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Fulbright Assistant Brings Northwestern Brazilian Culture to UGA Students

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Welcome to Victória Lane Silva! This is her first semester teaching Portuguese to UGA students as a Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant (FTLA) in the Department of Romance Languages. She shares her reflections on the importance of language learning and culture:

My name is Victória Lane Silva, and I am from Salvador, Bahia — the first capital of Brazil and a study abroad destination for current UGA students who are learning Portuguese.  I always like to introduce myself by recounting that I am the daughter of Joanai and Jocemir, sister of João and Jaci, because they are a big part of who I am. As a Black girl from the northwest of Brazil it took some time until I believed I could learn a foreign language and that I could dream of studying or working abroad. The first time I heard about the Fulbright program was from an English teacher in a class I used to take at an NGO in my city. She was a Black woman like me and a Fulbright alum. Today, the fact that I am at UGA working as a Portuguese language TA is the result of my own trajectory, but also those of others that began long before mine.

I have been an English and Portuguese teacher since 2017. Currently, I am pursuing my M.A in Cultural and Intersemiotic Translation from the Postgraduate Program Literature and Culture (UFBA), developing research on the translation of Afro-Diasporic texts. I was once told that my greatest methodological tool is my experiences, and that they will never be disassociated from my Black body. For me, it is important to emphasize this, because it will always influence my actions. I am passionate about the power of interactions between people, what I can learn from others, what they can learn from me, and what more I can learn about myself. Thus, being at UGA is my chance to present my culture with all its contradictions, but at the same time learn more about it from other perspectives. The FLTA program selects Brazilian teachers to be not only Portuguese language teaching assistants, but also cultural ambassadors of our country's diversity. So, together with all colleagues in the Portuguese program, we teach the language without dissociating it from the culture.

I believe my role at UGA is to bring not only my perspective as a Brazilian but also to help create spaces for voices that, because of prejudice, discrimination, and racism are constantly ignored. It has been almost three months since I arrived in Athens, and I have found an amazing community. I am so happy I am surrounded by a diverse group of Americans and international students willing to learn and live experiences together.


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