Brianna Eastridge ’12 writes to PLAS about her studies abroad

Dear Program in Latin American Studies,

As a rising junior in the anthropology department, I was able to do an internship in Rio de Janeiro with the Fulbright Commission/Education USA because of PLAS’ gracious funding towards my expenses to travel there. This internship completely changed my mind about study abroad and widened the scope of my intellectual interests at Princeton. I want to personally thank the PLAS for giving me this opportunity and allowing me to have this wonderful experience.

I chose this particular internship because I have always been interested in education and education policy, especially associated with underprivileged students in urban environments. I am also getting a certificate in the Latin American Studies department and my academic interests have included many topics in Latin America. This particular internship seemed to fit not only my academic interests but also many passions I have for my future goals. The Fulbright Commission serves as a type of college counseling for Brazilian students who wish to study in the U.S. As an intern for them, I had many projects assigned to me ranging from basic office work to researching educational programs and providing advice from my experience from attending a university in the U.S.

Two of my happiest moments would have to have been the presentations I gave at three different English speaking institutions in Brazil. They were in rural/poorer areas and I never would have been able to experience what the lifestyles in those areas were like if it weren’t for this project. My other happy moment would have to have been meeting local Brazilians and forming a friendship with them because not only was it amazing to learn about their lives, but it was great to know that we were making an impact on their lives and able to change their viewpoint of Americans/university students.

Overall, traveling to Brazil this summer changed my perspective on all aspects of my life-academic and personal. I may not have ever had this opportunity if it were not through the financial aid I received from PLAS and the hard work that the office of international programs puts in every year to make these kinds of experiences a reality for many students like me. I want the PLAS to know that their help was invaluable to my experience as a Princeton student and that they are doing a wonderful job by helping other students experience the same very thing through other opportunities.

Thank you!

Best Wishes,

Brianna Eastridge

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