Portuguese Fulbright Scholar, academic year 2013/2014.
Taking my family along on travels for a full year during my Fulbright-funded research visit has been a life-changing time experience for all of us.
My daughter was five years old when we left Portugal in the cold February, 2014. Because of the professional duties at the Centre for Social Studies, University of Coimbra, Portugal, we had to take off in the middle of her school year, knowing that she would start her 1st grade in September in another country, in English. My Brazilian husband had taken a 12-month-leave from his work in Angola in order to accompany us to the USA. It was hard for us to move across the ocean, to get settled in a new house in the States, only to leave it a year after, in the middle of snow storms and extreme cold, but as we look back we find the experience more than rewarding…
Throughout our stay abroad, we were accompanied by the generous help from the Fulbright Program staff both in Portugal and in the U.S. Also, being based at both Brown and Rutgers Universities, I was able to join the Providence and New Jersey Fulbright groups which organized regular meetings, dinners, excursions and cultural programs in the surrounding areas. I was particularly proud of the opportunity to represent my country at the 2014 Fulbright year reception held at New York University, Washington Square, with two hundred other Fulbrighters from all over the world.
During these twelve months I was able to conduct an exploratory research among the Portuguese community of Newark, where local institutions and residents had warmly welcomed my project, my family, and myself. I am very grateful to all the Portuguese men and women who have contributed, in one way or another, for the successful development of my research; to all my American and Luso-American colleagues who have invited me to give lectures and seminars at their universities in Providence, Rutgers, Berkeley, South Florida, and Illinois; and to the old and new friendships that came along from this fantastic year in the USA! It has been a pleasure and an honor to be a Fulbright Visiting Researcher and to live for a whole year near the incomparably wonderful city of New York where I also sang in a Gospel Choir!
Today my little daughter is fluent in English; one of her best friends lives in Hoboken, and my husband and I have lifetime memories that will always make us share our souls/hearts with American colleagues and friends.