After graduation, Mitchell Collins ’19 (Richmond, Kentucky) will embark on a new adventure as an English Teaching Assistant (ETA) in Asunción, Paraguay, as a Fulbright Scholar. He will also lead presentations and cultural programs on U.S.–Paraguay relations and the U.S. at large.
“My interest in the Fulbright stems from two different sources,” Collins said. “Since high school, I’ve always known that I wanted to use my love of language learning to explore educational and professional opportunities abroad. As I’ve gone through my undergraduate career, I’ve realized that I also have an interest in pursuing diplomacy as a career through the U.S. Foreign Services. The Fulbright allows me to complement my passion for language and travel with interpersonal and cultural exchange as a form of diplomacy.”
Before receiving the award, Collins said he thinks he discounted the amount of work he put into all the steps leading up to being selected as a finalist.
“I think that being afforded this opportunity is indicative of how enriched I have been by the faculty members and peers at Centre who have continually challenged me to push my own comfort boundaries and reach higher than I think I would have on my own,” he added.
Collins said he’s looking forward to challenging himself to adapt to and learn from living in a country that historically has very little connection to the U.S., as well as learning Guarani, Paraguay’s second national language.
“While living and teaching in Paraguay, I hope to create authentic and lasting relationships with community members to develop a better understanding of what it means to be a U.S. citizen outside of the U.S. and how I can better advocate for efforts to learn from others through education and interpersonal connections,” he said.
As a Spanish and international studies double major, Collins firmly believes that he would not be prepared for this experience if it weren’t for these programs.
“Faculty members in both programs have been integral in my learning to think critically, holistically and remember how much context matters to an understanding of the world and my place in it,” Collins concluded. “The personal support that my professors have provided me has also given me the encouragement to believe in my ability to take what I learn in the classroom and apply it through opportunities like the Fulbright.”
by Kerry Steinhofer
May 14, 2019