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KINGSTON,‚ÄďUniversity of Rhode Island senior Meg Frost is determined to learn all she can about Hispanic culture.
She has already traveled to Costa Rica twice, spent a semester in Spain, and worked at a think tank analyzing Central American politics. Now she‚Äôs headed to Colombia as a Fulbright Fellow to teach English to college students, take classes, and engage in a community service project.
‚ÄúThe Fulbright Program is all about being a cultural ambassador for the United States and promoting cross-cultural dialog through education,‚ÄĚ said Frost, a resident of South Kingstown. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs going to be an intense intellectual and educational experience, while at the same time being great fun.‚ÄĚ
She leaves for Colombia in July for 10 months of what Frost describes as ‚Äúthe only piece of the puzzle that I‚Äôm missing.
‚ÄúAfter studying so much about Latin America and learning Spanish, I‚Äôm looking forward to putting faces on the theories that I‚Äôve been studying,‚ÄĚ she said.
Frost enrolled at URI as a communications major, but quickly fell in love with political science.
‚ÄúI loved studying something beyond my hometown, beyond myself, something larger, knowing that something else was out there,‚ÄĚ she said. ‚ÄúI also loved applying political theories to real life events.‚ÄĚ
Her interest in the Spanish language, which started with classes in high school, led her to spend a semester in Spain during her sophomore year at URI.
‚ÄúMy host family said that my Spanish sounded like I was from Mexico or Puerto Rico, and their goal was to make me speak like a Spaniard,‚ÄĚ she said. ‚ÄúI‚Äôve been told, at least accent-wise, that they succeeded.‚ÄĚ
When she returned to Rhode Island, she struggled to find opportunities to speak Spanish until she became a volunteer with the Rhode Island Family Literacy Initiative and started teaching immigrants to speak English.
‚ÄúI was seeking exposure to the Hispanic community,‚ÄĚ Frost said. ‚ÄúI really enjoyed the feeling I got from being around people with different cultural backgrounds.‚ÄĚ
That passion, and her fluency with the Spanish language, led her to a summer job at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a think tank in Washington, D.C., where she conducted research on Mexican and Andean region politics and economics. She read and analyzed news articles in Spanish about what was happening in the region, attended events with senior officials from Latin American countries, and quickly learned to love economics.
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