Welcome to LatinaGuides.com. Why the name? As a first generation Latina, I have overcome numerous challenges, encountered uncomfortable situations and experienced complete disorientation at various points of my professional career. In the midst of all this, I have also become passionate about my community, developed meaningful relationships and evolved as scholar, activist, and researcher. During my undergraduate studies, graduate school and now abroad, I have wondered how I should carry forward with the multiple identities I hold, more importantly I’ve wondered what my community would say. That same curiosity and honest yearning to connect with other Latinas to provide support and share tools, is what motivates me to create this space. The LatinaGuides.com can be used as a tool; you can pick it up whenever you need some sound advice, up lifting motivation, and sharp commentary on current issues. Sharing our experience and knowledge is important and vital to each other’s success. I hope you share your experiences with our community!
4 Things to Consider When Teaching Cover Letter Writing Outside the U.S
Writing a cover letter as an undergraduate student is a difficult task, writing a cover letter as an English learner in a country outside the United States, is a far beyond challenging. In a growing study abroad, cultural exchange, and English language expansion, students are eager to learn how to write a cover letter. U.S prestigious universities and high-ranking programs continue to be destinations students strive for. If you are teaching students how to write a cover letter in a foreign country and they want to apply for U.S jobs, schools, or programs, consider this.
1.Clarify Purpose of a Cover Letter
Before you have students write a cover letter, take a step back. Explain what a cover letter is, it’s purpose, format and organization. Use various examples to highlight the purpose of a cover letter and how it is used within a U.S context. When do you need a cover letter? What should you consider before writing a cover letter? With these questions in mind, engage student in a discussion to further explain this writing format.
2.Explain Transferable Skills
As students, it can be difficult to extract skills learned from past or current experiences. Even when students are able to, it is challenging to articulate the skills set with in a U.S writing culture, employment jargon, and particular field. Thanks to the Internet, hoping you have access to Internet, you can have students search for cover letter examples in their particular field. Having an example can be extremely helpful in conveying the skill set, language, and experiences in their particular interest. The objective is helping students’ extract their skills set and articulate how they can apply their skill in way a U.S hiring official can understand.
3.Describe the Context
You know what it is like to apply for a job or a research assistant position in the U.S, but your students in another country don’t. How do hiring processes work? What do graduate, study abroad or internship programs look for in foreign students? What do your students know about U.S employment and education entrance processes? Consider taking some time to explain how U.S employment and university entrance process differ from their country. Sharing some of the differences can help students better contextualize the U.S experience while helping students figure out how to prepare for a new experience.
4. Be Aware of Cultural Differences
Not all countries share a similar hiring process or writing format. What’s more, countries differ culturally and that means that educational, employment, and personal experiences can be starkly different than your own. Living in a different country and speaking a different language exposes different organizational structures, collective cultural practices vs U.S individual cultural upbringing. The mere fact that a cover letter has many “I did this”, “ I value this” …says a lot about U.S culture. Be ready to learn about your students and their culture, not only will you be a better teacher, you will also be able to interpret the relevance of a cover letter more appropriately.
A Fulbright grant in Brazil, post 2014 World Cup, evokes an urge to travel, advance research projects, and branch into an intercultural exchange. But the experience in Brazil on a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) grant is more than collaborative teaching and cutting edge research, for People of Color, it is partaking in an international experience where racism transcend borders, language, and culture.
Brazil is often considered a racial democracy, however despite the imagined racial harmony of Brazil, tense discriminatory confrontations and typical stereotypes continue to follow United States Fulbright People of Color in Brazil. They are labeled as non-American because their skin color, multi-syllable last names, and regional accent defy the “American” Brazilians expect. Motivated by their collective experiences, a group of Fulbright ETAs, self-identifying as People of Color, created a group called the Fulbright People of Color Collective. Their purpose is to create a platform for ongoing conversation concerning their experiences as People of Color, to move beyond a U.S understanding of race relations, and most importantly, create diverse language learning material that speaks to U.S diversity. At the forefront, the Fulbright People of Color Collective seeks to fulfill the Fulbright mission, to engage in cultural exchange and examine the similarities and differences that define international experiences.
During the orientation period at my host university in Brazil, I filled out a registration form and wrote my full name with my two last names. Fidgeting with my forms, the technician looked up at me and said, “well your name is not American,” to which another faculty responded, “Well, only two of the six Fulbright Fellows are American.” At first, I was perplexed by her remark, moments later I realized that the faculty meant to say that only two of the Fulbright Grantees are visibly white, while the other four are Brown, Black, and Biracial. To the outside perception, evidently, American is equivalent to white, anyone violating this upheld norm, is automatically labeled as an immigrant, non-US representative or outsider.
As a Fulbright Grantee, and ambassador of the U.S, people take second looks, question how American I am and question why I live in the U.S. When I explain I am a dual citizen of the U. S and Mexico, it is no surprise people ask, “Is there a large population of Mexicans in the U.S?” It is not enough to state that indeed there is a large Mexican population. It is imperative to explain the circumstance under which Mexicans have fled Mexico, like my family, and point to the numerous Mexican families that have lived on the U.S side of the border for decades, before it was considered the U.S.
The first personal statement I ever wrote was extremely difficult. However, with the support of friends, countless visits to writing centers, my adviser, and a book, Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer, I developed a writing process that helped me identify important strategies to write an effective personal statement and grant statement for a Fulbright Fellowship. This guide will help you organize your writing and identify important components to develop a cohesive personal statement. The writing structure and components follow a similar format for scholarships and other fellowships essays, feel free to modify. Regardless of the outcome, this process will turn you into a better write! Let’s begin…
Personal statements are personal, and it can only serve its purpose if you can transmit an honest and yet compelling narrative of what makes you unique. Begin the paragraph by sharing a story, a moment that captures what you are passionate about and what you continue to strive for. Be sure the story can speak to your character. Draw the story out, capture your reader with details, fine points, particular background information that helps the reader visualize this moment. Conclude the paragraph by stating how this moment triggered your passion and motivation to work for a specific cause or with a particular population.
I first studied in Brazil in 2010, and five years later I returned on a Fulbright Fellowship ETA. While I was completing my application, I thought, what is the difference between a personal statement and grant statement? After careful review and advice from my campus fellowship director, I drafted a grant statement that spoke to my experience working with youth, teaching skills, and goals. Centered around the mission of the Fulbright program, and this specific grant, I share this guide. Hope this helps you in your application process!
Grab the attention of your reader by sharing an anecdote, a story or an “aha” moment that captures your unique experience. How did you become passionate about your area of study, when did you join movement, or a social cause? Connect this moment, anecdote, and passion with the mission and vision of the program you are applying for. Details are critical in these sentences, as they begin to paint a picture of you. Conclude the first paragraph by weaving the hook with the details in order to show how combined they prepare you to embark on this fellowship.
Have you considered applying for a prestigious fellowship, but don’t know how to start? Beginning a fellowship or a big scholarship application process can be an intimidating undertaking, however if you have a clear plan and a guided strategy, you can deliver and anchor a strong application.
If you want to apply for a fellowship, consider this: the process is overrated and glorified by some. If you feel unworthy or underprepared, these simple steps invite you to see the process as less of a unique ability and more as a disciplined process.
I gathered these strategies after my second attempt to apply for a Fulbright Fellowship. My first attempt, during college, proved to be challenging task. I was discouraged after I learned that my institution offered limited resources and little guidance, as a first generation college student I felt overwhelmed and underprepared so I did not complete my application. My second attempt, in graduate school, I submitted an application and was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to Brazil. What was the difference? What did I learn? Coupled with opportunity, discipline, optimal use of resources at hand, and a clear strategy I worked to deliver my absolute best and chart myself as a strong candidate. During the application process, I learned more about myself, the craft of writing, and discipline than I would have if I had not submitted an application. I realize now that we don’t all have the same resources and yet we have opportunities, so I hope this serves as a guide to help you accept the opportunity and walk your hands to your keyboard and begin your application process.
Research, but Don’t Dwell on It
When I began to do research about fellowships, all I knew was that I wanted to study abroad. Before you begin a fellowship application process, ask yourself these questions: Are your interest, experiences, and or personal goals fitting to the mission of the program? Do you have the skills that will help you excel in the fellowship?
Hi! I am Marlenee, a Latina currently in Brazil completing a Fulbright Fellowship grant.
When I was in graduate school and now as I am completing my grant in Brazil, I wondered if there was guide on how to do research, travel, and carry forward with my career plans as a Latina. In the middle of tenaciously doing research, learning a new language, and working in a different country I thought, again, “ a guide would have been so helpful!” so I decided to finally start one.