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Tomorrow's Future: US-Brazil Connect

by Jake Sigmond

US-Brazil Connect is a non-profit program dedicated to the intellectual growth of the youth. It is a mutually beneficial program where both the fellow and the student grow as a result of the interactions between them. In the end, we each wind up with improved understanding of the other's language, and cultural humility. The program strives to provide an introduction to English for Brazilian students who would not normally get the opportunity . This is made possible by individual donors as well as by SESI (Servico Social da Industria), and SENAI (Servico Nacional de Aprendizagem Industrial), both of which science based education programs are sponsored by CNI (National Confederation of Industry). Additionally, the program seeks to establish lasting relations between Americans and Brazilians, for friendship and business purposes.
This past summer, I traveled overseas to Goias, Brazil and embarked on a journey I won't forget for the rest of my life. I was immersed in a culture and language I did not know and was far from my comfort zone. Over the course of a month, I learned some Portuguese and taught my students a good amount of English as well. Most importantly, I made many new friends and memories that will last a lifetime. This program taught me that a leader is someone who is capable of establishing a form of communication in any situation. When a leader has done a successful job, the leader can step back and let the group set their direction for the future. Without previously knowing any Portuguese, I taught my students enough English to provide them with a foundation. Now the students have a personal choice as to whether or not to continue learning English.
I have observed that in the United States we live in a materialistic society, but in Brazil where the poverty is greater the citizens find happiness in much smaller acts of kindness. Simply being receptive and supportive of my students put a smile on their face. Over the course of the month my teammates and I introduced the students to many songs, games, and dances which utilized English speaking skills. As a group we would all join in singing, laughing, jumping around with each other as we performed the newly learned material. These kids lived in neighborhoods where day time muggings occurred frequently, but all that mattered to them was making it to class to see us. These kids dedicated their month to us and in return I dedicated myself to being the best mentor I could be. In the process, I got to know all my students personalities and they got to know mine. It was not easy saying goodbye to a group of kids unforgettable moments with over the past month, but I know wherever life leads us, there will always be that memory and connection that links our group together so that someday we might meet up again and pick up right where we left off.
US-Brazil Connect was made possible for me by donors and fundraising. The expenses of all teaching fellows who participate in the program are 100% covered by US-Brazil Connect. Without that kind of support, I for one could not have participated in the program. I'm sure the same can be said for many, perhaps most of the teaching fellows. I ask that you please donate any amount of money you can to help me reach my goal of raising $1000 to help future teaching fellows participate in the program. That way, the program will continue to be available to individuals who seek to better international relations and to improve the lives of others, rather than only to those who can afford to pay their own way.
If you have any questions or would like to hear more about my experience, contact me at

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$700.00 $0
  • 79% Funded
  • 28 Days to Go
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