IC senior earns Fulbright Scholarship, plans to study in Brazil

By Gary Scott on May 2, 2018 at 7:26am

A student from one of Jacksonville’s local colleges is receiving a distinguished scholarship that will allow him to do research projects in parts of South America.

Twenty-two year old Christian Flores recently received the news that he’d be the recipient of a well-renowned Fulbright U.S. Student Scholarship. A native of Addison, Illinois, Flores is on pace to graduate this month with a triple major in history, political science and Spanish.

For those unfamiliar with a Fulbright program, the scholarship and grant program is awarded based on merit, and offers students certain opportunities to conduct research and study while they travel abroad. The Fulbright Scholarship is regarded as one of the most competitive programs throughout the country. To become eligible for the Fulbright Scholarship, there is a rather extensive application process. Flores explains what that process was like for him.

“The process itself is pretty simple. You have to list through all of your experiences and generally make a profile of yourself, of the things you’ve done. After that, I had to write a statement of purpose and a personal essay. I had to convey, on one page, everything that I wanted to say for why I wanted to get the Fulbright and what it would do for my career. The process itself was very long to wait. I first heard back in January that I was a semifinalist after submitting all of my material in October, and I didn’t find out until about a week and a half ago that I had been chosen as a Fulbright Scholar for the 2018-19 year,” Flores explains.

Having received the Fulbright Scholarship, Flores will travel to Brazil for his studies. But to Flores, South American is somewhat familiar, as he’s studied in Argentina and assisted in Puerto Rico through IC’s Alternative Spring Break program. Flores explains why he wanted to go to Brazil this time around.

“I fell in love with Argentina, I fell in love with the continent, and whenever I thought of applying, I thought I might go back to Argentina. But as I looked through the different countries, for me Brazil seems like the next best option, simply because Brazil would enable me to learn a third language, Portuguese. Feeling comfortable with my Spanish, and speaking it fluently, I felt like the next best step was to add on a third language, and get familiar with, at least economically, the most important country in Latin America,” says Flores.

As for what comes next for Flores, he explains the type of field he hopes to get into upon his graduation.

“I want to go on into International Relations with a regional concentration in Latin America. So it seemed like a natural fit to go to Brazil, because familiarizing myself with that language, with that culture, would continue to open doors for me,” Flores says

Aside from his trip to Brazil, Flores says he also hopes to visit Cuba, where he would work as a student leader for an upcoming IC BreakAway trip. He also would like to then head across the Pacific to Japan to participate in research through a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation.