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Alumni Spotlight: Joe LaTorre

March 23, 2017
By: Molly Meehan ’18

         Joe LaTorre is a former member of the Merrimack College Honors Program. He enjoyed his experience in the program, as he met close friends and got to know the wonderful professors who taught honors courses. LaTorre pursued a major in Psychology and minored in Religious Studies. As graduation was approaching, he decided to write his thesis on the relationship between psychology and culture. This was all as a college student. But where is he now?   

       Nowadays, LaTorre is a Fulbright Scholar. He credits the Honors Program for his applying. The Fulbright Scholar program includes competitive and merit-based grants that allow for educational exchanges internationally. According to an informational video on its website, the Fulbright is “an international scholarship with an ambitious goal: to increase mutual understanding and support friendly and peaceful relations between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.”

         When asked about his time as a Fulbright Scholar, LaTorre exclaimed, “From March until last week, I was living in semi-rural Nepal teaching English on a Fulbright Grant. It was an amazing experience although it was not without its challenges.” He has formed lifelong friendships, friendships that could only be made by “living and exploring together in a far away developing country.” During this experience, LaTorre also created an everlasting relationship with his host family. They welcomed him in, eager to share about their culture, religion, and values. Although his time in Nepal was a very positive and empowering journey, he was able to notice the difficulties that many people experience in the country. The location of Nepal, which is in the Himalayas region, is known for natural disasters. Plus, he realized the hardships of his students, “who come from lower-class families, which are often struck by alcoholism and severe poverty.”

          LaTorre looks at this experience as a transformative one. He encourages anyone to apply to be a Fulbright Scholar, because if you receive the grant, you will learn more about yourself and the world than you ever thought you could.

 

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