Brazilian Student Stories

From Coaching in Porto Velho to Living There

By: Naomi Israel

Friday, October 31, 2014

If I had to put a word to describe my overall experience of participating in Conexão Mundo 2013, that word would be magical. I had been assigned to Porto Velho, Rondônia, where the Conexão Mundo program was arriving for the first time to the Amazon Region.

While I knew I was headed for the jungle, my experience of my Conexão Mundo students started on Facebook and Google Hangout during Phase I. My students, otherwise known as “The Teenager Angels,” were amazing. From the beginning, they were always eng-aged and interested in communicating with me. We all grew close with our daily “Question of the Day” which ranged from silly questions like, “What would you do if you found a baby monkey outside your door?” to more serious questions, such as, “If you were able to improve the world, what areas would you want to improve and why?”

Towards the end of our Phase I agenda, we were all excited to meet one another. We counted down the days via Google Hangouts and even made videos showing the amount of time until we’d meet face-to-face.

During Phase II, the magic continued. Every day in class we continued with the “Question of the Day” format, and continued to learn a lot from each other. Class was a privilege and something that I looked forward to daily. I believe that the feelings were mutual for my students.

During those three weeks in Brazil, not only did I fall in love with the students—I fell for the people and the city of Porto Velho. Rondônia is unlike any other state I´ve visited in Brazil. The people are very welcoming and nonjudgmental. The families are strong and long-lasting, and traditions haven´t been forgotten. The city is only 101 years old and, but you can tell because traditions run deep, creating a fascinating mix of simplicity and modernization. Everywhere you look, there is a piece of the Amazon staring back at you.

Little did I know the setting and the students would inspire me to change the course of my lfie. The students were so eager to learn and so appreciative of my presence that I found myself wanting to improve and do more in class. The Phase II process was only three weeks, but to my happy surprise I was granted with the opportunity to stay for an additional two months. I learned a lot and solicited my knowledge. Now, I am proud to say that, one year later, I have moved to Rondônia and, I am working for the very same company and school where the inspiration started.

Thank you Angels, and thanks to you USBC.

For those who’d like to reach or follow me, my information is below:

Twitter: @NaomiDIsrael
Facebook: Naomi Israel
Instagram: diplomat4brasil

Building a Better Future

By: Matheus Ribeiro, Salvador

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Conexão Mundo has been, clearly, the best thing that happened in my whole life. I’m not talking only about my first opportunity to go abroad and visit the country that I used to dream about, I’m talking about building opportunities and creating a brand new experience for thousands of students.

We were with our coaches for one month. In the first moment, it was really scary for everyone to be with people from a different culture, but it quickly became an easy and pleasurable relation.

All over the school, there were people speaking in English, practicing their new skills, sharing their experiences with their coaches or talking about the games and activities we used to practice our vocabulary. In a very short time other students that weren’t participating in the program got involved in this innovative method of learning and soon, the program became the most popular subject in the school.

I don’t speak English fluently, but I am comfortable speaking English because the people in the program made me believe that I’m able to. Now I make plans to study and work abroad, something I thought was possible only for rich people.

Hundreds of students – next year, thousands of students – will think like me, and that’s the reason I believe this incredible program will keep growing and reaching more students, who will build a new and better future for themselves.

Dreams

By: Erick Morais, Salvador

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

I believe that to talk about the Conexão Mundo program, is to talk about dreams. And dreams that are really possible.

In the days of participating in the Conexão Mundo program, we could see that we don’t have just one model of education. Four walls, a blackboard, a teacher, books and some students have helped us a lot, but what about a different model? A different way to see the educational process?

In the days of participating in the Conexão Mundo program, we saw that we just need a fun game, new friendships, a coach, some students and disposition to learn new things. To learn English!

But not just English. We have learned how to be realizers of dreams. How to trust in yourself, and see that you are able to do things that you have never thought to do. How to build bridges and connections between countries with some differences, and see a lot of similarities in this process. And this way, we stopped being dreamers. We started being realizers of dreams.

And what is the product of this process? We can see not just coaches and students, but friends. And the language, that was a barrier, after some weeks, turns to a door to new experiences and exchange of cultures and ideas.

Investing in Conexão Mundo, it’s investing in the future of another realizers of dreams, like me!