My Fulbright Experience: Jessica da Silva
My housemates and I at the local Farmers Market in Davis
Fulbrighter in action
My mom and I during our trip around California, here in Sacramento
The famous Golden Gate Bridge during the sunset in San Francisco
«It all began when I travelled to the U.S. for the first time in January 2022 with a suitcase full of mixed emotions. On the one hand, I was apprehensive to be alone in a country so far away from mine without my family or my friends. But on the other hand, I was really excited to discover this amazing country and its culture that so many people dream about.
Putting my fears aside, I arrived at the Department of Biomedical Engineering of the huge University of California, Davis, to complete part of my Ph.D. project. During these last seven months, I developed and characterized polymeric delivery systems, learning several concepts and methodologies about biomaterials, hydrogels and rheology.
Aside from my professional growth, I also had the opportunity to meet wonderful people, genuinely empathic and helpful, who willingly shared with me their traditions and culture. Indeed, I fully immersed myself in the west coast American culture, visiting cities from North (Davis, Sacramento, South Lake Tahoe, San Francisco, Sausalito) to South California (Los Angeles, Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica). Likewise, I proudly shared my own Portuguese traditions, culinary recipes and culture. In other words, this experience has been truly broadening my horizons, while emphasizing the power of cultural diversity and the consequent importance of international exchange.
Now, I’m currently in the last days of my abroad experience, facing the same initial feeling of mixed emotions. This time there is the overwhelming thrill in coming back home and returning to my loved ones, my family and my friends, but also the melancholy meaning that this experience is coming to an end. What is left is to enjoy the remaining time that I still have and make the most of it.
This has been such an enriching and empowering experience that made me grow both personally and professionally and will definitely leave “SAUDADES”. A heartfelt thank you to Fulbright for this wonderful experience and for all the support!»
Thank you, Jessica, and welcome back!