Calabretta '01 wins Fulbright Fellowship

Andrea Calabretta ’01 has been awarded a Fulbright fellowship to teach at the University of Sousse in Tunisia for the 2011–2012 academic year. She will teach English, but with a special focus: English for travel and tourism.

Despite being “off the radar” to most Americans, Tunisia, located in Northern Africa, has all the makings of a great travel destination, says Calabretta, who visited the country with the travel company she works for as a senior writer.

“When I was there, I was really struck by how cool of a destination it was. . . . It has historical aspects like Roman ruins in Carthage and also this incredible coastline and the Sahara Desert.”

Calabretta, a senior writer for Grand Circle Travel, majored in English at W&M. She said that working with professors Jackie McLendon and Nancy Gray on an honors thesis on Native American and African American literature “really deepened my interest in, and respect for, other cultures. It inspired me to want to find the commonalities between people who come from different places.”

In addition, during her senior year at the College, Calabretta was granted a summer internship at an orphanage called Casa Materna near Naples, Italy.

“It was a very challenging but still a very positive and formative experience,” she said. “And I have been traveling and exploring the world ever since.”

Calabretta holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from Emerson College in Massachusetts, where she first began pursuing a career in freelance writing on travel and food.

Although Tunisia should be an attractive tourist destination, Calabretta said that training and education for people pursuing careers in travel and tourism is lacking. She saw her opportunity to make a difference, and the Fulbright fellowship now allows her to fulfill her dream to write and travel in a place she loves.

“I love the people and the culture, and it is just a very warm, hospitable place,” she said. “I'm thrilled to be going to Tunisia and working with university students at such an exciting time -- post-revolution, in the midst of their sorting out a new government and holding democratic elections. It's very inspiring!”