Joined: 12 Dec 2004
Location: North American
|Posted: Sun Dec 12, 2004 11:56 pm Post subject: IICA ETP/ESL and Wizard Idiomas - No Certificate, No support
|Here's the ugly side of the IICA placement.
The owner of the school (not IICA) placed my homestay, without any obvious concern, with the school's coordinator, a single woman living in a TINY, dirty apartment. It was a big shock on the first day, but the coordinator seemed so nice, that I decided to overlook the obviously uncomfortable home-work cross over of the situation, as well as the cramped conditions.
As time went by, my host, who'd never lived with a roomate before, became increasingly irritated by having to share her small space. She also couldn't seperate school life from home life, as I'd predicted to myself on the first day.
And school life was erratic - the Coordinator was responsible for training me (as I was a trainee teacher) and she did this in the form of ONE demonstration lesson on the school's "method."
I never got any training after that. I was dumped straight into full time teaching. I also got NO training on the day to day logistics of the school. I'd make dumb mistakes because no one ever mentioned a rule or something... but they'd act like I should have known, like I was stupid for not knowing!
Things kept getting worse and more shady as time went by. The final straw, however, came when I got sick with a high fever one day. I called the school to tell them in the morning. They acted really weird. My host did, too, at home later. So, I went to my boyfriend's house to stay there. The next working day, I was still with a fever and lots of stomach pain... so I went to the Doctor, and gave the school about 2 hours notice that I wouldn't be in.
Next day, IICA sends me a letter saying I was irresponsible and broke rules, not giving the school notice enough to replace me for the day. (btw - there was NO one available to replace me, in the whole town.) IICA says they'll take away points from my certificate. I send back an email defending myself, asking where they got this information. So, they send me a copy of the email my host/coordinator sent to them. It was in Portuguese, and I guess they didn't realize I spoke Portuguese! The host/coordinator told them I'd not given any notice, that I had gone out to the gym, to party, to hang out with my boyfriend that night. A score of lies! She'd actually seen the thermometer and seen me running back and forth to the bathroom!!!
Well, so, I defended myself and explained details, and IICA took back their threat. I completed my certificate in virtual emotional agony, as the woman who was my host/coordinator, Ana Paula de Oliveira, literally ostracized me and made up lies about me to people all over the school. She made her tiny, smelly apartment a living hell for me, watching my every move, criticizing me, telling her STUDENTS about my sleeping habits, my hygiene habits, telling them I was lazy and wasteful. I grew so distraught, that my boyfriend's family practically forced me to move in with them.
In the end, IICA "awarded" me the points and promised a certificate. It took them 2 months to get one to me, and it was worthless, because it had the wrong school, place, and gender on it! So, I began asking for a replacement. They promised me one on September 23rd. It never arrived. I kept asking about it, but every other email got ignored... and the ones that were responded to, just said "It was mailed."
I'm very frustrated, and I wanted to warn everyone about not getting their hopes up for a usable certificate with IICA. They are very irresponsible and don't provide support in their program if you have any real problems.
1/3 of your salary, not to mention your $$$ sign up fee, goes to IICA every month from the school. In SP, an average Brazilian who teaches English will get ~10 Reais per hour. The trainee teacher (who does ALL of the real teaching work and gets ONE hour of training to last 6 months) gets about 5 Reais per hour. Who do you think they'll try to exploit to the maximum? That's what happend to me, and for what it's worth, I'm successfully advancing in a non-profit development career, so I don't need this certificate for jack... however, newbies and hopefuls should be aware that if you depend on IICA or any of your money hungry schools, you'll be sorely disillusioned in the end.