Western New Mexico University professor of sociology and Co-Director of the Center for Gender Equity and Social Justice, Dr. Emma Bailey, is currently a Fulbright Scholar and worked in Xalapa Veracruz, Mexico, for the spring 2018 semester.
She formally taught two courses this past semester — U.S. Interventions in Central America and U.S. Cultural Regional Differences — and is teaching U.S. Latinos, a short course, in June.
Dr. Bailey also gives presentations at the Universidad Veracruzana. Her speaking topics include “Donald Trump’s First Year of Government,” “Gender in Intercultural Communication” and “Being Feminist in the United States.” Dr. Bailey also participates in the International Relations Program and North American Studies at the university.
International partnerships remain at the core of the Fulbright mission, and Dr. Bailey has worked with alongside Mexican students and faculty, not to mention the other Fulbright Scholars in Mexico. “I have been so warmly received by the faculty. I was invited to publish with them and to create a bi-national publication,” she said.
Dr. Bailey also belongs to a group made up of other Fulbright-Garcia Robles Scholars and works with a group called COMEXUS in Mexico City, having presented to its board of directors this semester as well. “They gave us opportunities to know one another, to know the country and to support us along the way. I was humbled and honored to be asked to talk with them about my scholarship activities,” she said.
Creating conversation is one of the most challenging aspects of the experience. “I live my life in Spanish and sometimes I make terrible mistakes! I have tried to be as open with my students as possible and to really create an environment where they can make mistakes in English — just as I am making them in Spanish,” Dr. Bailey said. “Plus, they know they can ask me absolutely everything about the U.S.”
She lives at the center of Xalapa, a university town bursting with culture, music, theater, art and coffee shops. “The university spills into the community, and I am about a 20-minute walk from where I teach my classes. In my spare time, I do aerial yoga, ride my bike and walk with my dog,” Dr. Bailey said. “I am only gone for six months and am so busy. I am trying really hard to be focused on being here and giving as much as I can to the experience. What I get out of this scholarship is up to me.”
Dr. Bailey said she applied for the Fulbright to meet her goal of teaching internationally and said was ready for a challenge. “I learned to put myself out there and made lifelong connections with amazing people,” she said.
Of the more than 100 who applied for this Fulbright Program in Mexico, Dr. Bailey was one of just 11 selected.