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Kiara Batista

Kiara Batista '22

Kiara Batista graduated from UMass in May of 2022 in the Honors program with a double major in Legal Studies and Portuguese. She was raised in Fogo, Cabo Verde but now lives in Dorchester, Massachusetts. Her father uprooted her whole family from Cabo Verde to pursue a better future in the United States. 

"I decided to pursue studies in Portuguese because I wanted to learn more about Lusophone cultures like mine.” 

Kiara did an honors project with her Portuguese class. The project was to analyze the short story, “O galo cantou na Baia” by Manuel Lopes and write an essay about the main ideas, presenting an interpretation of the short story. This was a great way to connect to her culture and learn about Cape Verdean literature. She also wanted to learn Portuguese to have the tools to help her community and others like them through translation, interpreting, and immigration law in the future. She translates from English into Portuguese and Cape Verdean Kriolu!

Kiara loves interpreting and translating for fun! She really loves watching shows and reading books in Portuguese. She has made so many friends by speaking this language and has learned so much about my culture and history. 

"taking classes with Professor Patrícia Martinho Ferreira among other professors, and going to cafezinhos! The cafezinhos were a great way to get to know the other Portuguese learners and practice our skills. Our conversations were so fun! Also, I loved that event hosted by the Portuguese program where we met with Afro-Brazilian activists. I follow them until today.”

"My advice is to take advantage of the events and outside-of-class activities. Practice, practice, practice to get better!” She also highly recommends studying abroad. She would love to visit Brazil soon!

She either wants to go to law school or explore a future in translation and interpreting. While at UMass, she completed a Certificate in Translation and interpreting and worked as a classroom interpreter. As a classroom interpreter at Wildwood Elementary, she collaborated with teachers, paraeducators and ELL educators to best support Cape Verdean students, making her feel more connected to the Cape Verdean Community in Amherst. 

"I am proud of my Certificate in Professional Translation and Interpreting and of my academic achievement in Portuguese. Also, I am so proud of myself for putting myself out there and participating in my classes."

Currently, she is working at an organization teaching civics education at a federal courthouse in Boston. For her, being able to speak different languages helped her connect with more people and be culturally competent in her role. Her education at UMass Amherst has set her up for success in her role now and in future roles that she takes on.

"I want to dedicate myself to public service. If possible, I want to use my language skills in Portuguese and Kriolu to help people in my community and the greater Boston area.”