In June of 2017, I was given the opportunity to teach English as a volunteer in a community outside of Rio de Janeiro. Unfamiliar with Portuguese and inexperienced in teaching, I was very nervous to enter this new environment in an attempt to make a difference in the students’ lives. I was unsure if I could singlehandedly make a change for the better, given I did not speak Portuguese and had never taught English as a second language to others. However, my initial unsettledness proved to be misplaced. I left the program with my desire to teach reaffirmed, some new friends, and very fulfilled. Despite the language barrier between me and the staff at the placement and some of the students, I was proud of reaching them and teaching them English, be it simply introducing themselves or having a complex discussion. Most importantly, however, I forged relationships with some of my students who I know I will never forget and who I promised I will visit on my next trip to Brazil. I strongly recommend the trip to anyone who hopes to teach at some point in their lives and to anyone who wants to work with people in a meaningful way.
Find out more about volunteering in Rio de Janeiro