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IICA No Certificate Summary
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fragganika



Joined: 12 Dec 2004
Posts: 60
Location: North American

PostPosted: Mon Dec 13, 2004 12:00 am    Post subject: IICA No Certificate Summary Reply with quote

I just wanted to offer this summary to everybody who's short on time-

A warning about IICA in Brazil -

In short, I haven't gotten my certificate.

Though they provided me with an intial certificate, it was incorrectly filled out and they called me a MAN in it!

So, now, 5 months later, I'm still trying to battle them for a correct one.

They are not supportive and very evasive.

Be careful.

(See other IICA post for the full horror story)
They make lots of money on a monthly basis off each trainee teacher.
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fragganika



Joined: 12 Dec 2004
Posts: 60
Location: North American

PostPosted: Sat Dec 18, 2004 12:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ok. update - I told IICA that I posted on esl boards about the problem, and they said they're sending me my certificate via registered mail.

That's funny considering that the first time, when I was appealing to their sense of fairness, they didn't respond to my email.
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Guy Courchesne



Joined: 10 Mar 2003
Posts: 9381
Location: Mexico City

PostPosted: Sat Dec 18, 2004 3:28 pm    Post subject: behold Reply with quote

The power of mass media...bravo!
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fragganika



Joined: 12 Dec 2004
Posts: 60
Location: North American

PostPosted: Sun Dec 26, 2004 2:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes! ESL Cafe is powerful, too! I love this place for its wealth of info. Now, I'm just waiting to see if IICA sends me a certificate that at least doesn't use "he" to describe me! Ha ha.

Peace,

Nika.
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Guy Courchesne



Joined: 10 Mar 2003
Posts: 9381
Location: Mexico City

PostPosted: Sun Dec 26, 2004 3:48 am    Post subject: link Reply with quote

Just send them a link to this forum...a picture is worth a thousand certificates
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fragganika



Joined: 12 Dec 2004
Posts: 60
Location: North American

PostPosted: Sat Jan 01, 2005 8:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Success! I got a REAL certificate from IICA two days ago (Dec. 30th, 04)... Five months after my contract ended, but hey... it's here and it's nearly perfect... the English is perfectly adequate and I'm not mistaken for a man nor am I ascribed to have worked in a different place than the actual...

The power of this internet is truly evident in the beautifully written certificate they ended up sending me.

Yay!
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Guy Courchesne



Joined: 10 Mar 2003
Posts: 9381
Location: Mexico City

PostPosted: Sat Jan 01, 2005 8:59 pm    Post subject: Cheers! Reply with quote

Congrats! Perfect timing for the New Year as well!

So, um, are you now on the job search?
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fragganika



Joined: 12 Dec 2004
Posts: 60
Location: North American

PostPosted: Sun Jan 09, 2005 12:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I got me a pretty sweet job at a non-prof. Good benefits, super kind, attentive bosses (the exact opposite of my Wizard Idiomas experience, ha)... bosses pay health care, tuition reimbursement, allowing me to work on the debt I've accumulated throughout my stints abroad.. basically, super comfortable circumstances for someone like me... A sane person would stay put... But I've already sent out a French Assistant application and I'm looking at grad school programs that could put me in Europe for a significant chunk of time...
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JZer



Joined: 16 Jan 2005
Posts: 3823
Location: Alaska

PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2005 9:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Can someone tell me what he or she thinks of IICA? I would appreciate responses from everyone that has taken part in this program. I read about the certificate but I am not really concerned about getting a certificate. I just want to find a legal way to work in Brazil and have a job that I am sure to get paid every month.
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fragganika



Joined: 12 Dec 2004
Posts: 60
Location: North American

PostPosted: Sun Jan 23, 2005 2:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, though my personal experience wasn't the greatest, most of the problems caused were actually the fault of the school and not 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! Wink
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JZer



Joined: 16 Jan 2005
Posts: 3823
Location: Alaska

PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2005 1:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How about the home stay thing? I am a little concerned with that. What are the rules governing that? I am worried that I will date some Brazilan girl and will want some private time. (i.e. maybe bring her home) Is this against the rules stated in the IICA handbook? I know that you are not paying for rent so your are sort of stuck! If you could lend me some advice on this, I would appreciate it!!!
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fragganika



Joined: 12 Dec 2004
Posts: 60
Location: North American

PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2005 9:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bringing girls home will be a big no-no. No matter what they tell you. You see, Brazilians are naturally so eager to please, that they'll tell you to go ahead and do things they're not truly comfortable of accepting! If you live with a family, forget about bringing anyone home ever. It will be VERY weird and uncomfortable for you afterwards. If you live with another adult close to your age, be careful about it too... cause they might try to be your friend by saying it's ok, but in reality they'll not be ok with it at all... OR they'll get deeply into your business and pry with overly insensitive intensity... or both (my case! ha!)

Good news is, Brazil is the center of "Motels." A motel is not what we think of it. It's a "love hotel," and everyone, even married people, go there for privacy. They're clean, cheap, and very discreet. Take your girl there, and you'll be just fine.
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Guy Courchesne



Joined: 10 Mar 2003
Posts: 9381
Location: Mexico City

PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2005 10:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the above advice goes for all of Latin America as well. Interesting to see how it is in Brazil.

Say...congrats on getting a sweet job Fragganika...
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JZer



Joined: 16 Jan 2005
Posts: 3823
Location: Alaska

PostPosted: Tue Jan 25, 2005 11:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

fragganika,

thanks for the information. I wish that I could find an employer that would help me secure a visa besides this exchange program. I would prefer to live alone..

As for the love motel thing, that could get expensive after a while. I mean if you have a girlfriend or boyfriend and you want to go there every week. I already know about the love motels because a Columbian friend of mine told me about them.
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JZer



Joined: 16 Jan 2005
Posts: 3823
Location: Alaska

PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2005 4:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is it possible to take a portuguese class while doing the IICA program? I do not know any portuguese and would not want to live in Brazil for a year and not learn Portuguese!!
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