Kristina Rosales was already fluent in English, Spanish, and Russian, and she possessed French language skills, when she accepted the Boren Scholarship to study in Brazil. Before being awarded a 2008 Boren Scholarship, Kristina studied Portuguese for two years as an undergraduate student at the University of Miami, while majoring in international affairs and Latin American studies. The growing cultural and political influence of Brazil as a prominent South American country, as well as her personal interest in U.S.-Latin American relations, compelled Kristina to study Portuguese and the economic and political relationship of Brazil with the United States.
Kristina selected a study abroad program that would allow her to acquire a comprehensive knowledge and understanding of the Portuguese language. Kristina began her overseas study at an intermediate-high Portuguese level, and she took classes at Pontificia Universidade Catolica do Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio) to advance her language learning goals. Outside of her classes, Kristina found herself in constant contact with the Portuguese language, as she lived with a Brazilian family and two other students. City tours and field trips also provided Kristina opportunities to practice her language skills while learning about the culture of Brazil. By the end of her stay, Kristina scored an advanced-mid on the ACTFL scale for Portuguese.
Kristina’s other academic goals during her year in Brazil were fueled by her interest in Brazilian international affairs. Kristina took courses on Brazil’s economy, the sociology of urban movements in Brazil, and international relations. Through these courses, Kristina left with an increased understanding of Brazil’s politics, economic development, social issues, and environmental issues.
Kristina plans to graduate from the University of Miami in May and is currently applying to graduate schools. She plans on returning to Brazil in order to conduct research as part of her graduate studies. In the future, Kristina hopes to become a Foreign Service Officer for the Department of State.
Written: November 2009