Shoshana Griffith: Citizen of the world
Photo by Dan Addison
By Mary Carlson
As U.Va. continues its internationalization effort, we will see more students like Shoshana Griffith.
A native of Seattle, Wash., and an Echols interdisciplinary major in international development, Griffith speaks Spanish and Portuguese fluently. She has spent two years living in Brazil — one as a high school student and the other during her third year in college. And her horizons continue to stretch outward. This past semester she took an accelerated French course to prepare for a job this fall as an English language teacher living in the Versailles area in France.
Griffith has made the most of her four years at U.Va. In addition to pursuing a rigorous course of study, she played viola with the Charlottesville & University Symphony Orchestra and served as a peer adviser in the International Studies Office, working closely with other students interested in overseas study and helping with the ISO’s outreach activities. Earlier this spring, Griffith broke her nose playing flanker for the Virginia Women’s Rugby Football Team. But she takes the injury in stride. “It’s so exhilarating to compete nationally,” she said.
Whether it’s participating in a rough-and-tumble club sport, plunging headlong into a new language or living abroad for an extended period, Griffith doesn’t shy away from a challenge. Since 2002, her first year at the University, she has witnessed a rise in numbers of students who see their future in global terms. “There’s definitely increased interest in going abroad, especially to Asia,” she said.
When she moves to France, Griffith intends to do more than just classroom instruction. She would like to coach rugby or basketball and perhaps help with music classes or ensembles. After her teaching stint ends next spring, she hopes to pursue a career with an inter-governmental or nonprofit organization. “I’ve taken a lot of courses in foreign affairs, anthropology and religious studies,” she said. “I’m very interested in international development.”
When pressed to describe her dream job, Griffith smiles broadly. “It would involve working for the U.N. [United Nations],” she said, “doing field research and writing reports about what’s happening on the ground.”