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Sofia Gillespie '18

English Teaching Assistant, Ventspils University of Applied Sciences

Major in International Studies, Minors in German and Environmental Studies

Sofia works as an English Teaching Assistant in Latvia through her Fulbright Fellowship.

Sofia is an Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Latvia.

Sofia is one of three recent Knox graduates who is teaching and providing expertise abroad through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program.

What appeals to you about living and working internationally? 

In order to have a rewarding life abroad, you have to adopt a can-do attitude. You have to be ready to say yes to anything and everything, otherwise you will find yourself missing many unique opportunities. Being out of my comfort zone is what appeals to me most. It encourages me to dig deep into myself and grow in confidence. 

How do you think your Knox experience helped make you a good Fulbright candidate?

Knox does an excellent job of providing its students with plentiful opportunities to interact with people who are different than them in more ways than one. My time at Knox really helped me realize the beautiful, yet delicate process of cultural exchange. I learned how to navigate in the world with both my privileges and disadvantages, thinking critically about the role I play in various contexts. This skill helps me be a better listener and teacher, especially in a diverse classroom setting.

What are some ways you've benefited from your Knox experience?

Having professors who take the time to listen to you while you try to figure out the future is exactly what I needed in college and exactly what I got at Knox. There are so many opportunities in Knox classrooms and across the globe, and Knox professors will help find them for you. I would like to say a huge thank you to Professor [Todd] Heidt and Professor [Robin] Ragan for being great listeners and nudging me in the right direction.

Describe something from Knox that you will always cherish.

When I think of Knox, one image that comes to mind is the flag parade at International Fair. There is something special about Knox’s ability to bring people together across cultures. You truly feel as if the world is at your fingertips. In my current job as an English Teaching Assistant, I never let myself forget that English is not only a mastery of vocabulary and grammar. Rather, it is a tool that helps bring people together and allows for the exchange and celebration of different cultures; just like Knox College and the flag parade.

At Knox, Sofia directed Soulfege a Cappella, worked for the Office of Sustainability, and volunteered with Faith United Methodist Church.

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Printed on Sunday, April 21, 2024