With a variety of goals and ambitions for their year of living and working abroad, seven Tufts Scholars have been awarded Fulbright Fellowships for 2022-2023 and begin their journey in five different countries.
The American Fulbright Student Programwhich was established in 1946 and is administered by the U.S. Department of State, provides a one-year scholarship in which recently graduated undergraduate students and current graduate students spend a year abroad to conduct research, take a graduate program abroad or teach English.
clumps now spoke with five of the Tufts Fulbright Scholars, all graduates of the Tufts Class of 2022, to discuss why they wanted to be Fulbright Scholars and what they hope to gain from their experiences living and working at the foreign. Nico Livon-Navarro, A22, and Carolyn Pelnik, F24, also received Fulbright grants and will work in Brazil and Nigeria respectively.
Max Goldfarb, A22
Hometown: Wyckoff, New Jersey
Major: International Relations and Spanish
Destination Fulbright: Spain
Max Goldfarb took part in the Bridge year program 1+4 in Ecuador before starting first year and studying abroad in Madrid at Tufts. He discovered that he learned the most in unfamiliar contexts.
“I grew the most sitting with cultural differences and understanding where they come from,” Goldfarb said. “I hope I can be a strong ambassador for my own American culture as well as the microculture of New Jersey and my experience at Tufts.”
Goldfarb will return to Spain for his Fulbright, this time to the northwest region of Galicia, where he will be an English teaching assistant, leading conversation groups and activities with students. As an avid athlete and sports fan, Goldfarb also hopes to find a way to work with students who pursue sports.
Goldfarb, who spent part of last summer leading a group of middle schoolers in Ecuador, hopes to continue working with young people after his Fulbright ends. “I like the energy they bring and the new ideas,” he said. “I I really enjoyed working with children and somehow I would like that to be part of my life.
Sophia Wang, E22
Hometown: Buffalo, New York
Major: Computer Science and Mathematics
Destination Fulbright: Taiwan
For Sophia Wang, an email from Anne Moore, a program specialist in the Office of University Development, caught her eye.
“I didn’t know much about the Fulbright program until I received an email from Anne last semester announcing it as follows: ‘Do you want to go abroad after graduation?’ And I thought, yes of course!
While the idea of living abroad first inspired her, Wang was initially hesitant to apply for the Fulbright. “I thought I didn’t fit the standard Fulbrighter profile,” she said. “I read that over the past few years the candidates had a lot of international experience. Since I only had some teaching experience, I wasn’t sure if that would be enough to qualify me as a contestant.
Despite her concerns, Wang decided to apply, focusing her application on her previous teaching experience and making sure to tie the five essays in her application to an overall goal. — and I got it. Wang will teach English in Yunlin County, southern Taiwan.
Wang looks forward to further exploring her interest in teaching within the Fulbright program. “Throughout high school, I had been really passionate about empowering girls to pursue STEM professions, and I ran workshops to teach girls to code,” Wang said. “I thought a Fulbright would be a great way to explore teaching skills, especially language teaching, because it will be a new challenge for me.”
Wang hopes the Fulbright experience, which she will document about herself Youtube channel, will help him decide on his career path. “I want to use the Fulbright as a way to learn how to teach students, and also to understand what I want to do in the future,” she said.
Before After winning the Fulbright scholarship, Wang accepted a full-time job at McKinsey and Company, a consulting firm, which she will start upon her return. She anticipates that the wide variety of experience she will gain in teaching and consulting will prove useful. “With a bit of luck I can synergize and combine the two to figure out exactly what my path should be,” Wang added.
Jason Smith, A22
Hometown: Blue Bell, Pennsylvania
Major: History and French
Jason Smith studied French culture, language and literature at Tufts, and his grandfather was born in France. Thanks to his Fulbright, Smith will have the chance to live in France.
“I’ve always loved traveling and learning about other cultures,” Smith said. “Working abroad and immersing myself in another country’s language and culture is the best way to do that and really understand how people live elsewhere.”
Smith will work as an English teaching assistant at a high school in Argenteuil, located just outside of Paris. He wants to better understand European culture and society and improve his French skills, but also seeks to put down roots. “I hope to make friends there and make connections that will make me feel at home in Paris,” he said.
Ultimately, Smith wants to use her French skills in her career. “I will probably look for a job after my return from Paris, and I hope to speak French in this job. Hopefully I’ll find a way to do this while I’m at it.
Phoebe Yates, A22
Hometown: Brooklyn, New York
Major: Film and Media Studies
Destination Fulbright: Spain
Phoebe Yates began her Tufts experience by wanting to pursue a major in International Literary and Visual Studies. “I was really interested in finding an intersection between my interests in language and also art and media, especially film,” she said.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, forcing the cancellation of his study abroad program in Spain, Yates changed his major to film and media studies. However, this change of study did not change his interests..
After hearing about the experiences of other Fulbright scholarship students—and discovering that the immersive program would allow him to pursue his literary and visual arts passions and that his experience could be tailored to his interests—Yates decided to apply.
“I think the best way to learn and understand a language is to live among people who speak it fluently,” she said. “That’s always been a huge goal for me.”
Yates will teach English to primary school students in Logroño, in the La Rioja region of Spain, and hopes her experiences there will open doors for her future career.
“I was talking to Jennifer Burton [professor of the practice in the Department of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies], who lived overseas for a year after college,” Yates said. “She thought she was go to doing one thing, but instead it led to something else, then something else. I feel like it’s go to be so for me.
James Freudberg, A22
Hometown: Newton, MA
Major: Film and Media Studies and Spanish
Destination Fulbright: Spain
“I’ve spent most of my life in Massachusetts and New England, and I know there’s a lot more out there,” said Jake Freudberg, who will work as an English language assistant in a primary school in Tenerife in the Spanish Canary Islands.
Freudberg, who was unable to study abroad at Tufts due to the COVID-19 pandemic, was looking for opportunities to spend time abroad after graduating from Tufts, and found the program Fulbright was the most prestigious and would give him the most support.
Freudberg is eager to improve his Spanish skills and learn more about Spanish culture, but also wants to take the opportunity to get out of his comfort zone. “I hope to learn more about myself by experiencing something completely different from what I’m used to.”
Freudberg anticipates that his time in Spain will help him decide what he wants to pursue next. “I may want to teach, so it will be a good opportunity to try being in a classroom. Or if I take another path, I think this experience will give me more perspective on my role in the world, and it could even open new doors for me.