Liliana Abreu – Research student, AY 2015-2016
My time abroad as a Fulbright Scholar was absolutely amazing. I arrived to Boston early 2016 and stayed until the summer 2016 and I fell in love with the city almost instantly – the architecture, the history (the Freedom Trail; the Black Heritage Trail and so on…) so many other cultural traditions. Being one of the most academically stimulating places, we can feel “The Spirit of America” as a bostonian, a little taste of the what the American dream should be. I spent most of my days at Harvard campus – Cambridge, at Harvard Gutman Library and Widener Library, the most inspiring places to start writing my PhD thesis.
I worked with many experts in Public Health, with my PhD Co-advisor, Professor Peter Taylor (UMass-Boston) and I took some of his classes and meet his students. I’ve learned how the educational system works in USA and how in the same class we can find a diverse group of students, from different graduations, all of them bringing to discussion their particular perspective (and projects). How inspirational that was!
I had the privilege to be a guest in an advanced course about health literacy (one of my PhD expertise field) at Tufts University, School of Medicine. This was one of the best professional experiences I had in Boston, I felt so motivated and so passionate about my work. Working with such a diverse group of twenty health literacy specialists from all over USA, from Alaska, to Texas and to New York, was so enriching. My contact networks’ is so much wider now. Thanks to Sabrina Kurtz-Rossi for inviting me to be a part of such empowering days.
Finally, my wonderful homestay family, the best I could ask for. Denise and Jorge, from Cambridge, all the incredible Pereira’s family. Generous, kind, successful, active citizens, very sociable, parents of two and grandparents of the two most adorable 4 y.o. boys (now 5y.o.), my adaptation couldn’t be easier. With them I’ve shared their culture and mine, I learned how an American family lives, and, so importantly, I learned how Portuguese people, that moved to USA 50 years ago, adapted and live so well there (Jorge is Portuguese, from Azores), I was involved in the community and went to many events (music, charity), I was volunteer at Harvard Square Annual Fair, discussed politics, economy, work, family, life and love, and so many other things. My American family forever!
I am deeply grateful to Fulbright for all the opportunity and support, specially the Portuguese Commission. My Fulbright experience was life changing. Thanks to the Fulbright grant I had the opportunity to discover a well diverse country, with mixed cultures and realities and so many great friends. I return with a full sense of accomplishment and happiness for having such a remarkable time at USA, both deepening my PhD research interests and broadening new paths.