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IICA update - 2009

 
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anazus



Joined: 05 Mar 2009
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2009 2:53 pm    Post subject: IICA update - 2009 Reply with quote

Hi everyone!

Just wondering if there's anyone participating in the IICA program now. I'm currently in the program and want to compare. Basically, my school is horrible. They work me 7-8 hours a day spread out from 7am until 9pm. So, basically I never have any free time to myself. I feel like I'm in prision doing hard time for no apparent reason. And the sad part is that I paid for it. I just wanted to know if anyone is experiencing the same thing. Thanks!
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Manaus



Joined: 15 Apr 2008
Posts: 52
Location: Orlando, FL

PostPosted: Sun Mar 15, 2009 9:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What city are you working in? School?
I worked for IICA in 04/05 and had a pretty good experience with work. It's normal to work in language schools in the a.m. and then again at night. If you're going to be an EFL teacher you'll have to work those hours, unless you're at a traditional school.
You have to be available when the students are. I'm not saying what you're experiencing is not too much, but morning and night hours are the norm.
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anazus



Joined: 05 Mar 2009
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Sun Mar 15, 2009 10:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Manaus,

I work in São Paulo. Don't really want to say more than that. At the moment, I'm pretty much forced to stay at the school from 7am until 9pm. I'm allowed about 2 hours or so of free time in the middle of the day. But some of that time is dedicated to getting to some offsite classes via bus. However, my schedule each day changes so constantly within the day that I never know when I'm working. I pretty much have to be on demand for 14 hours, 5 days a week. Now, I don't think that's normal. Pretty much now, the school got rid of their regular teachers because of downsizing and is taking advantage of me by making me work more than any of their full-time staff.

Anyone in the same situation?
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Manaus



Joined: 15 Apr 2008
Posts: 52
Location: Orlando, FL

PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2009 6:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

anazus wrote:
Hey Manaus,

I work in São Paulo. Don't really want to say more than that. At the moment, I'm pretty much forced to stay at the school from 7am until 9pm. I'm allowed about 2 hours or so of free time in the middle of the day. But some of that time is dedicated to getting to some offsite classes via bus. However, my schedule each day changes so constantly within the day that I never know when I'm working. I pretty much have to be on demand for 14 hours, 5 days a week. Now, I don't think that's normal. Pretty much now, the school got rid of their regular teachers because of downsizing and is taking advantage of me by making me work more than any of their full-time staff.

Anyone in the same situation?



I'm sorry to hear this, it doesn't sound normal.
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donpark



Joined: 15 Feb 2009
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2009 11:24 am    Post subject: How is it now? Reply with quote

Sorry to hear about your situation. Did you manage to work it out? Did you talk to your employers or to IICA or both? Too bad more folks couldn't chime in about their own experiences. Could you provide us with an update? I was thinking about IICA myself.
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ohahakehte



Joined: 25 Aug 2003
Posts: 128
Location: japan

PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2009 4:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

i was also strongly considering doing the IICA but 14 hour workdays are far too much for me. IICA sounds like a decent program but such work hours are discouraging
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paula13



Joined: 16 Apr 2009
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Sat Apr 18, 2009 3:44 pm    Post subject: my IICA experience Reply with quote

(kind of long post...)

I pretty much had the same experience as Anazus in the IICA (just recently finished) -- teaching hours from 7 or 7:30 a.m. until 9 or 9:30 p.m. with some breaks in between. Whenever a student needed to make up a class, I was expected to take it on (with no preparation), even if I'd never met the student and didn't know their level of English. I was at least half of the school's teaching load - maybe 2/3 - and making sure I was well-rested or well-prepared to teach was unimportant. In fact, having the students learn English wasn't important -- but taking their money was (one of the school administrators told me this).

My school pushed the 36-hours-per-week rule to the limit as much as possible, and even broke some of the newer IICA rules about scheduling. (We were supposed to teach no more than 2 classes in the morning, 2 in the afternoon, 2 in the evening...and I repeatedly taught 3 and 4 in the evenings.) But the IICA doesn't really do much to ensure their rules are being followed & the school told me there was no way they could cover all their classes without breaking the rules, so I let it go (although I did bring up other, bigger issues I had with them).

And that was only a small part of my issues with the school, but my point is that these are the types of things you risk with the IICA -- know that you have absolutely no control over anything. You'll have no control over where you're placed, what school you work in, where you live while you're working, the conditions under which you work, etc. You are at the beck & call of your school, and for the most part, IICA just wants the money that the school is paying them for you to teach there. And transfering schools isn't possible (maybe in extreme cases, but I was told it wasn't possible).

This isn't to say that I wouldn't recommend IICA -- I think I just happened to get placed in a crappy school/living situation. But as someone else said on this forum before, IICA is pretty much a crapshoot, and if you're ok with taking those risks, it has the possibility of being a great experience. It just also happens to have to the possibility of being a really, really awful experience, which it was for me.

If I had the chance to do it all over again, I would not -- but that's just my experience. If you're considering IICA, take all of these experiences people are writing about here into consideration and make sure you're ok with the risks you'll be taking.
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peixehunter



Joined: 05 Jan 2008
Posts: 4
Location: California-soon to be Manaus

PostPosted: Sun Jul 19, 2009 4:22 pm    Post subject: IICA Amazonas English Academy Reply with quote

IICA decided to send me to Amazonas English Academy instead of a Fisk school the week before I left. This school lied to me about a homestay, refused to pay me the right amount until I pointed out their obligations in the contract, constantly changed the rules about what the teachers were responsible for in the house they provided, and made me teach several subjects without providing me with teaching materials. I was expected to teach a Spanish class without having a textbook, not to mention mixing Portuguese speakers with English-only students. I was scolded for introducing a more advanced science textbook when I learned that half of my class had already finished the one I was using the year before, and was informed that they were to go over it again this year "in detail." Ect. Ect.
When I refused to pay the follow up to IICA after arriving because I DID NOT plan on staying at that wretched school I was accused of False Ideology, whatever that means, and threatened that the police would be looking for me if I didn't leave within 2 weeks. What a joke.

The one time I had a chance to speak to the director of IICA I was in the school office with the director of Amazonas English Academy. It would have been a little uncomfortable to ask for a school change then and there. My impression at the time was that a school change was unlikely.

Anyways, IICA ain't so bad if you get a good school and don't mind making minimal cash, but stay far away from Amazonas Academy. I harbor a deep hatred for those manipulative parasites who feed off of innocent youth with good intentions and alchemically transmute them into bitter victims of the education business who can no longer muster the strength to make authentic attempts at bridging cultures and entering philanthropic careers sharing a love for language learning with the disillusioned students of overpriced institutions of obedience indoctrination and intellectual mediocrity. I am reluctant to repeat teaching English depending on such a program to decide everything for me after having spent so much time and money and only having taught for a month in a school that I loathed. And I really enjoyed the few English classes I taught when I wasn't thinking about the ongoing novela that was going on all around me. DON'T go to this school if you don't want your passion for teaching abused and left for dead.
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anazus



Joined: 05 Mar 2009
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Tue Nov 10, 2009 5:20 pm    Post subject: an update Reply with quote

IICA is really a dumby cover for an organization that whill help you get a legal visa to Brasil for a year. The program itself is a joke. You are supposed to have monthly reports and regular meetings with IICA. Once I paid for my fees with the program, I haven't heard from them since. The "cultural" experience is really work, work, and work some more for a mere $R6,25/day.

There has been issues with my payment. I signed a contract with a
certain number on it. My school signed another contract with another set of numbers on it. You need to make sure things are absolutely clear beforehand.

Now that I have finished with the program, I would only recommend IICA if you go in with the mindset that it is a good way to get a visa to stay in Brasil. If you're lucky enough to have a decent school or be placed in a medium-sized city, then the program is worth it.
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