Jacob Wolbert- Connect with People

Jacob Wolbert

Jacob Wolbert at an overlook in Brazil

I received two fellowships over the 2012-13 academic year. The first one was a FLAS (Foreign Language & Area Studies) fellowship that went towards an intensive Portuguese program in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, last summer. With the help of FLAS, I was able to study Brazilian Portuguese and culture in a fascinating environment and meet people from around the rest of the United States and the world.

The other fellowship, the University of Wisconsin-Madison Hilldale Fellowship, will be used to fund my fieldwork (again, in Rio de Janeiro) for my senior honors thesis in ethnomusicology. Given that my work relies so much on the personal experience of and my own interactions with Brazilian samba musicians, this fellowship has essentially made my ethnographic work possible and provided me with the opportunity to broaden my research and strengthen my thesis.

After graduation, I plan to take a few years off from school to work in music, education, and languages. Thanks to these scholarships, I have been able to further my love of Brazilian music, develop a better understanding of the Portuguese language, and connect with people across the university and country that I wouldn’t have otherwise been able to connect with. From the summer trip, I will never forget my evenings running down a seaside boulevard in Copacabana with mountains in front of and behind me, the ocean to my left, and the teeming Rio metropolis to my right, the view from each side fitting in with the other three. The best single experience was attending a concert at one of the most famous samba schools, Salgueiro, and singing along with a song I learned as a UW-Madison freshman.