Sara Hales, who graduated this spring from Hendrix with a degree in classics, was selected for a 2014-2015 Fulbright U.S. Student Award to Italy.
Following an orientation in Rome in the first week of October, Hales, a Conway native, will teach at two secondary schools – Istituto Tecnico Commerciale "Paolo Savi" and Liceo Ginnasio "M. Buratti" in the city of Viterbo, located in the Lazio Region.
The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program of the United States. Hales will represent the United States as a cultural ambassador while she is overseas, helping to enhance mutual understanding between Americans and the people in Italy. She will join more than 100,000 Fulbright U.S. Student Program alumni who have undertaken grants since the program began in 1946.
"Since the summer of 2011, when I participated in the Hendrix-in-Florence program and spent a month absorbing the language and culture of that historic city, I have been anxious to get back to Italy," Hales said. "As a classicist, all of Italy is fascinating to me, but having an assignment so close to Rome is a dream. I am thrilled that I will get to see, in person, the places and monuments that I learned about in my classics courses at Hendrix. But I am more thrilled for the adventure that will be making personal connections with people from another continent. To live and work with Italians for nine months, to teach students who have so much to teach me about their home and culture, is the opportunity of a lifetime."
"Of course I have a lot to share about the English language and American culture, but I have just as much to learn about the Italian language and culture, and how the Italian identity manifests in the people of Viterbo," she said. "The teaching experience that I will gain over the next year will benefit me when I return to the States, since I hope to become a professor and will be teaching undergrad courses while I pursue my PhD. But the mutual exchange of language and culture, and language as culture, that I get to participate in will be just as important in helping me to expand myself and my perspective as I move forward in this ever-more-global society. Fulbright has given me the opportunity to share part of myself with people who want to share themselves, and that exchange is priceless."
"My four years at Hendrix College have prepared me so well for this upcoming year. I was always interested in learning Italian, but Hendrix-in-Florence allowed me to really pursue that interest the summer after my freshman year. That experience opened my eyes to the beauty of Italian life and language," Hales said. "Since then, my work in classics has intersected with various aspects of modern-day Italy, and I will carry that knowledge and those connections with me next year. I also cannot say enough good things about the Hendrix faculty who taught me how to write and present well. My communication skills are going to get a workout in Viterbo, so I’m grateful to those who have prepared me for that."