It all started with a class: Cultures of Spain.
“Understanding Spain’s political history and cultural dynamics really helped me understand how colonial Spain has shaped Latin America,” said NWU senior Toree Hempstead.
That one class piqued her interest and eventually led to a semester abroad in Argentina, and a return trip there in March to work on a translation project with her Spanish professor, Cathy Nelson.
Now the political science and modern language studies double major is headed to Spain thanks to the prestigious Fulbright Scholarship. The Fulbright Scholarship is the flagship international education exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government.
Hempstead will spend the next year as an English teaching assistant at a bilingual secondary in Spain. Her responsibilities will include working with Global Classrooms: Model United Nations. She also plans to volunteer with a local child welfare organization to engage with students in afterschool programs to develop healthy social skills through sports and tutoring. Toree is also a member of NWU’s track & field team.
“Being abroad taught me how fascinated I was with understanding politics, engaging with other cultures and learning in a challenging environment,” said Hempstead. “Studying abroad didn’t change me, but it taught me more about who I was.”
“When I returned, I found that I was less concerned with how others perceived me,” she continued. “I started to capitalize on every opportunity I could to learn, ask questions, and engage with those around me.”
In addition to teaching and volunteering, Hempstead hopes to continue working on her translation projects concerning transitional justice.
Following her year in Spain, Hempstead may apply for the Peace Corps and plans to attend graduate school. She is considering careers in academia, public policy, law and education.
Hempstead’s award brings NWU’s total Fulbright Scholarship count to 57.