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david gutierrez, mexico, 2012-2013

Fulbright Year: 2012-2013
Country: Mexico
Proposal Type: English teaching assistantship
UGA Major/Department: International Affairs, Spanish, Latin American and Caribbean Studies
Degrees: B.A. in International Affairs, Spanish, Latin American and Caribbean Studies, 2011
Hometown: Cumming, GA

The connections David Gutierrez will make when he begins his Fulbright year in Mexico City will consist primarily of students learning English at the Azcaptozalco branch of the Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana. However, given his interest in the country’s political picture, he expects to interface with many other folks.

“Outside of the university, I plan to engage in informal research regarding Mexico’s political system, in particular, its recent shift towards a more pluralistic democratic system of government,” said David. “This means that I would be getting in touch with local reporters, political scientists, and professors to get a better idea of Mexico’s transition towards a more open and competitive form of democracy since the 2001 elections.

“Given that the country recently elected the party which controlled Mexico for 70 years back into power, I expect to obtain some interesting information.”

In just a short period of time, David has amassed a host of compelling experiences that should serve him well in Mexico. He’s spent much of this year in Washington, DC, working at the Migration Policy Institute, and prior to that he worked at The Carter Center’s America’s Program. David also spent time as a human rights intern at Madres de Plaza de Mayo – Linea Fundadora in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and as a public opinion intern at the Center for Mediation, Peace, and Resolution of Conflict in Quito, Ecuador.

David has spent plenty of time in Mexico, but he said he expects to see an entirely different kind of country during his Fulbright year.

“Although I have already gone to Mexico, I have never spent an extended amount of time in a Mexican city,” he said. “The Mexico I am familiar with is one of the countryside, a place full of pastures, rodeos, and rampant poverty. I believe that living in Mexico City will offer me a starkly different experience and expose me to the benefits, opportunities, and setbacks that come from living in such a large city.

“I expect to leave Mexico with a different interpretation of the country, as well as a redefined definition of what it means to be Mexican-American.”

Already accepted into the Masters in Public Policy at California-Berkeley, David will enroll there after his Fulbright year and said he hopes to work on issues regarding economic development in Latin America, international migration, and access to education for minorities in the United States.

“I am grateful that I will have the opportunity to do the Fulbright ETA before I begin my master’s program because I feel that the experience will strengthen my interests and give me a distinct perspective on the issues I am interested in,” said David, who also served as scholar chapter coordinator for the Hispanic Scholarship Fund during his UGA days.

“Having lived in the United States my whole life, I recognize that I interpret my interests with a bias based on living in the states, so going to Mexico and engaging with people with similar interests, but a distinct lens, will do well to expose me to new ideas and interpretations.”

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