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Latin American Studies FLAS Fellowship

Katie Drown is a senior majoring in World Economy & Business and Portuguese. She was awarded a Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship (FLAS) through the Center for Latin American Studies at Ohio State.

"Thank you for awarding me a 2012 Summer and 2013 Academic FLAS Fellowship. With the summer FLAS I traveled to Florianópolis, SC, Brazil and studied for seven weeks earning high marks and six transferable credits. I benefitted from the exposure to southern Brazilian culture and gained knowledge by familiarizing myself with the renowned cities of Blumenau and Curitiba. The academic year FLAS has also benefitied me greatly by allowing me to focus on school rather than financial burdens. Overall the FLAS fellowships have helped me to become a fluent Portuguese speaker, learn firsthand the culture of southern Brazil and fuel my passion and goal to work as a business woman between the USA and Brazil.

My passion for Brazil and the Portuguese language began while living in the city of Piracicaba, São Paulo from August 2009 until June 2010 as a Rotary Exchange Student. While there I attended high school and language school. I was involved in many extracurricular activities such as plays, dancing lessons, and multiple solo musical performances. In February of 2010 I got a job in a language school where I taught English for four months. I made many friends and developed lasting relationships that still continue today. Because of my success with the language and the culture I was inspired to continue to study Portuguese and to focus my academic career towards Brazil.

I am very committed to the region. I have spent the past three years studying the country's language, literature, economics and history. During spring quarter of 2012 I interned as a Portuguese teacher for the Mosaic Homeschool Program teaching basic Portuguese and Brazilian culture to students between the ages of four and ten. Outside of classes I stay updated with Brazilian current events. Learning as much as I can about Brazil and the language is crucial to my career goals. I am currently fluent in Portuguese and hope to reach a level near to native fluency so that I can be competitive in the internaional job market as well as qualify to be an interpreter or translator. I hope to reach this fluency level so that I may be hired to work at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

I firmly believe that I am capable of nearing this level of fluency with hard work and by spending the fall semester of 2013 at the ESALQ branch of the University of São Paulo in Piracicaba, SP. While there I will study alongside my Brazilian peers. I plan to take business and economics classes in the hope that they will teach me the Brazilian business culture that I will need to know in the future. The classes I have taken here at OSU, especially those taught in Portuguese, have prepared me for this experience."