I have the amazing honor of being chosen for the Ridley spotlight because of work that I have recently been able to participate in that is the effect of a range of opportunities granted to me. The most major of these is definitely being a Ridley Scholar; because of this blessing, I was able to attend my first choice school: The University of Virginia.
Coming into college, I believed that I would go on to major in Comparative Literature and/or Anthropology—far from the Cognitive/Neuroscience and Women, Gender, and Sexuality majors that I have chosen to pursue—and therefore wanted to begin studying abroad as early as I possibly could. In the past, I have done work with YUGO Ministries in Ensenada, Mexico, but these opportunities each lasted for just under a week—a timeframe that just didn’t feel like I got to connect with the families we were working and staying with on the level I hoped for. Then I was, amazingly, chosen to participate in a J-term course for the 2015-2016 school year in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil! I knew that J-terms usually only last around two weeks, so I contacted the person that was organizing the living arrangements and begged them to help me find a place to stay for a longer time so I could truly tune into Brazilian culture. I ended up staying there for a total of four weeks and falling in love with the people, both the ones I was staying with and the general population of the region of Brazil in which I resided. However, the course did not have any kind of outreach attached to it, so I was still left unfulfilled. Continue reading Triston’s reflections here.