• Social Innovation Fellowship

Award Year 

Brown Student Language Exchange

The Brown Student Language Exchange (BSLE) is a program that exposes students to underrepresented languages and cultures. We facilitate a culture share in which native or near-native speakers of languages not offered by the university lead peers in language learning and cultural exploration. Students graduate from BSLE with newfound cultural understanding and increased global awareness. Starr funding and guidance would be directed toward strengthening our training program, developing our model to increase attendance, and investigating options for continuation projects


Personal Statement

In five semesters at Brown, I have studied five different languages formally (Portuguese, French, American Sign Language, Spanish and Polish) and two informally through BSLE (Kiswahili and Cape Verdean Creole). I have also taught English to adults for two years through Olneyville ESOL, a Swearer Center program. I serve as the coordinator of Brown Language Society, a student organization that runs conversation groups and hosts cultural events. My sophomore year, we launched Brown Student Language Exchange and I have since acted as Program Director. I've dedicated my academic and extracurricular careers to learning languages, reading foreign literature, and trying to understand and appreciate different cultures. As Rita Mae Brown once said, "Language is the road map of a culture. It tells you where its people come from and where they are going."

I am always looking to the next step for this program. Brown needs BSLE to bridge gaps across the curriculum, but we are always pouring concrete and rarely have a quiet moment to analyze the design and strengthen the pillars. A summer of focused work would allow me to develop this BSLE vision into a sustainable reality.