Orientation in Brasília (part 2)

So, I realize that the last post leaves a lot to be desired. Because of my lack of internet in my current house, I wasn’t able to upload photos either, but I promise that this post will be better!

And now, back to orientation:

Monday, February 17th: All 90 of us hopped on buses to CAPES (the part of the Ministry of Education that deals with advancing higher education) for the next part of our orientation. The morning started with me geeking out over the number of FSOs present, including the current U.S. Ambassador to Brazil, Amb. Liliana Ayalde. Other guests included the director of CAPES, and a woman from the Ministry of Education.

These women (yes, all the important guests were women) gave introductory remarks and then we took one of many coffee breaks. I had an opportunity to speak with the Ambassador. She’s so cool! Pictures below

Then, we had some briefings from the embassy (about consular services, security in Brazil, etc.) followed by a presentation by representative of the Regional English Language Office (RELO). This was by far my favorite part of orientation. RELO is part of the State Department and works to improve English-language education abroad. The number of free and online resources they have is INCREDIBLE! Any nerves I had about teaching disappeared after looking through their stuff.

Following lunch at an awesome “al quilo” restaurant (a buffet-style restaurant with a million options and you pay per kilo of food), we came back and one of the second-year ETAs talked about living in Brazil. Most of it was stuff I already knew from last time, but it was still interesting.

Tuesday, February 18th: Tuesday was basically an continuation of Monday. We talked specifically about life in Brazil (history, culture, university life, etc.) and did a group activity called “What is Brazil.” Essentially, we split into groups and made collages representing different stereotypes Americans have about Brazil. Even though we all basically said the same things-soccer, bikinis, beaches, tropical weather, etc.-it was pretty funny to see how everyone made their posters. After that, we headed back to the hotel and most of the ETAs went out. Unfortunately, I was really sick and stayed in the hotel.

BUT, now I’m better, in Fortaleza, and an update about the university will come soon (that is to say, hopefully I’ll know what I’m doing soon, so I can blog about it).

And now, photos!

The Metropolitan Cathedral in Brasília, designed by Oscar Niemeyer

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Inside the church:

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In front of the Brazilian Congress building:

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With Ambassador Liliana Ayalde at orientation:

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