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chenee tracey, brazil, 2015-2016

Chenee Tracey points out that Brazil is the United States’ eighth-largest export market, generating more than $35 billion in trade, and she adds that as commerce between the two countries increases, economies will become more connected, making Brazilian border control and regional cooperation even more critical.

With the goal of becoming a Latin America regional expert in order to have a strong hand to play in the evolution of relations between the United States and Brazil, Chenee has spent the last eight years focusing on learning Spanish but is now expanding her linguistic reach to include achieving fluency in Portuguese-speaking Latin American countries.

Armed with both the Boren Scholarship and a Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship, Chenee will spend the summer and fall studying Portuguese, first at the Universidade do Sul de Santa Catarina in Florianopolis, Brazil, and then at Universidade de Sao Paolo in Sao Paolo, Brazil, with coursework in Portuguese, political science, and international affairs.

“Studying in multiple regions of Brazil throughout the summer and fall provides a holistic perspective of rural, urban, coastal, and interior communities and their respective issues,” Chenee, a Foundation Fellow and UGA Honors student who will graduate in December  2016 with a combined bachelor’s/master’s degree in international affairs and international policy, says. “Through my studies of various regions of Brazil, I hope to learn about not only the cultural variations, but also the linguistic variations that occur in the different regions.”

A native of Lawrenceville, Chenee has also studied at Oxford University in England and at the University of Montevideo in Uruguay. She also served as a research assistant in the Linguistics Atlas Lab, documenting regional colloquialisms.

She is a Richard B. Russell Security Leadership Scholar in UGA’s Center for Trade and International Security and served as a National Security International Policy intern at the Center for American Progress in Washington, DC. Chenee has also worked as a staff writer for the Georgia Political Review, specializing in articles about the dynamics of United States foreign relations in Latin America, Asia, and the Middle East.

And when her sojourn to Brazil ends and she returns to UGA, Chenee is determined to continue to polish her language skills and will no doubt have every opportunity to do so.

“When I return to the United States, I will continue my language studies through local Portuguese conversation tables in Athens,” she says. “I have kept up my correspondence with Brazilians I have met and tutored in Athens, and I will initiate weekly Skype chats with them to practice my speaking skills.”

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