Ericka Correa

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Duquesne University

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International Experience Summary:

Ericka spent the first half of her summer travelling to Brazil and studying abroad at the CIEE Institute for one month, where she took a Communicative Portuguese class and an Understanding Brazil through Intercultural Engagement class. While in Brazil, Ericka learned about the prominent African and Indigenous heritage surrounding Brazil, including history, present issues such as racism and colorism, and African-derived Brazilian culture. In her free time, Ericka took capoeira classes, or dance fighting classes, as well as a Passinho class. Her favorite extracurricular activity that she participated in was taking Afro-Brazilian percussion classes Wednesday nights. Through this experience, Ericka was able to gain knowledge of how Brazilian culture is derived from African heritage and the great connection the people of Brazil have with their African roots. Since the percussion classes were all in Portuguese, she was also able to practice her fluency in listening and communicating to those around her. One of the highlights of Ericka’s aboard experience was the day she visited “Little Africa.” There, she saw the first favela ever made in Brazil and their symbol of rebellion towards the Brazilian government, stood next to a now-made monument where the enslaved peoples were buried when they were forced to come to Brazil during the slave trade, and representation of the Black and Brown community throughout street art and music. On days off, Ericka took advantage of the city and explored its many wonderous sites, such as Christ the Redeemer, Sugarloaf Mountain, and its beautiful beaches along the coast.

Community Engagement Experience Summary:

CEE Title: The Unfair Truth About Fair Housing

The Duquesne University 2019 VIH cohort examined the fair housing crisis in their own neighborhood, in comparison with their international experience. Undergraduates Ericka Correa, Clare Craven, and Megan Toomer hosted “The Unfair Truth About Fair Housing” on the university’s campus and made it accessible to not just students, but community members as well. Each woman brought various outlooks on the topic of discussion as they each presented upon fair housing research and observation in their perspective countries: Brazil, Rome, and Ghana. The cohort integrated a sense of community by having panelists, including professors, scholars in the work field, and interns, speak about the topic at hand and how it affects local residents. Conversation surrounded itself on the history of fair housing, what factors play into the crisis, what fair housing currently looks like, and how we can grow and help those affected by this. One of the goals of this Community Engagement Experience was not only to inform students and community members on fair housing and the factors that affect this, but to bridge the gap between “students” and “community members.” Often times, students get lost in their world of academia and extracurriculars and do not see themselves as part of the community. The 2019 cohort collaborated with their surrounding community in hopes that conversing about fair housing would spread awareness and help students understand that “yes, you are a part of this community, too.” To conclude, resources were provided for those in attendance on how they can contribute on being part of the larger conversation at hand. The team created this event because they each recognized that this affects millions of people around the world and it was time to start having these conversation, starting in their own home. The CEE team hopes that those in attendance will advocate for those who do not have a voice and are being affected by this crisis, not just in Pittsburgh, but throughout our nation.