Applications for LE Brazil summer 2018 will reopen next fall!
Orientation: June 7-10 Midpoint: June 24-25 Closing Dinner: July 7
Volunteers: 8 - 10
Location: Valinhos, São Paulo
Program Year 2017 will mark LE Brazil’s fifth year in operation, and the community of Valinhos, São Paulo could not be more excited to welcome a new group of volunteers!
Volunteers will begin the experience in Campinas, São Paulo where we will complete a 3 day orientation. This time is structured to provide you with the tools necessary to succeed in your new classroom, and you will leave with an arsenal of dynamic and engaging lesson plans under your belt.
Classes will run five days per week for four weeks. The day before classes begin, volunteers will be provided with free transportation vouchers and will practice riding the bus to and from their school placements with Riley. Volunteers should be prepared to take the bus or walk to and from school each day, and many will be living or commuting with students and staff from the schools that they serve.
Midpoint Break will take place during the weekend of the third week. This will be an opportunity for volunteers to debrief and reflect, thinking about successes, struggles, and how to finish the program strong. Programming ends on Saturday, July 9th, where the volunteers and host families will celebrate the end of the program and one last night together.
Following Closing Session, volunteers are free to return home or stay in country to do some traveling.
VOLUNTEERS IN LEARNING ENTERPRISES’ 2017 BRAZIL PROGRAM WILL HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO EXPAND THEIR HORIZONS WHILE PROMOTING CROSS-CULTURAL COMMUNICATION THROUGH ESL TEACHING. THE VOLUNTEER TEAM WILL BECOME AN INTEGRAL PART OF OUR HOST COMMUNITY, BOTH DURING THE PROGRAM AND BEYOND, AND WILL DEVELOP AN UNDERSTANDING AND APPRECIATION OF BRAZILIAN CULTURE.
the ideal volunteer:
- Has a big heart. Teaching experience is not require, but an enthusiasm to facilitate the learning of children is!
- Is flexible and ready for adventure. Living and working in a foreign country means that you must know how to roll with the punches and handle challenges with maturity and a sense of adventure.
- Seeks to be both a leader and a teacher. In the classroom, you are the show and there is no understudy!
- Has a passion for cultural exchange. You will be completely immersed in the Brazilian culture, but don’t forget it is okay to share a bit about where you come from as well!
- Embraces creativity. The students you will be working with are used to sitting in desks for English instruction out of workbooks. You need to be willing to get the students up and moving, and think of ways to instruct English without relying on direct translation.
Your primary teaching assignment will be at a public middle school in the municipality of Valinhos. Due to a combination of large class sizes and limited public funding, students attend classes during one of three five-hour sessions: morning, afternoon, and evening. Working within this educational context, volunteers will hold classes for middle schoolers either before or after school has ended for the day, and will have full access to a classroom or community room in the school. What is available in each classroom, however, varies greatly and is very much dependent on the location of the school; those working in the urban center, for example, will definitely have access to blackboards and printers, while those in more rural communities may have little more than desks. An outdoor space is available at most of the schools, and volunteers are encouraged to make use of any soccer courts, parks, or fields in the area to create fun and engaging lessons for their students.
Because programming will take place during the Brazilian academic year, volunteers will have the opportunity to get a glimpse of the inner workings of the Valinhos public education system. Many will end up providing classroom support for their school’s English teacher one or two days per week, leading games and acting as a conversation partner in addition to holding their own classes each day. Volunteers can also expect to have significant interaction with their students outside of the classroom—playing soccer or going to get ice cream, for example—thus providing additional opportunities to bond and allow students to practice their English. In fact, it is not unlikely that you will be commuting to and from school with your students—make the most of it!
Though the bulk of your teaching assignment will take place in public school classrooms, you will have the opportunity to engage with the community in other ways. Your primary teaching placement is complemented by 2 – 3 hours of weekly activities with a local community organization. Below are some examples of where volunteers have given additional lessons in the past:
• Centro de Orientação Humana e Cristã Santa Rita de Cássia (COHCRIC): A center for at-risk children under the age of 12. The center provides meals, activities, and a safe-haven for children who lack these things at home.
• Terceira Idade: A center for the elderly providing community programming for people over 65.
• Associação de Pais e Amigos de Especais (APAE): A center for people with mental and physical disabilities. LE Brazil has specifically worked with the career habilitation classes, which help students prepare for eligibility in the workforce.
Volunteers are immersed in all aspects of Brazilian culture such as food, music, and the Portuguese language! Que legal! Brazilian culture embodies hospitality. It is also a highly multicultural society, with a diverse and varied population. Brazil, like many American countries, was settled by immigrants of all sorts from all over the world. Volunteers will experience Brazil's cultural pluralism first hand when touring the neighborhood of Liberdade in São Paulo or the dutch town of Holumbra. Volunteers have the opportunity to attend the Catholic celebration of Festa Junina - or June Festival. Festa Junina is the annual Brazilian celebrations of rural life that feature traditional food, clothes, and dancing.
Tourism-focused crime is unfortunately common in Brazil - especially with such large-scale international events held within the past year (namely the Rio Olympics). We expect our volunteers to be aware, flexible and respectful international travelers.
Valinhos is a small city located in southeastern Brazil, about 90km from the state capital of São Paulo. It is a small city with a population of 120,258. Known for its purple fig cultivation, Valinhos has grown to house a fair amount of modern industry (the most prominent of which is Unilever.) Many of your host parents will be a part of the area’s growing middle class, owning small businesses in the town or working in the industrial sector. For this reason, you can expect living conditions that are comfortable—including, for example, TV, Internet, and hot water—but that may not necessarily measure up to Western standards.
Each volunteer will be hosted in a different neighborhood of the city where they will live, teach, and become part of community life. Host family settings range from rural chácaras (country homes) to apartments in the city center, but all will have access to a strong bus system that will allow volunteers to travel to and from their homes with ease. Because volunteers live together in the same city, they should expect weekly meetings and get-togethers with other LE participants—from lesson planning groups to social excursions with host families.
Perhaps the biggest selling point for the LE Brazil program is the Valinhos community. Brazilian culture is one of embracing, loving, caring, and, more than anything, feeding. No matter their financial means, host families will go out of their way to make you feel welcome, loved, and full. Further, because you will be in Brazil during the season of Festa Junina—annual Brazilian celebrations of rural life that feature traditional food, clothes, and dancing—you should be ready for many weekends of eating and dancing with your host family and students!
A quick word about teaching English in Brazil: English is seen by many Brazilians as a modern economic necessity and a tool for social advancement. The popularity of English is further encouraged by the strong influence of American culture on Brazil—don’t be surprised if your students call you a “pop star” when you begin speaking in English!
important things to note:
- Each volunteer will have their own classroom in a public, municipal school.
- Students will be generally be 6th-9th graders.
- Volunteers will give 3 – 5 hours of class per day, Monday through Friday.
- Classes will be separated by grade level and have a maximum of 20 students.
- Placements range from from small, rural schools located next to fig fields to urban schools neighboring the shopping mall.
- Students will know little to no English.
- Each volunteer will have an additional placement outside of the public school context that will require 1-3 hours weekly.
- Volunteers should expect to bus to and from school each day.
- Remember: these are voluntary, additional classes that students are attending on top of their normal school day…keep it fun and don’t feel confined to the classroom!