being in a brand new environment and to working with students, and learning what the education system looks like in Spain,” says Philadelphia, Pennsylvania native and Gallatin graduate Madeleine Perlmutter (BA ’18) who has been awarded an English Teaching Assistantship Fulbright. In the fall, she’ll head to the Canary Islands, a Spanish archipelago located off the coast of northwestern Africa. During her sophomore year, Perlmutter did a study away program in Madrid, which offered her a chance to build fluency in Spanish. Her concentration at Gallatin, Education Studies and Child and Adolescent Development, paired with her study away experience, has prepared her well for her placement: instructing elementary students in English.
Alison Del Handel (BA ’18), who hails from suburban Los Angeles and is the daughter of an American mother and Brazilian father, has received an open research grant to Brazil to look at the lives of a Jewish community who live in Manaus, capital of the state of Amazona, located in northwestern Brazil. The members of this community are descended from Sephardic Jews who came to Brazil during the rubber trade boom and indigenous Brazilians. Noting the urgency of her project, Handel cites the economic conditions in Brazil and the fact that younger members of the community are leaving for other parts of the world. “Many of these young people will move to Israel,” she says, “Since Israel is legally obligated to find them housing, help with job training and is a place which is more stable. Furthermore, they’ll probably marry Israelis and have kids there and the kids may know a bit about the culture back in Brazil, but may stay in Israel and then the next thing you know--this unique hybrid culture culture will be gone.” Handel’s undergraduate work at Gallatin focused on the intersection of international development and human rights, with a minor in documentary filmmaking. In Brazil, she plans to create a film that looks at the Jewish community in Manaus and how it has culturally intersected with the indigenous populations of the region.