Aditya Mehta

Why did I decide to major in LALS?

Aditya Mehta with SJ do Rio Preto on the background

At the time, I was majoring in Spanish, but I wanted to learn more about the region of Latin America and its global importance. I decided to switch my Spanish major to a minor. My other LALS courses also introduced me to contemporary issues across the region, influencing my decision to study abroad in Brazil.

About my internship experience:

I interned at the Kentucky Racing Health Services Center, the primary care center near Churchill Downs that provides medical services to racetrack workers, primarily immigrants from Latin America. The KRHSC always needs Spanish interpreters to help nurse practitioners provide appropriate medical care. After my summer internship at the KRHSC, I continued working there for a year. Through this job, I wrote my Senior Honors Thesis on COVID-19 vaccination rates in the patient population and decided to pursue a career path in public health.

I am in Brazil because I received a Boren Scholarship to learn a critical language in the U.S. The Boren Scholarship provides funding from the U.S. Department of Defense to learn languages critical to U.S. national security. Since I already knew Spanish, I decided I wanted to learn Portuguese in Brazil due to my courses in LALS. This scholarship requires that I stay abroad for at least six months, so I decided to learn Portuguese from August 2022 until June 2023. I am already fluent, as I lived in the smaller city of São José do Rio Preto, and few people spoke English! I am currently in the town of São Paulo, one of the world's largest cities. Through my programs in Brazil, I have made lifelong connections and had fantastic experiences.