Though I was born in Boston Massachusetts and have lived, studied, and worked here for the better part of twenty two years, I have spent most of my life trying to determine what truly constitutes my “home” and what that term truly signifies. Both my parents are immigrants. My father, a Brazilian, met my mother, a Canadian, in Mozambique, where parallel lives intersected and their drastically different academic and professional pursuits collided momentarily in the heat of a revolution. My mother, a young anthropologist-in-training from Montreal, arrived in Maputo to complete here dissertation research in a rural village, and my father, trained as an Economist in the north-eastern Brazilian state of Maranhão, followed many of his friends and fellow students to Mozambique, where the they discovered an opportunity to help rebuild a country after it had, through years of grappling with colonial powers, achieved its independence.
There, in Maputo, the two met and married, staying in Africa for many years, long enough to see a civil war catch fire and to see the conflict conclude with victory for the Mozambique Liberation Front. They eventually returned to my mother’s home in Montreal and later settled in Boston, where, amid furious academic ambitions – my mother finishing her PHD dissertation and my father commuting to New York City to obtain his Masters in Economics – I was born.
I attended elementary and high school in Boston, but maintained a connection to my parents’ international lives through regular trips to and from Sao Luis, the capital city of Maranhão, and sojourns in Magog, a small city near Montreal, where my mother’s family spent their weekend when she was a child. Perhaps this constant contact with different cultures, the exchange between different customs and languages that become so commonplace in our family, sparked my keen interest in Anthropology. Or perhaps my academic inclinations were crafted by my mother’s and my exposure, at very young age, to the climate of academia, specifically the social sciences. Whatever the case may be, I decided to major in Anthropology as an undergraduate at a small liberal arts college in Connecticut, and will continue my studies in graduate school, where I plan to merge my love of the social sciences with a newfound interest in the law and legal studies. I plan to pursue my Masters degree in London, before returning to the United States to complete dual PHD and JD program, hopefully wedding my curiosity for cultural studies and my strong sense of obligation to serve underrepresented and mistreated communities in the US, specifically immigrants. As a second-generation immigrant, I am also very interested in exploring the unique lives of others who, like myself, take part in multiple cultures, live transnationally, and encounter both the rewards and the anxieties of that transnational, multicultural experience. For decades, social science research and literature has focused heavily on the social, economic and political realities of first generation immigrants who, upon leaving their homelands and arriving in new countries, must come to terms with uncomfortable cultural discrepancies, racial and ethnic hostility and bias and the economic pressures of living across borders, finding a place in a foreign nation while maintaining a connection with the one they left behind.
I am curious as to how the experiences of second and third generation immigrants, the children of the aforementioned wave of migrants, are similar or diverge from the first. I devoted my thesis research as an undergraduate to this question and intend on pursuing it in my graduate studies and perhaps even in my professional life.
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