U.S. students teach English for free in Canudos by the end of June

por Jornal Canudos

Text: Felipe Faleiro | Translation: Renata Casari

Leia a versão em Português clicando aqui

Two North American students have been in the Canudos neighborhood since May, with the purpose of teaching English and north american culture, and also learn about Brazilian traditions and customs. Anna Marie Ruch, 19, and Haley Hickey, 22, were sent through the Let's Start Talking (LST) international program, which in Portuguese means "Vamos começar a falar", developed by the Church of Christ.

Both are students from Lipscomb University, Nashville, Tennessee, and understand some Portuguese. Classes are free, individual and open to the community. The content is based on books, written in English, always with biblical themes. Since 2014, when the project started in Novo Hamburgo, about one hundred people have had the experience of learning English with LST.

According to one of the organizers, Natalia Casari Cundari, the texts based on the Bible are easier to assimilate. "It's a universal language based on conversation. And for those who show difficulties, they are prepared to help in the pronunciation of words and expressions".

Anna and Haley were given training before leaving the United States, from how to deal with the eventual lack of knowledge of the language on the part of the Brazilians until the experience in the region. In addition to walking through Novo Hamburgo, they visited other cities in the region, such as Gramado, and even a kindergarten in Campo Bom. "The program allows volunteers to choose where they would like to go, and they chose Latin America", explains the other coordinator and Natalia's sister, Renata Casari Cundari.

Happy Saturdays

On Saturday afternoons (3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.), there is always a fraternization between the participants, whose themes are generally related to American culture. On Saturday (2), for example, the theme of the party was the city's ice hockey team, the Nashville Predators. Yellow and blue balloons, representing the team colors, adorned the church hall. A match was simulated with the use of brooms and a ball.

"I liked the way people treat each other, always sharing things openly," Anna told to Jornal Canudos. "What we knew about Brazil was very related to the north of the country, which was a dangerous place, but here in Novo Hamburgo we don't feel it."

Hailey agrees. "It's a very interesting culture, very mixed with German culture, we like it a lot." For them, another aspect that drew attention was the will of Brazilians in wanting to communicate with them. "Some see that we are not from here and yet they greet us. They love to use the knowledge they have to try this contact. This is wonderful", says Anna.

Breaking barriers

Commercial representative Lucas Fonseca Klein, a resident of the Boa Vista neighborhood, in Novo Hamburgo, has participated in the program for two years, driven by curiosity. "I intended to learn English, but today I want to learn more about Jesus Christ, and this is one of the best ways", he says.

Andressa Dias de Andrade, who lives in Canudos, brought her two children, aged 4 and 2, to participate in the meeting. "I'm already part of the church, and I think this integration is very cool. I want to take private lessons together with my cousin", she says.

Natalia says that, in reality, the idea is also to enable the breakdown of this language barrier. "There is a prejudice that if you do not speak English, you can not talk to them. Is not true. They understand each other's difficulties, and are open to help. There is the intention of evangelization, because it is a church, but it is also enabling this cultural exchange between us and them", she says.


- The classes take place from Tuesdays to Fridays, in the three shifts (morning, afternoon and night), in addition to Saturdays, until June 23. To participate, it is necessary to schedule the time by email Este endereço de email está sendo protegido de spambots. Você precisa do JavaScript ativado para vê-lo., or by telephone (51) 99989-9598.

- The Church of Christ takes place at Rua Ícaro (Ícaro St.), 1488, Canudos neighborhood, in Novo Hamburgo.

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