Italian Student Ximena Bravo Receives Fulbright Award to Teach in Italy

Graduating senior Ximena Landeros Bravo received one of eight* 2024 Fulbright Awards to be an English Teaching Assistant (ETA) in Italy this fall.

Ximena Landeros Bravo stands in front of a vineyard.

Ximena, who will be graduating with a double major in Italian and international relations, will be diving into post-grad life by moving to Southern Italy in October to help teach English and American culture to high school students. “I thought it would be a good challenge,” she says. “After studying Italian for three years, I want to put [my knowledge] to use.”

To apply for the Fulbright ETA program, students must submit answers to short answer questions, a “Statement of Grant Purpose” explaining what they bring to the classroom, a personal statement and three letters of recommendation, along with college transcripts. According to the Fulbright website, there were 112 applicants for the 2024 ETA program in Italy.

“I didn’t really realize how competitive it was until I started applying!” Ximena says. But her experience applying for the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship to study abroad in Florence, Italy in 2022 helped prepare her for writing her personal essays, and the close-knit community within the Italian department meant that two letters of recommendation came from her Italian professors.

Ximena’s study abroad experience also inspired her choice to apply for the Fulbright program in Italy. “When I came back from Florence, I was like, ‘I could spend so much more time here, I want to go back!’ That was my dream.” She’s most excited to explore new places, connect with students and people in the small community where she’ll be living and gain skills that she’ll be able to take with her both into and beyond the classroom.

And thanks to her Italian major, she’s not worried about communication. “I feel like I can interact and hold conversations, find my way around–that was my experience in Florence, and this will be even more hands-on. I think it’s exciting!”

Ximena’s advice to students who might want to follow in her footsteps? Whether it’s applying for a Fulbright award or learning a new language, “Just try it!” She encourages students to not be intimidated and to have fun with the process–you never know what opportunities might arise as a result.

Congratulations, Ximena!

*From the Fulbright website at the time of publishing: "Award numbers are projected and not yet finalized."