USA at UFC (aka wrapping up the end of 2014 in one post)

it’s hard to think that this one post will wrap up everything from Porto Alegre (mid-September) through the end if grant in mid-November, but I promise it won’t be horribly long. 

Around May, the student council for the Letras department organized the annual “Semana de Letras.” I think I mentioned this at the time, but I ended up leading a slang workshop during that week that incindiered my  first big teaching achievement. Anyway, despite feeling great about my own presentation, I felt like the week itself was kind of a mess, no offense. However, that mess inspired the concept for an event of our own: an English immersion week in campus. Between that first idea in May and the actual event, the face (and name) if USA at UFC changed several times. In the end, my professors and I decided that a week was too ambitious for our first time and began planning a two-day intensive immersion event. USA at UFC was born. 

We began working on the event at the beginning of the semester in August, but the real work began in earnest the day I arrived back from Porto Alegre. I continued with conversation club and this American life, but usa at UFC (also known as my baby) was s top priority. Our vision for the event was an intensive cultural immersion involving opportunities for students and fellow ETAs to present. We invited ETAs from other parts of Brazil, invited advanced students to present their academic work, and developed mini-presentations for more beginner-level students as well. In the first day, we would conclude with lip-sync karaoke and on the last day, we would celebrate the end of the event with an American style Halloween style celebration, the six weeks between my trio and the event were hectic, to say the least, and the event certainly had its flaws, but I couldn’t have been more proud. Watching my students, and students I had never met, actively take part in the eta-led cultural seminars and engage their peers academically felt amazing, And it was all in English! This is where I need to pause with a few shoutouts:

To all the ETAs who came, thank you! This event wouldn’t have been nearly as successful without you, besides, at this point I think the students were a little sick of Laura and I.

To the students who came and participated. You rock! While not all 75 who signed up came, as is expected, I couldn’t be happier with those who attended. Ps: you’re certificates are in nucli! Go get them!,,,

To Bea and Weslly, I think silmara and I would have gone crazy without you. Thank you

To silmara, I don’t have enough ways to thank you for all of your support and hard work throughout the second semester. Illite rally nothing would have been accomplished without you. 

And to Manolisa and Glaucya, I can’t thank you enough. Instead of telling me the idea was crazy (disclaimer: it totally was), you encouraged me to pursue it and helped make everything possible. There would be no usa at UFC without you, so thank you. 

That’s it for my sappy bits. Now here are some photos from the event! 

   

         

The day after the event, despite my severe lack of sleep, Michell and I hopped on a bus to jericoacoara, one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, just seven hours from Fortaleza. It was incredible. We laid in hammocks in natural pools, climbed sand dunes for beautiful sunsets, and slid down those same dunes on sandboards. Once again, michell was an even better travel buddy than I could have hoped for (and I’m not just saying that because I know she reads the blog. She’s really the best)

Check out our trip!

   

 

I arrived back in Fortaleza on a Tuesday’s around 6 am, just in time for my last official conversation club of the year. We watched arrested development. This, however, was not due to laziness pos-traveling! I’ve noticed that brazilians love American seriados, so, as a cultural ambassador, it only feels right to introduce my students to great American tv! Our very last meeting, that next Thursday, and we had a party. Despite the students best efforts, I didn’t cry, but I came close. Even now that I’m back, looking at the ohotos bring light tears to my eyes thinking about how amazing all my students were throughout the year. Everyone’s a winner in conversation club…

  

As I spent my last few days packing, cleaning, and getting organized, I was comforted by one fact: I was coming back. That’s right! My time with Fulbright wasn’t quite over. During our mid-grant seminar, the Fulbright staff mentioned that they would continue with the mentor program and we’re looking for ten ETAs to return for 2015 as mentors. I applied in September and, in mid-October, received word that I would be returning to Brazil in 2015. I then found out just before leaving that I would be staying in Fortaleza. My reaction was similar to being on  a roller coaster.  First I was super excited. That very next morning, I felt a rising panic as I thought about all the “adult” things I would be postponing my spending another year in Brazil. Then I was flipped upside down when my mom told be to stop being an idiot and to stay.* then I was back up again. I was staying and I couldn’t wait. 

* I’m paraphrasing 

So, after I packed up my stuff, hammock included, I ate my 50 Sabores knowing that it certainly wouldn’t be my last. 

*disclaime: this was written on a bus after 10+ hours of traveling. Sorry?* 

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