Davíd Zager, a May 2017 graduate in comparative American studies and Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies, has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Brazil. He will teach in a public university from February to November 2018, coinciding with the Brazilian school year.
With the Fulbright, Zager is fulfilling his interests in becoming an educator and immersing himself in the culture of Brazil. He took Portuguese language courses during his first three years at Oberlin with instructor Isadora Grevan. Through those courses, he was introduced to Capoeira Angola, the Brazilian martial arts and dance form, taught by Associate Professor of Theater and Africana Studies Justin Emeka.
“I started (Capoeira) the fall semester of my junior year, and I’ve been greatly involved ever since,” says Zager, who is from Narberth, Pennsylvania. “Capoeira Angola has taken me to different cities and communities across the United States. I even got to go to Brazil this past winter term with the Oberlin Capoeira Angola student group.”
Zager says he intends to become a lifelong educator. Before he came to Oberlin, he spent a gap year in Israel, where he lived collectively and worked with a youth movement in middle schools and after-school programs. Since then, he has helped teach citizenship classes at El Centro in nearby Lorain, Ohio, and has done ESL tutoring at Southview Middle School, also in Lorain.
He studied abroad his sophomore year with the Oberlin-in-London program, taught by Professor of Comparative American Studies Gina Perez and Associate Professor of Anthropology Baron Pineda. Throughout his Fulbright year, Zager wants to learn more about how race is constructed in Brazil, how it might affect a sense of belonging in the country, and how it compares with the United States. “As a person of mixed heritage, questions relating to this resonate on a personal level and have guided my studies throughout my time at Oberlin. I hope to expand my abilities as an educator as I continue to build a lasting connection to the people and culture of Brazil. I also hope to eat a LOT of açaí!”
After his Fulbright, Zager says he may pursue graduate school or an opportunity for more international experience.