Julia Pearlstein-Levy hopes to gain a deeper understanding of Mexico’s influence on the United States with a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship. A May 2015 graduate with a Latin American studies major and environmental studies minor, Pearlstein-Levy hopes to use her time in Mexico to “spark honest, compassionate communication between our two communities.”
“Both countries share history, populations, and cultural influence, so studying in Mexico will allow me to connect directly with Mexican populations in the U.S.,” she says. “I would also love to share what I have learned with my future students if I pursue a career as a bilingual educator as American textbooks often fail to highlight Mexico as a vital country that continues to influence the U.S. today.”
A native of Montclair, New Jersey, Pearlstein has gained teaching and study abroad experience while at Oberlin. She spent a summer teaching computer skills in Otavalo, Ecuador, as well as a semester and subsequent winter term in Costa Rica, where she conducted research on conservation and sustainability. She also interned with a local artist, Ana Ovares, for a project to create a public mural out of trash. She developed a friendship with Ovares and returned the following winter term to help her open a local art studio and business that sells natural and herbal medicines.
Pearlstein-Levy also has been a teacher with Oberlin’s Spanish in the Elementary Schools program; she ran an environmental education program last summer at a raptor center in New Jersey; and served as an educator at the American Museum of Natural History in New York for a winter-term project.
After the nine-month Fulbright exchange, she hopes to teach at a bilingual school or work for an organization that provides immigrant services. “I would like to better understand, relate to, and communicate with people whose voices I will aim to project.”