brazil (60)

Goiânia so far!

While it feels like yesterday that I arrived here in Goiania, two weeks have already flown by! So far we have had the opportunity to meet locals, attend a traditional Brazilian birthday party, eat bottomless Brazilian BBQ, try Acai for the first time, and travel to a beautiful waterfall among many other things!


Last week we had our first day in the school where we will be volunteering, the students and faculty were all incredibly warm and welcoming. This past saturday we attended an event at the school, where we saw the children perform a variety of events and enactments, which illustrated the complex combination of local and religious beliefs. In addition to watching the performances, which the students had been preparing since this February, we had the opportunity to try a variety of local foods which were being sold at the event including caldo do frango, a chicken stew, and Guarana, a soft drink made from the extract of the Guarana plant which grows in Brazil. 

This coming week we will have two cultural outings, during which we will be accompanied by students from the history department from the university who will take us to local museums and culturally significant parts of the city, in addition to our weekly Portugeuse lesson and our lessons at the school. 

See you in a few weeks!



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Interesting Culture and Fantastic People

Last week I visited the Memorial Do Cerrado historical site. It was a great place to learn the pre-colonial history in Brazil. Houses and villages were preserved through decades and nothing had been changed at all. It was also the right place to understand the traditions and social custom of the local people. Exhibition rooms were shown in the houses and all the artifacts were displayed like the old days. I saw a group of elementary level students on a field trip with their teachers, learning the history from the guide on the site. I had a bit hard time reading the labels as I was still learning Portuguese though I did some research before my visit. Since I had never visited any museums like this one before, I enjoyed the interactions with the locals as they were very friendly and willing to share all the past stories with me.

I also had the opportunity to see the Brazilian Independence Day parade. It was a combination of the militaries, government officials, and different school bands. There were lots of people on both sides of the stress during the time. The events lasted for about 3 hours on the street, then the celebration was moved back to the city hall for almost the entire day. I was glad I had the opportunity to witness the patriotism of Brazilians on this very special day.

We also had the chance to visit the local public school for the first time. The admins and teachers were very friendly and gave us as much information as possible. The students were friendly and asked us lots of questions. Some of them didn't have the opportunity to talk us because of their English level. Their English teacher told us that she hopes through English language learning, students would understand the importance of the English language and gain awareness of its practical usage in their daily lives. In Goiania city, most of the people don't speak a second language due to a lack of tourists compared to the major cities like Sau Paulo and Rio de Janerio. However, there are some other people start to learn other languages, such as Spanish and English for job promotions. I also found out that PUC just newly opened language classes teaching people Mandarin and Japanese. The fact that more and more Asian companies opened their business in Brazil encouraged more and more Brazilians to learn Asian languages.

I'm starting to like the culture and friendly people here in Goiania and can't wait for more adventures!

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Surviving as a PLL

Hello! or Boa Noite!

Our adventures in Goiania have been very exciting! We have had the opportunity of trying traditional foods, meeting many friendly people, and exploring in and out of town. We were able to rent a car and visit 3 waterfalls 2 hours away from Goiania. It had a beautiful beach, many different flowers and wildlife (birds, monkeys, lizards, spiders, insects). What a beautiful country with vast diversity in landscapes. Goiania is a massive city that is in the middle of the prairie, which is very hot and dry, whereas on our drive it became more mountainous until we arrived at the waterfalls where it was lush, and the heat was more bearable.3551957063?profile=RESIZE_710x


There are very few English speakers in Goiania, so it has been interesting to communicate and navigate our surroundings. However, the people are eager to help, and we have managed each day to accomplish what is necessary. Having French as a second language has made understanding Portuguese more feasible, but it has been an eye-opening experience to feel what it is like to not understand what is going on in my surroundings.


We have been placed in a Junior High School and the students want to communicate with us and I am at a loss when trying to answer. It is motivating for me to learn more Portuguese so I can hold a general conversation. Luckily, I have been placed with the Art teacher, who speaks some French, so she is able to quickly debrief what she is teaching about. The students have been preparing for a community event at their school that is representing the culture and history of the state of Goias through song, dance and art. We have been lucky enough to be invited to go watch and we are eager to see what the students have been practicing.








Next week I will in better shape to introduce myself and understand simple terminology, as we had our first AMAZING Portuguese lesson today. I think I will be able to learn enough conversational Portuguese to get by comfortably by the end of this trip and will learn many great teaching strategies and activities to bring into my own classroom one day!

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Portuguese Language Learners

Ola from Goiania, Brazil!


It has been a whirlwind of events and emotions the past 10 days as I slowly settle into life here in Goiania and learn to embrace the language barrier.


Everyone we have met so far has been so welcoming and friendly inviting us out and sharing local spots. Our liaison Ivan has been extremely helpful and supportive working with us to set up a schedule that involves volunteering and observing at a junior high school twice a week, helping with a program called alfadown in their dance classes, and organize museum visits. We also have Portuguese class once a week with Daniel a PLL (Portuguese language learner) prof.


We have gotten to visit the school twice now, sitting in on our first class today. The teacher I have been paired with teaches art and speaks French and Portuguese, so I have been working on my French at the same time as trying to learn Portuguese (not the easiest). So far it has been a great experience and she has been extremely helpful in trying to explain things and make sure I understand. The students are extremely curious about us and love to run up and say “hello, how are you” before running away. 3551966196?profile=RESIZE_710x

We also had our first Portuguese lesson today! Although it was a little overwhelming Daniel is an amazing teacher and I am excited to learn as much as I can from him over the next 7 weeks.



Life in Brazil


Life here in Goiania is an adjustment to that of Calgary and Vancouver, but I am enjoying the learning experience and culture. We have gotten to try lots of different Brazilian food from Brazilian BBQ to Acai! Tonight, we will be trying some pamonha! My favourite thing so far has been the Acai bowl from a little family run restaurant a block away from our apartment.

We even ventured out of the city for our first adventure already! The 6 of us piled into a small SUV and headed to Cachoeira Santa Maria a beautiful waterfall with a little sandy beach in Pirenopolis.  A great way to see a little bit of Brazils land, spend some time together and relax before jumping all in with everything here in the city.3551951488?profile=RESIZE_710x

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Feels Like Home

I have absolutely loved settling into life here in Goiania. It feels like everything is really beginning to fall into place.

We connected with a Junior High school and will be observing their classes twice a week. Today was our first day of observation. The school directors began by explaining the school system here in Goiania for us. This was a more complicated process then you may imagine because they speak very little English, and we are just beginning to learn Portuguese. I do however feel we got the jist of things! While in the Junior high I’ve been placed with the history teacher, which is perfect given I studied history for my undergraduate degree. I’m excited to see how teaching styles and strategies differ here in Goiania, as well as learning more about Brazilian history.

Alfadown is another program we are planning to volunteer with regularly. This is a program for adults and children with Down’s syndrome. We will be joining them for a weekly dance lesson! Being a part of the dance lesson this week was a wonderful experience because it gave us an opportunity to connect with Brazilians without language being too much of a barrier. This program also provided me with an opportunity to see what strategies are being used for inclusion here in Goiania.


Today we had our first Portuguese lesson. Although I have been able to pick up the odd phrase in the last week, it was super helpful to get some more formal instruction. Our professor specializes in teaching Portuguese as a second language so it was really interesting to see what kind of tools and games he used today in our lesson. I believe I will be learning much more than just Portuguese in this class.

Overall, I am loving Goiania and I can’t wait to continue to learn and explore!

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Settling into the 37 degree weather has been quite the task, but 3 days in and I think my body is starting to adjust. We had our first meeting yesterday with the school and were given an idea of the opportunities we will be having. Hopefully by the end of the trip, after our 4 hours of Portuguese lessons a week, I will be able to have some sort of conversation. We discussed that we willl get to go to museums, historical sights in and out of the city, an elementary school and a circus school! I cannot wait to get into living these experiences with our new Brazilian friends.

We were also informed that October is harvesting season and there are fruits that are only local to this area in the entire world. They said there is a fruit that if you bite into it, it will give you slivers all over your mouth... not sure how you go about eating it, but they said they will show us how to eat them safely! I am sure we will be blogging about this experience in the future weeks ! 



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Day 1

This morning we went to campus for the first time! It was very reassuring. Before this morning everyone was a bit unsure of what we would be doing, and how our time here would be spent. We will have Portuguese lessons every Wednesday afternoon, which is the part I am most looking forward to. Learning a new language and seeing how they teach in another culture will be very interesting! The students we met today were unbelievably welcoming, and I cannot wait to get to know them better.

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Arrival in Brazil

Prior to my arrival in Brazil I had been travelling in Argentina for two weeks. Having travelled quite extensively in other Spanish speaking South-American countries, and as a competent Spanish speaker myself, I did not feel quite as lost or confused, that is until I arrived in Brazil. I was accustomed to arriving in a hostal or getting into a taxi and understanding what was being said to me, but upon arrival in Goiania and entering a taxi, I was completely and utterly lost, and had no idea whatsoever what the taxi driver was saying to me. Thanks to having written down addresses I arrived at my Air bnb, where I will be staying with 4 other education students for the next two months. 

I am excited to begin our weekly portugesue lessons, meet other students at the faculty of education here in Goiania, and have a chance to see how students are educated in Brazil.  

Ate mais!


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Goodbye Vancouver and Hello Brazil!

And just like that summer was over. The crazy work hours, daily mountain bike rides, weekend adventures into the mountains, and lazy mornings in bed with coffee. It all sank in as we drove to the airport Monday morning at the early hour of 3:30am. Everything I have possibly forgotten running through my head a hundred miles an hour. I have never felt so disorganized and stressed as I prepared to embark on a journey. The constant what have I forgotten and what else do I need has run through my head everyday for the past week, but I have finally accepted that I will figure it all out as I go. Instead of stressing my final weekend about what I had not packed, I decided to soak up the last couple days of my west coast summer and venture into the mountains hiking, biking and eating lots of ice cream, finding peace and stillness amongst the chaos.

Watching the sunrise over Vancouver as the plane took off, I said goodbye for now, sad to be leaving my loved ones, but excited for the unknown and experiences that Brazil will give me.  I know that it is going to be an amazing trip full of learning and challenging myself. The language barrier will be my biggest challenge for the first few weeks, but it will help me to have a better understanding on how English language learners in my classroom feel and how I can help them.

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Foreign Familiarity

Everything about my Brazil experience so far can be summed up in this Shazam of a song I heard at the grocery store a few hours ago. 

It's a little recognizable, a little inviting, a little familiar, but somehow strangely foreign at the same time.

From what I've seen, the culture, attitudes, demeanor and pace of life down here are comparable to life in the large cities of North America where I've lived before - they're just using a different language to communicate.

It's comfortably welcoming but foreign at the same time. So far, a great place to be! 

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Pre-departure Post

I left Canada on August 19th and arrived at Goiania at the 20th. I planned to stay for 2 days before heading to Argentina and Chile for my South America trip. It was originally planned as a pre-test of how I would feel for the TAB. I felt comfortable because I made full preparations for the coming trip in terms of finance, packing, medication and vaccination. I also pushed myself out of my comfort zone because I have never systematically learned any Spanish before. The mini trip proved my theory: sometimes I can not make it possible to communicate with locals without the use of the translation tools, such as google translation app on my iPhone. It made me think how would I live with the language and culture barriers in the next two months.

Before heading to Brazil, I was filled with excitement and couldn't wait for it.

Now I can feel the tension and pressure of the importance of language learning in a foreign country. On one hand, I was really happy that the PUC would provide us the language courses during our stay. Meanwhile, I would also make more friends and spend more time with local students to adapt to the living styles and environment in Brazil. It also made me think about English language learning and teaching: what does language learning mean to us as groups of foreigners living in a different culture; and how the English language works in the local social and economic system. When teaching English, we need to think about what the students may consider important and what we value the most. South America has so much unique history and civilization for me to discover, and I do hope I will enjoy learning the knowledge as much as embracing my own identity as an outsider of the local culture.

May the force be with us all. Keep calm and carry on.

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How Brazil Made Me A Better Educator

Since being back in Calgary for three days now, it has definitely given me time to reflect on my time in Goiânia. First off, I would like to say that this experience was nothing short of amazing. Having the opportunity to learn a new language, deeply explore a new culture, and to meet unbelievably amazing people are moments I will cherish forever. Practically everything that I experienced on this journey has, and will continue to, impact me both personally and professionally. In relation to the latter, this experience has definitely given me insights as to how to be a better educator.

Specifically, it showed me how I can better meet the needs of my future ESL students. Having to learn Portuguese and attempting to learn academic content in Portuguese-speaking classrooms is definitely hard work - sometimes even demotivating. Going through this has given me a glimpse into the world of our ESL students here in Canada, and the difficulties and struggles they may face in English-speaking classrooms. I can honestly say that I have a whole new appreciation for ESL students as they are simultaneously learning a new language and new academic material. Moving forward, I want to ensure that I can create an environment where I can help eliminate these difficulties by, for example, trying to learn/speak their language (as our Portuguese teacher often tried to do with English) or even reassuring them that they have my support if they need it. These little things go a long way, as they certainly did for me in Brazil.

Again, this truly was an amazing experience, and I cannot thank everyone back in Brazil for everything they did for us. Brazil is a truly spectacular country - with its rich history, diverse culture, breathtaking landscapes, and, most importantly, its wonderful people. I encourage everyone to visit this place as you will not be disappointed.

Special shoutout to #teamhistory (below) at PUC Goias University! We cannot thank you enough for the support you gave us. :)


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Tchau Brasil!

I can't believe that our experience is complete and I am now back in Calgary looking for an apartment. When thinking about the last few months, there are a few memories that stick out, such as, culture, language, and people.


Brazil has such a rich culture that varies between each state and even between cities. There is a history of Indigenous peoples, slaves, and colonialism. We learned a bit about the tough history and I was able to recognize the similarities between the history of Brazil and that of the United States. Given their diverse history, you can find all types of traditional food, music, and even dancing. A typical food of Goiânia is called 'pamonha' and it is a little bit like a tamale. It is made out of a special type of corn meal, filled with goodies (cheese, sausage, or chicken), and then wrapped in a corn husk. DELICIOUS! This was one of our favorite meals for sure! I also really enjoyed seeing all of the street art in the different cities because they all had unique styles that made me want to learn their stories. We learned that many places around the city give permission to the artists and want to have art displayed on their buildings and houses.


Learning Portuguese was definitely more of a struggle than I first thought it would be. Since I speak Spanish, and they are both romance languages, I thought the transition would be a bits smoother. What really got me was the 'sotaque', or accent, the is required when pronouncing Portuguese words. For example, to pronounce 'onde', you say the 'd' like a 'g', so it would be 'own-gee'. An 'r' is pronounced like an 'h' and a 't' like the 'ch' sound. Not only was the pronunciation difficult for me, we soon learned that the city of Goiânia has it's own accent. They often shorten words or phrases, so it can be even more difficult. We found this Instagram post to be quite helpful.


I'm not even sure how describe how incredibly thoughtful and caring the people are that we met. If we ever felt lost or confused, we had such an amazing group of brasileiros to help us! Whether it was with our phone plans, fixing broken computers, doctor visits, planning a tour, or even just finding a good restaurant, someone was always there! These people supported us linguistically, mentally, and emotionally during our time in Goiânia. I know we will all be forever grateful. I hope that one day we get the chance to repay them in every way! I honestly cannot imagine my time there without them. I feel so lucky to have met such wonderful people with such big hearts! I already miss them so much!!!











Tchau for now!


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Farewell, Brazil.

I'm writing this final blogpost from the comfort of my own bed, here in Calgary. I feel like I have so much to say about my time on the TAB program that I could type for weeks non-stop. I'm going to keep this post simple, because there's no possible way that I can say everything that I want to say.

My time in Brazil was an incredible whirlwind. By the time I left it felt like I was leaving an entire life behind. It's hard to come to terms with the fact that there are some things and people that I will quite simply never see again.

While I definitely experienced some ups and downs in Brazil, the one thing that I am the most thankful for is the friends that I made. Not only am I leaving Brazil with more than 10 close friends who live there that I can visit any time, but I am also coming home with some solid friendships between the other TABers who were on my trip. I've never experienced such an incredibly supportive, fun, and real group of people and I'm sure that at least a few of them will be lifelong friends of mine.

It's hard for me to write about Brazil now that I'm home. Now that I'm settling back into my home and seeing all my friends it almost feels like Brazil was all a dream. While I was there I felt like I had been there for years, but now that I'm gone its like it never happened. 

I'm thankful for the University of Calgary's TAB program for providing me with this once in a lifetime opportunity. Not only did I learn so much about a new language and a new culture, I also learned a lot about myself in the process. Brazil is not somewhere that I ever thought I'd end up, but now its a place that will forever hold a place in my heart.


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Até logo Brasil!

As I drink the first Sprite I have had in 2 months and I eat what can very well be my last serving of Pão de Queijo, I can’t stop thinking about all the things I am going to miss in Brazil and all the things I am looking forward to in Calgary. I am happy to see my family and friends, eat the most amazing home cooked meal from mom, and be able to fully understand everyone! However, I am also sad to leave behind what has become a happy, well balanced, life here in Brazil. Here are some of the things I will miss the most:  

  1. The people: The more I think about it, the more I know that the hardest thing to leave behind is all the people I have met. I am going to miss their welcoming and friendly “Ola, tudo bem?”, their overall appreciation of the little things, their generosity and their kindness. This is valid for my amazing friends and for all those people I met briefly. Not so long ago, I left my phone in an Uber. Worried that my Portuguese skills were not going to be enough to get my phone back, a family of Brazilians came to my rescue; they contacted the driver and told me he would be meeting me where he dropped me off. Unfortunately, the driver never showed up. I tried contacting him again with no success. At this point, I was in Salvador’s Basilica, and I asked a church official for help in contacting the driver one more time. We tried with no success. In little to no time, I had 3 church officials and 2 police officers trying to help me. Although we weren’t able to get my phone back, they were supportive and made me feel safe in a moment where I was feeling frustrated and useless. Brazilians are welcoming and always ready to help! I am glad to have met good people while in Brazil, and I can say that they all have a special place in my heart!  
  2. Açai in hot sunny days (or rainy ones): I cannot express how much I love Açai, especially with strawberries, bananas and granola on it! I was lucky enough to taste it in the Amazon for the first time and I immediately fell in love with it. I ate this amazing dessert when I felt the sun was going to melt me, and when it rained so hard in Goiania, that it reminded me of Manaus. It became such an important part of my daily life, that it will be hard to not have constant easy access to it!
  3. As Feiras: Goiania has many street markets, where you can find anything from food to clothes to puppies. Going to these markets became a fun, relaxing, Sunday afternoon activity. It was the place where I refined my bargain skills, and where I got to try the best brigadeiros, and acerola juice. I will miss simply walking around these street markets with friends, while appreciating the many great things vendors were offering.
  4. Muay Thai with my roommates: One of my roommates, practiced Muay Thai for years, when one of our friends from the liaison found out, he took us to a gym and introduced me to this cool sport! This became a fun way to exercise and meet Brazilians! It was a lot of fun, and I will miss trying to understand our teacher’s instructions, as I carefully watched his actions instead of hearing his explanations.
  5. My daily Portuguese class with Uber drivers: I loved how most of my Uber drivers were ready to spark conversation, even after I timidly told them “eu não falo muito Portuguese”. They are part responsible for my language learning improvement and my confidence while speaking. I am going to miss our little chats about anything and everything.
  6. Discovering new foods and places: One thing I realize as I leave Brazil is that I did not get to know half of Goiania in two months! I loved walking around my neighborhood and discovering shops, I had never seen before, even during the last week in Brazil! I loved that people would keep recommending new parks, bars, and restaurants! My favorite last-day visit was to Parque Areião, where I got to see some cute monkeys playing around and some beautiful birds hanging out by the lake. It is located right in the heart of the city and it’s a popular spot to go running. I liked it a lot, and this was discovered on my last day in the city. I am happy to have seen so much in such little time, and I will miss this amazing city that hosted me for 2 months!

I will keep all of these things close to my heart as they become memories. My time in Brazil has had its ups and downs, but ultimately this was a unique and beautiful experience! All I have left to say is Obri-thank-you to everyone involved and everyone who helped me while abroad!

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Hot Tips from a Hot Country

I’m currently writing from the international terminal in São Paolo and it seems a little surreal that in just a little while I’ll be back in the land of donuts and snow.  It’s a little bittersweet to be catching some English mixed in with the Portuguese, and I’m not sure if I’m quite ready to pack away my shorts for a down jacket, but I do know that I’m so grateful for this opportunity to be immersed in the colourful Brazilian culture, and I’m honestly excited to bring back the learning (and the clothes haha) that I have accumulated in my time here.

For my last post, I’d like to share some of my best tips about Brazil to entice future TABers to come to this beautiful country.

First of all, don’t be afraid to look foolish in your language learning. From my experience, most Brazilians are only ever intrigued and excited when you try your Portuguese with them.  They are just as nervous (if not more!) to practise English with you, so jump into that space and laugh and learn together. As a future teacher, it gave me a lot of joy to see our Goianese friends improve in their English as they worked with us.  Language exchange is such a beautiful opportunity, and one of the ways that we, as Canadians, can risk but also give back in our host countries. Be bold and begin practising as soon as possible. If I was to have any regrets, it would be that I didn’t start speaking my (baby) Portuguese sooner. Don’t be afraid of looking silly. You’ll only gain friends and vocabulary!

Our final goodbye with the PUC Intercambio (Exchange) crew. We love our PUC friends!

And speaking of our Goianese friends, we truly could not have done this experience without them.   They took us to schools, arranged for us to join them on beautiful weekend trips, encouraged us in our Portuguese, and helped us with so many everyday tasks. Don’t be afraid to dive in with the university students. They were our happiest hellos, and our saddest goodbyes here, and we know that we have made some lifelong friends. Plus, you’ll feel like a celebrity because you’ll get so many new Instagram followers.

Third, arrange to travel while you’re here!  Brazil is a giant country with some truly beautiful parks and cities, and while the language barrier can be a little intimidating, it is well worth the effort to muddle through some google translate and see some new places. We found that driving outside of the city was not too scary, and even rented cars to visit the nearby towns of Pirenópolis and Goias Velho. I’d also recommend the state of Bahia where you can stay in the beautiful city of Salvador and visit surrounding places such as Chapada Diamantina and Praia do Forte. I LOVED Bahia. So go exploring! Even in Goiania there are many different parks (where you can see monkeys!!), restaurants, and malls that are really fun to visit.  We barely scratched the surface.

The stunning Poço Azul (Blue Pool) in Chapada Diamantina Park in the state of Bahia.  The water is so clear that you can see straight to the bottom, 50 feet down.

Finally, give yourself time and space to reflect on the process and recognize your different patterns of learning.  I found that what we were exploring in our online courses coincided a lot with what I was experiencing and working through in my day-to-day experiences in Goiania.  I was honestly surprised by how many connections I kept finding between my “academic” learning and “life” learning, but I came out of this experience truly convinced that this is how learning is meant to occur. We are the sum of all our experiences, and we are in charge of how we choose to pursue growth within that.

Anyways! All this to say, come stay in Goiania! Who wouldn’t want to extend summer for 2 more months? I’ve loved my time here, and I know that it has informed my teaching (and life) practise in truly beautiful and transformative ways.

Muito obrigada por tudos Brasil (Thank you so much for everything Brazil)! Tchau!

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Chasing Cachoeiras

One of our TABers, Sammi Friesen, has had trouble getting into her Ning account recently. The post below is from her. :)

Nossa (wow)! These past 3 weeks have been so full. Let me tell you about things that I love in Goiania:

  1. Friendly Uber drivers – it has been so fun to practise Portuguese with our drivers. We’ve also met some truly amazing people who show a keen interest in us and our country and make us feel so welcome. One man told us his daughter would move to Canada tomorrow if she could, and even put her on speakerphone to make her practise English with us. We love our Uber drivers!
  2. Student friends – no words can describe how thankful we are for the effort that some of these students have made to share their lives with us and make Goiania feel simultaneously exciting and homey. We want them all to come to Canada so we can return the favour!
  3. Heavy rains – these take down the average temperature from 36°C to 26°C and I can’t tell you how AMAZING that feels.
  4. Weekend trips – we have had the chance to visit some truly beautiful cities and parks. I am in love with the stunning cachoeiras (waterfalls) and colourful buildings in towns like Pirenopolis, Goias Velho, and Chapada dos Veadaeiros (a National park) near the town of Sao Jorge.
  5. Mango season – enough said.
  6. Muay Thai classes – a bit of an unusual activity to associate with Brasil, but my roommates and I have been going to a Muay Thai Academia (gym) regularly since we arrived, and we love it. We have found Brasilians to be so welcoming and accepting (even when you’re dripping sweat…), and this academia is no exception.

One thing that I’ve really been appreciating about our time here in Brasil is how my in-country learning has been complemented and enhanced by my online classes. I have never taken an online class, and I expected that it was going to be a pretty disjointed experience. However, I have been pleasantly surprised by the ways that our learning leaks into the life that we lead here. We have been taking Interdisciplinary Learning and Indigenous Studies. My most significant learning in Interdisciplinary has been the benefits of scaffolding and the way that learning can build so intricately, either consciously and unconsciously in a school unit, and in life experiences. Everything that I have been doing in Brasil is preparing me for another aspect of what I will encounter. This applies to language learning, grocery shopping, driving (speed traps are a real hazard here…), and so much more. From the Indigenous class I have learned to appreciate the interconnectedness of my life and community here. I might be only a small part of other people’s day here, but the cumulation of what these students and teachers and drivers contribute to my day is making my experience rich, and I can only hope that I am returning the favour in some small way!

Here’s to 2.5 more weeks of making a fool of myself in Portuguese! Ate logo (see you later)!

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Language mistakes...

Over the past few weeks, I had the chance to observe English as a Second Language classes and travel to Chapada Dos Veadeiros

I had the chance to experience two very different teaching styles, even though their lessons were focused on oral skills. Both teachers had classes full of very engaged students who are eager to learn the language. It is refreshing to see such enthusiasm coming from such a young group of people. These observations have helped me determine the kind of teacher I want to become, and they have given me ideas about some of the resources I can use in my classroom if I ever end up teaching French as a Second Language.

Now that I have been here for a bit more than a month, I have become a bit more comfortable speaking Portuguese (even though I still mix my languages). Recently, I went on a trip to Chapada Dos Viedeiros, a beautiful National Park just 5-6 hours away from Goiania, where I was surrounded by Portuguese-speaking students most of the time. While I was having a conversation with them, I found out that I had been mispronouncing and using the wrong term since I had landed in Goiania. Apparently this was a term that could come across as offensive in the wrong context.  Although, I found it hilarious at the time, I also feel very ashamed because I have said this word a couple of times. I had a lovely time in Chapada dos Veideiros, and I feel went one step further in my immersion in the Portuguese language. I got to see the beautiful sights and cachoeiras of this national park while I made awesome friends that help me grow and who support me in my language learning process. This week I also realized I had been mixing up “perto” and “preto”, which means “close” and “black”. So, I guess that clears up so many misunderstandings I have had in the past! Learning a new language is always a process, and I know that I won’t forget the differences between these words. The fact that I got corrected by friends who couldn’t stop laughing at me, makes these words even more memorable. I am happy that I can laugh at my own mistakes and learn from them.



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Feeling Inspired in Goiânia

While being in Goiânia, we have done quite a bit of exploring to significant landmarks and parks. Although all have been fascinating to see, the most significant monument to me has been our visit to the Monumento às Três Raças (Monument to the Three Races) – left. Located in the heart of Goiânia, the monument was constructed in 1968 to pay tribute to the miscegenation (i.e. the mixing of races) of the black, white, and indigenous races. After some more online research, it was to give equal recognition of the three races contributions to collaborating together to establish Goiás (i.e. the state of Goiânia) (year of Goiania) and what it means to be ‘Goian’.




This monument is truly amazing to me because of the pride, respect, and equality that the Goian people have for not only their White ancestry,but the Black and Indigenous ancestries as well. The attitude to preserve this recognition and embrace diversity is even emphasized in the school system. When sitting in on a Portuguese Class for Grade 6, students were reading aloud a book titled ‘Ainda Bem Que Tudo é Diferente/Glad everything is different’ by Fabio Gonçalves Ferreira – cover of book on the right. The children’s book essentially touches on embracing diversity among Brazil’s people.



Witnessing this powerful monument and seeing the use of these materials in the classroom are very significant to me as a future educator. I could see myself referring to these as an examples or resources for creating lessons in Social Justice Education and/or Indigenous Education. Sharing how progressive Brazil is in tackling and embracing these issues around race and indigeneity is inspiring to me. I strive to take what I have learned here in Brazil to hopefully inspire my future students.


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Unplanned Adventure

Boa tarde!

It is crazy how fast time is flying by here in Brazil! I will be back in Calgary three weeks from today! This past weekend, my group and I, went on an adventure to Chapada dos Veadeiros with a group of seven brasileiros. Chapada dos Veadeiros is a national park that has many different waterfalls that you can hike to and is located about a six-hour bus ride from our city, Goiânia. The only details we were told was to bring camping equipment and that it would be very cold at night so make sure to bring warm clothes and blankets.



Normally, when it comes to planning a trip, I am quite prepared. However, I thought I would take the Brazilian approach of “go with the flow” this time around. We met at the Praça Cívica (Civic Square) at 7pm sharp because that is what we were told, in order to take the bus at 8pm. Once we arrived, we noticed that there was no one from the Brazil group there. As more time passed, we got more and more nervous. Finally, about 7:40pm, they began to trickle in. Relieved to see them we packed our things on the bus and headed out for our six-hour drive to Chapada. We arrived at a camp site, that turned out to be gravel in between some brick walls, about 5am and began to set up our tents. By 7am we were buying food at the local market in order to keep us full until we returned at 4pm. We each brought one big and one little water bottle, which turned out not to be nearly enough for the Canadians. The Brazilians were totally fine on little water; however, we felt dehydrated and super-hot hiking in the 35-degree weather. And at night, all six of us squeezed into a tent that ended up being like a little furnace when the weather only dropped to 17-degrees, so all of our blankets were tossed asside. Even though it would've been good to know the weather temperature, where the campsite would be, and how far we were actually hiking, it was all totally worth it! The next day we explored the beautiful town and had some delicious meals! We didn't have cell service, so it was a great time to really enjoy the time we had together as a big group. This weekend was the perfect get away during a busy time of online projects and posts.






Overall, it was such a fantastic weekend full of unforgettable memories! Culturally, we learned that our definitions of cold were completely different, not to stress about time, and cell phone service free weekends are good for the soul! Also, we were able to practice Portuguese with all of our friends as well as, learn many new words and phrases. We learned so much this weekend and I will always be grateful to the people who helped get us here and taught us through language and culture.

Obri-thank you!

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