New College of Florida’s Gerina Gjergji is a student of the world: She was born in Greece, raised in Albania before moving to Florida, and has studied in Spain and Puerto Rico.
As New College’s 84th Fulbright winner, she will take her wealth of experience and teach students in Mexico.
Gjergji, from Jacksonville, has had a lifelong interest in migrations and the challenges immigrants face. Living in Florida, she also developed an interest in Latin America and the Spanish language. She studied those subjects at New College and worked as a teaching assistant in history and political science. She spent spring 2015 studying at the University of Puerto Rico and fall 2014 at University of Leon in Spain.
In addition to her studies, Gjergji earned an ESOL (English as a Second Language) certificate from the local chapter of the ProLiteracy Council and began tutoring with the Literacy Council of Sarasota. She also is an administrative intern for the Sarasota World Affairs Council, co-host of the Florida Caribe Radio Show on WSLR 96.5, and a campus life associate at IMG Academies.
Gjergji said her personal experience will help her in her Fulbright work.
“As an Albanian immigrant in the United States, I understand the challenges of learning a new language,” she said. “I will use my personal experience learning and teaching languages, as well as my academic background to share American culture and offer interactive English language exchange.”
She also appreciates the chance to continues to meet and teach international students about America. “A Fulbright ETA will give me the opportunity to act as a cultural bridge between my Mexican classroom and American culture,” she said. “I am deeply honored to have the opportunity to learn from the students in my classroom and from members in the local community.”
Gjergji does not yet have her school assignment for her English teaching assistantship. During her Fulbright year, she plans to continue to study international migration and diasporic identities in Mexico, and then to continue her studies in graduate school.