Teacher Exchange Shares Culture and Education Between Brazil and the U.S.

Jill Woerner, Partners Indiana-Brazil Chapter Member
ch1.jpgArrival day at the Indianapolis International Airport on January 31, 2019.

In March 2017, an Indiana Chapter member traveled to our partner country, Brazil, to share intercultural learning experiences with other teachers in Rio Grande do Sul. While there, her host and a friend of Partners of the Americas, Roberta Pegoraro, asked if I could host her and her two children in Indiana that following January to spend a month learning about the American education system. My home was perfectly suited for their arrival, so I quickly agreed.

Pegoraro and I cooked together, shopped together, and spent many evenings talking after dinner. During one of those chats, a teacher-to-teacher exchange was born that has changed the lives of over a dozen educators. 

ch4.jpgOur teachers enjoyed a stop at a "teacher store."

One year after that conversation, on January 31, 2019, nine Brazilian teachers came to Indiana to learn alongside Hoosier (Indiana native) teachers. They put their faith in us, Indiana educators who teach a variety of different content areas, and we did not disappoint. We met the teachers at the airport and whisked them off for their two-week adventure. 

Throughout their two weeks in Indiana, these lovely Brazilian educators attended a Pacers game, went shopping, enjoyed new restaurants, and spent quality time with the friends, family, and colleagues of the Hoosier host teachers. 

Some of my favorite experiences:
They bought school supplies and educational resources to bring back to their classrooms in Brazil. 
They presented to Hoosier students about Brazilian culture, including geography, music, food, dance, clothing, traditions and more. 
They asked questions and engaged in deep discussions with their Hoosier hosts to further develop their teaching practices. 
They cooked with their hosts and taught them about Brazilian culture.
ch5.jpgElizabeth Dennie (IN) hosting Karen Vieira and Cássia Ribiero at Speedway High School. 

Even more impressive, the Brazilian teachers engaged in discussions with students about poverty, school structures, the environment, social behaviors, technology, and career readiness. Administrators observed and were impressed by these great discussions. Students noticed, listened and inquired. This experience was a win for all involved. 

On June 9, 2019, 13 Indiana teachers will travel to Rio Grande do Sul to participate in the second half of this experience. The bonds formed among the teacher pairs during this experience have become unbreakable. The teachers’ lives have forever been changed in a positive way and this summer’s experience will be even more influential. Their students will continue to reflect on the conversations that they had with their visiting teachers. 

Though this year’s exchange has reached capacity, there is still an opportunity to participate in the 2020 exchange. If you want to join us and learn from other motivated and adventurous teachers in the Southern hemisphere, please complete the following Google form and/or send me an e-mail