Bilingual Training for My Post-Graduate Plans

Gabriela Nicole Start Date: Nov 8, 2017 - End Date: Mar 7, 2018
  • Cultural Exchange
  • Professional Development
  • Study/Degree Abroad
  • Heredia, Heredia Province, Costa Rica

My Travel Story

by: Gabriela Nicole Start Date: Nov 8, 2017 - End Date: Mar 7, 2018
  • Cultural Exchange
  • Professional Development
  • Study/Degree Abroad
Hi friends! I have never done this before, as asking for money has always been difficult for me, but this opportunity is critical for my future aspirations. I am about to graduate from Virginia Tech and have begun planning for graduate school. My career goal is to attend VCU to attain a P.h.D. in Clinical Psychology, with an emphasis on adolescent Latino(a) mental health evaluation and treatment programs.

My passion for Latino(a) mental health programs stems from my personal experience mediating between my Latina heritage and my American identity.  In my life, I, and other Latino(a) individuals, have struggled with overcoming a distorted perception of myself as overweight.  Much of my obsession with weight is a product of my perceived conflict between the thin-body idealization portrayed in the American media and the typical curvy body structure of Latina women.

In my undergraduate research, I have begun to examine potential methods for minimizing body-dissatisfaction in future Latina youth. However, in order to progress my research, it is crucial that I am able to speak to Latino(a) youth and families in their native language. This will enable these individuals to articulate the depth of their emotions, and trust in my ability to empathize with their concerns. Although I am mildly comfortable speaking Spanish, becoming conversationally fluent through the Tico Lingo Spanish Immersion Program in Costa Rica would allow me to communicate more effectively with native Spanish speakers. This opportunity will bring me one step closer to creating sustainable treatment plans for positive body-image in adolescent Latino(a) individuals.

Your contribution to this cause will not only help me, but will also give back to the community in Heredia, Costa Rica.  During my two months at school, a local family will open their house to me, providing me with a safe and comfortable place to call home.  The funds from this trip will be distributed between the Spanish teachers, the generous families who house and feed students, and other community outreach programs, such as public schools and town sanitation.

Thank you for your consideration in helping me attain my goals. Any and all donations are greatly appreciated! <3
  • Heredia, Heredia Province, Costa Rica