Samuel Jackson

Recipient Profile


Language: Portuguese

Location of Study: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Program of Study: Rio & Learn

Sponsors: Center for the Study of Languages and Cultures, the College of Arts and Letters, and Kellogg Institute For International Studies

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A brief personal bio:

Samuel Jackson is a junior at the University of Notre Dame with majors in Film, Television and Theatre (FTT) and American Studies. On campus, he is most active in musical theatre and opera productions, being particularly interested in how the arts can be used as media to incite social change. In addition to Portuguese (his current target language), Samuel has taken upper-level courses in both French and Italian. During the upcoming 2019-2020 school year, he will serve as an ambassador to his University as the leprechaun mascot at Notre Dame’s major sporting, social, and community events.

Why this summer language abroad opportunity is important to me:

A group of native speakers with whom I wish to interact include Brazilian LGBTQ+ individuals. LGBT linguistics, affectionately called lavender linguistics, is the study of language used by queer individuals. During the fall of 2019, I will be writing a play in which I artistically explore how language is and has been historically used as a political tool of resistance by queer people of color. Through the SLA Grant, I will be able to explore the queer sub-language and sub-culture of Portuguese and Brazil, which will grant me the amazing opportunity of further solidifying my cultural humility for queer Afro-Latino communities. Upon my return in the fall of 2019, I will combine my future coursework with my previous summer experiences to analyze how queer people, people of color, and the intersecting community use language to perceive and analyze their place in the world, and persevere through it. My play will be produced as part of the 2019-2020 Notre Dame FTT season.

What I hope to achieve as a result of this summer study abroad experience:

This summer, I hope to find comfort within the discomfort of speaking a newly learned foreign language. Like any other language, Portuguese is a linguistic art, and if art is to imitate life, then it should be neither easy or perfect. Though a multitude of mistakes are bound to take place throughout my entire journey, I will continually abide by the rules of patience, persistence, and practice. After all, confusion is simply the sweat of learning. By the end of my time in Rio, I will learn how to recognize implicit meanings and differentiate finer shades of the Portuguese language, ultimately speaking from my heart instead of my brain.

My specific learning goals for language and intercultural learning this summer:

1. At the end of the summer, I will be able to speak Portuguese at the B2 “Vantage” level according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).

2. At the end of the summer, I will be able to spontaneously speak Portuguese on topics regarding Brazilian social justice with minimal strain for the other native party.

3. At the end of the summer, I will understand with greater nuance the challenges that face Brazilian democracy and the current issues in race, religion, class, and gender that shape the present and future of the nation.