Better Late Than Never: Semester 2

So, first of all, hello! I know it’s been a while but now that the semester has actually ended, I wanted to post some belated posts on this blog before I leave Brazil. Better late than never?

My second semester of being an ETA went by like a batch of freshly baked pão de queijo- gone in the blink of an eye! But, one of the nice things about coming back for the second semester of our teaching and cultural activities was that I finally felt like I knew what I was doing. While the first semester was a lot of figuring out our key contacts at the university, the different processes and shortcuts we could use to organize events, and a lot of trial and error for pretty much everything, this second semester definitely felt more comfortable. And I felt like I could be more creative.

Hali and I ambitiously started the semester off by racing in a 5k after a month of traveling… and it happened to be UP THE BIGGEST HILL IN THE CITY. I thought I wasn’t gonna make it, but by some miracle I did! And Hali even won some bread (FIRST PLACE BABY!)

So, for our first big event to start up the semester, we had a Murder Mystery party. There were about 30 students participating, and everyone was assigned a character as they arrived. Then, in character and speaking English of course, they had to work together to solve the mystery. I was amazed at everyone’s acting abilities and just how much fun we had together. Acting turned out to be a great way to engage in English because I think it gives people a safer outlet to practice speaking in a foreign language. It’s not just João speaking English, it’s Felix Fontano, the speak-easy club owner searching for clues.  The event itself was a LOT of preparation work, but it turned out to really be worth it.

Later on in the semester, we organized an English immersion day. This was an event that some other ETAs in Brazil came up with, and we loved the idea so much we tried it out at UFLA. It was open to the entire community, and participants spent 5 hours straight speaking and interacting in English. Some of my ETA friends came from a city nearby and helped us give mini-classes. I taught a class on Nightlife in the US. Yes, the Stanky Leg was a vital part of that lesson.

Finally, we ended the semester with our Halloween Party. I’m not kidding, I think I celebrated Halloween for seven straight days this year. Hali and I were invited to three different schools to talk about Halloween and give our perspectives on the holiday- so you bet there were MANY costume changes as well. For our own event at the university, we threw a little party in the student center on campus. We brought traditional US games, like bobbing for apples and pin the tail on the cat, and of course had a costume competition. One thing I learned was that here in Brazil, dressing up for Halloween usually involves looking SPOOKY. That means lots of witches, zombies, vampires, etc., but not as many punny costumes like we usually have in the US.  This event was actually our most well attended event, and I loved that families and kids came, in addition to students and local English teachers.

And of course, sprinkled throughout the semester were all the other smaller activities we planned. I’m thankful to our students who had the patience and the spirit to try out everything- even when it didn’t always go as planned. This job let me be as creative as I wanted, something I really appreciate and hope to continue.

Stay tuned for some more posts coming up- beijos,

Nadine

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