Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

Student Spotlight: Rafael Contreras ‘15

Name: Rafael Contreras ‘15

Hometown: Caracas, Venezuela

Concentration: Middle East Studies and Political Science

What did you take away from your summer teaching in Connecticut? I taught a course on religious conflict to high school students for a summer program at Yale University. It was challenging to handle a classroom of young students, especially when you are trying to discuss complex issues in the middle of a beautiful summer day. However, it was really rewarding to see them engage in very powerful conversations about religious beliefs, politics and violence. I often saw my responsibility not so much as teaching but providing a safe and nurturing environment so they could explore issues they were truly passionate about.

Coming back to Brown after the summer was very special, particularly because I realized how much I had learned from my professors both in terms of knowledge and their way of teaching.