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Language Without Borders welcomes students from Brazil

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Anna Júlia Karini and Arthur Nogueira

Anna Júlia Karini and Arthur Nogueira

Anna Júlia Karini and Arthur Nogueira

Anna Júlia Karini and Arthur Nogueira

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We are Anna, 21, and Arthur, 23,  and we are exchange students from Pelotas, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. Pelotas is a middle-sized city in the very south of Brazil,  a large and diverse country. We went to Universidade Federal de Pelotas, Federal University of Pelotas (UFPel). We both studied English, Portuguese and Literature, meaning we studied to be English as a Second Language teachers, Portuguese teachers and literature teachers – both in English and in Portuguese. Despite all of those being part of the curriculum, we focused more on the English language and on applied linguistics studies. Anna has been an ESL teacher for 3 years now, most of her experience as a teacher is due to opportunities provided by the Languages Without Borders Program (LWB) at UFPel. Arthur has been an English teacher for 4 years and has been to private schools, extension courses at UFPel and the Languages Without Borders along with Anna for about 2 years.

The LWB program is, originally, an education program sponsored by the Brazilian Ministry of Education. The program was first created to increase the  English proficiency level of Brazilian university students, faculty and staff as well as to serve as a space for teaching development for university languages students. There are 81 Brazilian universities that are part of the program and offer language classes for free. With time, universities started offering not only English classes, but also French, German, Spanish, Italian, Japanese and Portuguese as Second Language courses.

Teaching in the LWB program has been crucial for our professional development. Being a teacher in the program is a challenging task because it demands not only hours of work and teaching skills, but also demands versatility  and creativity when it comes to lesson planning — at our university, we do not use a workbook, which means all lessons and activities for all different courses and purposes are planned by the teachers.

More recently, willing to promote linguistic and cultural exchange, the program selected five out of the 81 universities to be part of a pilot exchange program. UFPel was one of them. Two language students who had been or were  currently teachers in the LWB program were selected to spend two months in the five participating American universities promoting Brazilian culture and language. We were the two students selected by UFPel and assigned to NJCU. As part of the program, NJCU also selected two students — Diana M. Sanchez and Madaí García  — to spend two months developing activities related to American culture and language at UFPel.

(Left to right) Diana M. Sanchez, Anna Júlia Karini, Arthur Nogueira, and Madaí García.

Impressions about the US and Cultural differences

Ever since our arrival we have been getting to know Jersey City and New York, and we have been noticing numerous differences between our home country and the US. In fact, we notice these differences on a daily basis. It has been interesting for us to see how some aspects of our routine have gone through changes in order to fit the American culture.

One of the differences which has impacted us the most is the way meals work in the US. Here, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, the amount and the variety of food served for this particular meal is a lot different from what we are used to. In Brazil, not everyone has breakfast, and the ones who do usually have some bread and milk or coffee. The meal we consider to be the most important is actually lunch. It is safe to say that nearly everything is different around here, but we are learning, adapting and getting better at being in the US every day.

As far as social interactions go, we have been positively overwhelmed by the welcoming energy of everyone we have met. We have been incredibly well received by our guides (Diana and Madaí), our RA (Bhavya), Ms. Cunningham (vice-director of the Confucius Institute), Ms. Vaughn (Ms. Cunningham’s assistant), everyone from the Confucius institute and NJCU in general.

Participate in our activities related to Brazilian Culture and Language!

Among our objectives coming into this exchange program, is our cycle of workshops and portuguese classes. We are very excited to announce that the latter starts this coming week! Everyone who is interested in starting to learn a new language is welcome to join us (details below). The schedule for our workshops is still to be announced. We are doing our best to share as much as we can in terms of our language and culture, and we are looking forward to put these plans into practice and contribute to the community of NJCU, which has been incredibly welcoming to us.

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Language Without Borders welcomes students from Brazil