Fulbright Language Teaching Assistant
Ana Paula Rezende de Mello hopes to inspire others through teaching – and she plans to do that for the next year at Davidson County Community College. De Mello, a native of Belo Horizonte, the capital city in Minas Gerais, Brazil, is spending time in the United States as a Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant.
The Fulbright FLTA Program, which enables young educators to refine their teaching skills, increase their English language proficiency and extend their knowledge of the cultures and customs of the U.S., will allow de Mello a chance to live and learn while sharing her own culture with students at DCCC.
“I found out about the FLTA Program through a friend who told me I should apply,” de Mello says. “This was a perfect opportunity for me. The program mission is how I always wanted to live my life – by sharing my culture and having a better understanding of American culture, too. One of the ways I will share mine is by teaching my native language, Portuguese.”
In fact, de Mello will teach a Portuguese course to students on campus that will not only incorporate language, but also help represent her country in the best way possible by sharing Brazilian customs and culture.
“I want to create a curiosity in students about my country,” de Mello says. “I also hope to work on concepts that Americans have about Brazil.”
Suzanne LaVenture, director of International Education and instructor of Spanish at DCCC, says the college is truly fortunate to have de Mello on campus this year.
“We are excited to have the opportunity to offer Portuguese again this year. This experience gives our students another global language option, as well as a remarkable opportunity to learn another global perspective,” LaVenture says. “Brazil is extremely important on the world stage, and the ability to learn Portuguese and Brazilian culture will provide our students with a competitive edge in addition to learning about a rich and varied country.”
During her time at DCCC, de Mello anticipates improving her English skills, as well as raising her own personal awareness about American culture in general. She also looks forward to the challenges of teaching.
“It’s a very difficult job if you think about it. You’re not only a person who gives students information and clarification, but also a person who has the ability to inspire those students about their future lives,” de Mello says. “I’m grateful to be a teacher.”