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IICA Update??

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Joined: 09 Jan 2008
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2011 9:13 pm    Post subject: IICA Update?? Reply with quote

I was considering applying for IICA in order to teach and live in Brazil but when I did a search on this board there weren't any recent posts. I'm just curious if there's anyone who is currently in the program or recently finished who has something to share.

Also, when looking at their handbook I see that they have changed (hopefully improved?) some of their policies, such as 25 hr/week load (reading some other posts I gathered that it used to be 36??) and the option to choose your own placement.

Any comments would be appreciated Smile
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Joined: 04 Apr 2011
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2011 7:00 pm    Post subject: Also curious Reply with quote

Hey bluespoon: glad to see someone else is trying to do this program!!

I'd advise you to get in touch with one of the alumni on the alumni contact list provided in the handbook. I had a nice long convo with one-a woman- and she said she loved her experience. That's why I'm applying.

However, I do still have many questions, esp. since the handbook looks super dodgy lol
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Joined: 20 Mar 2011
Posts: 108
Location: Boston, MA

PostPosted: Sat Apr 16, 2011 10:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would say definitely do plenty of research before hand.

You come with a special IV Visa status for cultural purposes, such as learning Portuguese, helping out at a language school with their English classes and by improving your professional objectives.

Visas in Brasil are hard to get -- and keep -- legally if you are working and making money on a visa not meant for such. It's understandable though, being how getting a work visa in brasil is such a pain. Is a link to a similar topic with the same company. I would say read through the OP's posts and keep in mind everyone's experiences are different (also that the company is just that, a company. They don't exist to promote cultural understanding, they are recruiting you to make money.)
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Joined: 20 Mar 2011
Posts: 108
Location: Boston, MA

PostPosted: Sat Apr 16, 2011 10:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's a good quote from that thread about IICA:

Here's what I think of IICA - They're stuck between a rock and a hard place in terms of who it is that they need to focus their energies on. IICA is legitimate. They're not out to scam anyone. That said...

IICA relies on the school that takes you on as their placement to pay them a monthly fee of about 300 RS per month, as well as an initiation fee. But they rely on YOU continuing in the program and paying your initiation fee, as well.

The thing is, that it's up to chance on whether you'll get a decent host-school. IICA can't really be sure whether a boss will treat you as a valued addition to your school or as a commodity to be exploited within the vaguely phrased, flexible rules of the Handbook.

My school took all the limits literally and pushed them to a point where I felt like an indentured mule 6 days a week. They also placed me and my other fellow American in horrifying homestays in Sao Paulo, breaking home/work boundaries and, personally, getting extremely intrusive and unprofessional.

My friend's school in Manaus, on the other hand, gave her 10 hours LESS per week to work than contracted, and an amazing family placement, who treated her with utmost respect and kindness, and allowed her to travel on weekends.

So, one thing I have to accuse IICA of is that they DON'T screen your homestay at all. It's up to the school to place you. Being a very for-profit, franchise business (in fact, I came to call my placement with Wizard Idiomas as the Burger King of Brazilian language schools - Fisk Schools is the MacDonald's) some schools just don't care to put an effort into checking that you and the homestay match up. And some managers (like those who operated the three Wizard franchises I worked for) are gross in their overstepping of personal regard... BTW see my loooong post about that if you want somewhere below this thread)

But they do work with you, IICA does, if you're assertive and detailed about the rules. The school might try to bend the rules one way, you can go ahead and interpret them the opposite way, and just back yourself up. For example, IICA changed the handbook rules about sickness because of me. I got sick with a fever for 2 days and gave my school notice, as well as showed the thermometer to my boss who happend to be my homestay. I had gotten a mere headeache and been urged to stay home by my boss without any doctor's notes, so I didn't think twice about staying home with my fever. Well, three days later, I get an email from IICA about it, saying that the absence of a note broke rules. But my handbook, I checked, had NO mention of notes. It said I had 10 days of sick time without penalty, period... nothing more was mentioned. (This, btw, was my experience with American employers - 10 days sick time, and after THAT, you needed notes). So, IICA sent me a NEW handbook, this time with the rules changed to reflect what they are today - a Doctor's note for any and every absence. But I stuck to the rules I had been given at arrival, and IICA respected that... but I had to be vocal, cause at first, they definitely were on the side of the school!

So, it's like a balancing game. You gotta know that you ARE a big asset, and IICA does need you... but they'll naturally lean toward helping out the school, who'll prolly continue to ask for trainees long after you're gone.

By your post, you seem like someone who isn't timid or naive. As long as you're aware of the balancing act, you'd be just fine hooking up through IICA's program.

Hope my reply helps and doesn't annoy with its detail!

If you would like, feel free to PM me about my experiences living with Brasilians
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Joined: 20 Mar 2011
Posts: 108
Location: Boston, MA

PostPosted: Sat Apr 16, 2011 10:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hahahaha I also just saw this while checking out their site

"Bill Came to Brasil to Teath English"

Laughing Laughing Laughing
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