Fulbright recipient arranging return to study abroad in Spain

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Amanda Brea says she has ‘unfinished business’ in Spain after her study abroad program was interrupted by the pandemic in 2020. Fortunately, she will return to the country in September to start a teaching job of nine months financed by the American Fulbright Student Program.

Brea, who will graduate from Northeastern this spring with a degree in theater and marketing, will depart this fall for the Canary Islands to begin teaching English. All living and travel costs will be covered by the Fulbright grant.

Brea has been interested in Spain since her first year of university when she first read a play by Spanish playwright Federico García Lorca.

“I knew that the translation of his work did not convey the rhythm and tone specific to the Spanish language,” she says. “I knew I was missing something by not reading the play in its original language, and it ignited my passion for learning Spanish.”

Brea, who is half Argentinian, says she didn’t grow up speaking Spanish even though her father is fluent. “My mother doesn’t speak Spanish, so we didn’t speak it at home,” she says. Now, she says she is determined to learn the language and reconnect with her Argentinian roots.

While in Spain, Brea hopes to tap into the local theater community when she is not busy with her teaching job. The last time she went to Spain for her study abroad program, Brea got a list of theater contacts from Antonio Ocampo-Guzmanthe chairman of the Northeast Theater Department, who has an extensive network of acquaintances in the region.

“The last time I was in Spain, I was able to join a theater troupe and meet Spanish theater students,” she says. “I hope I can continue where I left off because I really want that cross-cultural perspective in my art.”

Although Brea has no experience teaching English specifically, she has a long history of teaching theater at a summer camp in her hometown of Greenwich, Connecticut. For the past seven years, Brea has directed and produced musicals with children ages 7-14.

“I work with the ensembles doing team building exercises and helping them build their confidence,” she says. “It’s something I like to do. I look forward to it every summer.

Brea says she learned these skills from the woman who runs the theater program. “I’ve known her since I was 6 years old,” she says. “She’s like a second mom to me, so hopefully I can pass on what she taught me.”

Additionally, Brea has experience mentoring with the Los Huskies Mentors program, formerly part of Northeastern’s Latinx Student Cultural Center, and she plans to merge her experience as a theater teacher with her mentoring skills in her new English teacher job.

In Spain, Brea will also have to participate in a community service project. She plans to facilitate public speaking classes for community members, especially for marginalized groups who she hopes can use these skills to advocate for positive change.

“At first, I didn’t think it was something I was capable of doing,” she says. “But I think my interdisciplinary experience at Northeastern will benefit me in this teaching role. Theater is a form of communication, and I hope I can translate this knowledge into my teaching practice.

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