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GAP YEAR | VOLUNTEER ABROAD | WORK EXPERIENCE OVERSEAS

 

Volunteers' Stories

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SUE MOYNIHAN
British

Teaching Disadvantaged Children in Foz do Iguacu, Brazil

         

LOCAL CO-ORDINATOR:
It has been a real pleasure to work with Ana and to get to know her as a friend. She has gone out of her way to ensure that all is well at the projects and on many occasions has accompanied us to the classes. I have also appreciated her and her family's hospitality in inviting us to share family meals - a wonderful way to embrace Brazilian culture.

Ana has also taken us on trips to Argentina, shopping and meals out and has also helped us organise trips- it has been so good to have a local person with knowledge of the area to guide and support us and help overcome the language barrier.

One of my reasons for choosing Travellers was that the local co-ordinator is employed by the company as opposed to South Africa [Sue volunteered in South Africa with another volunteer company previously] where the co-ordinator was employed by an African charity that was used by the volunteer company and hence I felt that the company had very little interest in the volunteers once they were in the country, which made it difficult to deal with problems and concerns.

PROJECTS:
I have thoroughly enjoyed every moment of my time at the community center. Everyone has gone out of their way to help from printing homework sheets to lighting the oven for me to cook scones. All of the students have treated us with respect and been very interested in finding out about England and been very focused during lessons.

I feel I have accomplished so much with these students who have had 2 x 2hr lessons each week and it is so rewarding now to hear them having conversations with each other and being able to ask us questions.

I was very touched on my last day at the center when the students from all classes got together to throw a leaving party for me and presented me with gifts, some homemade and all given with love and thanks - a very precious moment and one that I will treasure.

At the charity project it has been more difficult partly because the students only have one 2 hr lesson per week and partly because they have such diverse abilities and behaviours. We have split the class in to 2 groups and taught at 2 differentiated levels but the students have made limited progress and those in the lower group need constant repetition.

It is also a more difficult place to get to though Ana has taken us each week. I appreciate that these students in such a deprived area need all the help that can be provided and I have great admiration for their determination to succeed and overcome their difficulties. Masseus whom we met for an hour each week for conversation is a testament of the dedication of a student to achieve his full potential

BRAZIL:
Foz Do Iguaçu is a lovely city and I always felt very safe here. There's such a variety here from the small local shops to the modern shopping center, from the upmarket restaurants to the local cantina to the 'eat as much as you can' pizza that Ana introduced us to.

The highlight of the area has to be the Iguaçu Falls - stunning on our first visit from the Brazilian side and equally amazing, if not better, from the Argentinean side. And the boat ride is definitely an experience

Would I use Travellers again? Yes, probably as I feel the pre trip organization and information was excellent and the local co-ordinator was so caring and supportive.

Would I return to Brazil? Much as I would love to I probably won't as there are still so many other places in the world to visit

Would I recommend Travellers and Brazil? Yes to both

In summary the best bits of my stay have to be:

► The students - for their open friendship and desire to learn
► Ana - for her friendship and enduring care and support- I do hope we can stay in touch
► Nina - for the fun we had teaching and going out.
► Iguaçu Falls- perhaps this should be first as it's so spectacular
► Hotel Eduardo - so comfortable and welcoming and such a great breakfast.

More Information about your Trip with Travellers

List of ALL PROJECTS in Brazil
TEACHING CHILDREN Projects in Brazil
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