Students at the Middlebury School in Brazil have held internships in a variety of fields. Read below about their experiences in those different fields.
InFlux English School
Jasper Lotus Panger, Belo Horizonte
I worked with the InFlux English School, teaching English to Brazilian high school students who are already advanced in English. My experience with this helped me understand how the language learning process works at the advanced level and learn different methods of teaching English as a second language. I was able to watch as the students improved their cadence, pronunciation, and listening skills in English based on our conversations in class. They taught me a lot about different ways that Brazilians view the US and the English- speaking culture, as well as how K-12 education works in Brazil.
Rádio Communitária Campeche
Patrick Jobson, Florianópolis
Being part of a community is more than passively living with your neighbors. I notice this every Saturday on my way to work at Rádio Communitária Campeche. I work as one of the speakers on a morning news show and on an afternoon variety show. The radio has been on air since 2005 and they have proven to be an essential part of Campeche’s, a region of Florianopolis, community. It is not meant to be a business and the people who work there do not search for personal gain other than helping and improving the community where they live. They organize activities, inform, entertain and most importantly, they are a space for the people of the community to express themselves. The goal of Rádio Communitária Campeche since the beginning has been to be the heart of Campeche. They truly are.
Casa São José
Alex Revelas, Florianópolis
For my internship, I worked at Casa São José, a school in the underprivileged neighborhood of Serrinha that takes care of children in the “off periods” of their days (Brazilian children only go to school for half of the day). The goal of Casa São José is to develop skills like art, music etc. that aren’t otherwise developed in their home/place of education. They also offer tutoring (for homework in problem subjects) and meals for all attendees. To this end, I taught a guitar class, sporadic English classes, and helped teachers run their activities. I was there four times a week.
Patrick Burton, Florianópolis
My internship in Florianopolis, Brazil dealt with a community composting project in a local forest preserve. Two days a week I would go to the park and aid the other volunteers, mainly students of agriculture in the project ´A Familia Casca.´ Members of the community would bring all of their organic waste to the park and drop it in the assigned bins. The volunteers and I would collect the waste and add it to the piles of compost in the back of the park. It was dirty and tiring work, but it felt good to know that I was practicing a little bit of what I preach as an Environmental Studies major.
Instituto Baía de Guanabara
Ruby Bolster, Florianópolis
The Instituto Baía de Guanabara is a non-governmental organization devoted to the study, research and solution of the social, environmental and urban problems in the watershed of the Guanabara Bay, the enormous bay that separates Niterói from Rio de Janeiro. The Institute has an environmental education center in the botanical garden of Niterói, which houses its library and receives school groups. The school groups are taken through the botanical garden and learn about the different trees. They are also given a short presentation about pollution, the water cycle, recycling, the Bay, or a similar subject relevant to the project. My responsibilities included helping with the school visits, researching and presenting information about the Bay and environmental education, organizing the English texts in the library and translation of some of these texts.
Legião de Boa Vontade
Elizabeth Herron Sweet, Florianópolis
I helped at the kids’ program at LBV (Legião de Boa Vontade, Legion of Goodwill), a community center that provides various services for needy and underprivileged people. Parents don’t have to pay to send their kids, ages 6-12, for the half-day they’re not in school for productive and supervised time, keeping them off the streets and with good role models. At LBV kids get food and do various activities in an informal classroom, and I helped for six hours a day, two days a week this semester. Officially I was supposed to teach English one day and lead recreation time the next, but the week turned out to be far less organized than I expected. I had to be flexible, showing up and doing whatever I could to help with the day, from homework assistance to playing board games to teaching English or leading games inside and outside. It was demanding and exhausting, and a definite challenge with some rough spots, but I also had a lot of great moments. I did significant research into methods and games to teach English and keep kids entertained, some of which worked and most of which failed. It was often very difficult to win and keep the kids’ attention and they were prone to start yelling or fighting at any moment. I didn’t succeed in teaching them a huge amount of English, but the point was to expose them to something that will probably be important in their future education. I became close to some of the kids and had some shocking conversations about their lives in the favela. I had to learn how to communicate with them, adding another dimension to my Portuguese. I had great relations with the other workers at LBV, who all seemed to think it was really cool I was showing up and doing some English with the kids. This was definitely the most work-intensive internship of the other Middlebury students in Latin America I’ve talked to, but it’s exactly how I feel our internships should be. It could sometimes be stressful, but I was always occupied, teaching to and learning from my kids. This was an experience I feel lucky to have had, and I hope Middlebury continues working with LBV.
Centro Juvenil de Orientação e Pesquisa
Jessica Polebaum, Niteroi
This semester I worked at the Centro Juvenil de Orientação e Pesquisa (CEJOP), a nonprofit organization that provides a variety of services to a disadvantaged population. Among others, the group has offered aid in the areas of health and education, and enabled various social and cultural activities since its foundation by Professor Altair de Azevedo on July 2, 1955. Located in Icaraí, Niterói, CEJOP attends the needs of residents that live in the surrounding favelas. The most obvious area in which a volunteer can be used by the center is in its reforço escolar, which meets at two different times for two different groups of children each day, providing a space before or after school where children can complete their homework. During the semester, I was positioned here, teaching an English class and helping the teacher control the classroom. The experience here is demanding, frustrating, but rewarding, especially in the doorway it opens to a side of Brazil that is not readily accessible to most visitors.
Milena Flament, Niteroi
Kuarup Discos is an independent record label based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Established 28 years ago, the label focuses on the more traditional Brazilian music, like caipira, nordestina, choro, forró, MPB (Música Popular Brasileira), and samba. The label has won many awards, both national and international, including one Latin Grammy Award. Why the name Kuarup? Quarup is a ritual practiced by the indigenous Brazilian for the dead. They perform a celebration that is not just a homage. In this ritual, the indigenous people make connections between the dead, the earlier generations; and the living, the new generations, to incorporate the best of the past and the present. This is exactly what Kuarup does with music. They take the classic Brazilian music genres and hire new artists who perform them, to keep the tradition going in a modern way. At Kuarup, I was responsible for the English parts of the website and for our English speaking customers and fans. I translated the website and also acquired more English-speaking associates.