CULTURAL EXCHANGE IN BRAZIL

THE DAY I WAS INVITED FOR A CULTURAL EXCHANGE WITH BRAZILIAN STUDENTS IN IGUATU, CEARA

Discovering another country’s culture is one of travel’s most rewarding aspects, and this experience is made even better when you also share yours in the place you visit. This golden opportunity came to me when I was invited for a cultural exchange in Brazil at a local school in Iguatu, Ceara. Let me tell you how this happened.

HOW DID THEY DISCOVER ME?

As I mentioned in my previous blog, I went to Iguatu to visit my Brazilian friend, Natalia. She was my classmate in the Curso de Verano in Spain, and we became instant friends on our first day. We never lost communication, and I was always telling her that I will visit her in Brazil someday. 6 years later, I finally fulfilled that promise.

Me and my friend Natalia when we were studying in Toledo, Spain in 2013
Me and my friend Natalia when we were studying in Toledo, Spain in 2013

She is a Portuguese teacher, and she had this wonderful idea of doing a cultural exchange with me at the school where she teaches. Foreigners are almost non-existent in this part of Brazil and she thought that it will be a good idea for the students to talk to an English/Spanish speaker. She told it to the school board, and they all agreed to it.

She mentioned that I will be speaking in front of at least 300 students. As a natural introvert, I felt intimidated because I have stage fright, and I had never done it before. However, she assured that it will be alright and that she will help me every step of the way. We created a presentation showcasing interesting information about the Philippines and also highlights of my travels. We practiced for days, and when the day arrived, I already felt ready.

PRESENTATION DAY

We made the presentation in 2 days, divided between first and second-year high-school students, with other teachers present to translate stuff in Portuguese. I can already speak it but they instructed me not to so that students can practice their English and Spanish.

Presentation day
Presentation day

They oriented the students on what the discussion was all about, and that they will be free to ask questions after. I discussed topics such as the food in the Philippines (balut grossed out EVERYONE), places to visit, and also the infamous Tagalog phrase “Bababa ba?”. They were then given a chance to ask questions after the presentation. Some asked about the curiosities I experienced in my travels, while some asked some wholesome personal questions. Everyone was also eager to know if I liked Brazil…A big YES! And who wouldn’t? Brazilians are some of the most accommodating people, and Açai is the best!

With the other teachers
With the other teachers

Natalia informed me that the students loved it! Many students told me that they were so inspired and that they also want to do the same thing I am doing in the future.

The “bababa ba” lesson

I will always thank God for this experience. Truly memorable indeed!

With some of the lovely students
With some of the lovely students

Special thanks to my friend, Natalia Martins, and also to the management of EEEP Lucas Emmanuel Lima Pinheiro for giving me this wonderful opportunity!

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