Joined: 22 Oct 2002
Location: Los Angeles, California
|Posted: Fri Feb 28, 2003 1:30 am Post subject: My words
|It has been about a year and a half since I returned from my teaching experience in Brazil. I look forward to the day when I can afford to go back. I would recommend Brazil to anybody looking for a place to teach or travel in.
Let me say this first - I spent a lot of time on this site looking for information on foreign lands to teach in and it was an excellent source of information. However, keep in mind the variety of people who use it. While some may have had a genuinely bad experience others may just have a bad attitude or aren't willing to adapt a bit to other cultures. If this is the case, you aren't going to have much positive to report. Don't take all the negative bitching to heart and do your own research before you make any decisions.
I spent just short of seven months teaching at "Speaking" in Itajuba, Minas Gerais. This school has been the subject of a few of these now and I will briefly touch on my experience. It was nothing short of wonderful. From the first day I arrived I felt like I was part of a family. The director, Dagmar, did everything in her power to make me feel right at home. She invited me to stay with her until I found other housing, drove me around the city introducing me to many past and present students and teachers and helped me to locate housing within the city. The school was well equipped and the students were fantastic. The city is full of university students but is a bit on the small side if you are used to a thriving metropolis.
All in all, I had a fantastic time and would have stayed longer if my visa hadn't forced me to leave the country. I went to Brazil with a tourist visa good for three months, extended it with no problems for another three months and then stayed a few weeks after my visa expired. They imposed a fine of R$8 per day at the airport and I had to pay it. Working visas seem to be just short of impossible to get unless your employer is willing to shell out a lot of money and time in getting you one. I tried to get a student visa once I was there (under the pretense of studying Portuguese) but it can only be done in the country of your residency - no doing it in a Brazilian embassy in Argentina for example. If you do get a job before you leave, ask your employer about this as it will allow you to stay longer.
I had my job secured before I left for Brazil. This made me feel a little better about packing up and going but once I got there and saw the abundance of English schools I realized that it wouldn't be very hard to go there first and get a job second. The best times to do this would be after their breaks in mid-July and just after the New Year.
Brazil has it all from perfect tropical beaches and lush mountains to vibrant cities, wonderfully open people, cheap travel and a rich history. Their attitude towards life is refreshing, their beer is always cold and it is hard to imagine running out of places to visit. While their feelings towards the United States can be a bit negative they won't hold it against you if you are genuine person looking to live and learn in their beautiful country.
If anybody has any questions feel free to email and I will do my best in trying to answer them.
Posted: January 10, 2003