Jason Rosenblum (L) is with one of PRECE’s students, Mateo (R), who was visiting an English class taught by Mr. Kaufman. Photo: Aman Hashim

During the summer of 2018 a group of Pace juniors and seniors traveled to Brazil where ICGL partnered with PRECE, an educational non-profit organization, and some schools in Ceara, Brazil. The trip was primarily a cultural exchange, and the Pace group taught Brazilian students some English, enjoyed authentic Brazilian cuisine and participated in Brazilian activities.

Now the roles have reversed as a group of six faculty members and five students from two schools in Brazil, EEEP Alan Pincho Tabosa and EEEP Giselda Teixeria, are visiting the Pace community and other parts of the U.S. for two weeks to learn about American culture. These schools partner with PRECE and use the cooperative learning methodology promoted by PRECE.

The students and teachers began their visit at Pace on March 14, and over the course of four days they are shadowing Upper, Middle and Lower school students in their classes. Their goal is to experience “daily American life.”

Brazilian students have had the opportunity of staying at Pace students’ houses to get the “southern hospitality” feel. Mateo is residing with junior Davis Futrell, one of the Pace students who went on the Brazil trip in 2018. “It’s really unique to have a native Brazilian living with me,” said Futrell. “I feel like he shares so much of his culture with us and also loves to try our American food. I played Post Malone and Juice Wrld music on our ride to school and he loved it.” Davis thought it was interesting that Mateo enjoyed American greetings more than Brazilian greetings because he is timid. In Brazil, one greets another by hugs and kisses.

Mateo, likewise, has enjoyed his time with Davis and at Pace, learning about the teachers and students’ lives compared to his school. “Davis is cool, he watches ‘Game of Thrones’ and I love that show,” said Mateo. “Pace’s size is much bigger and spacious than my school back home. It’s a unique environment; everyone has been really nice.”

One of the biggest differences, according to Mateo, has been the teaching style at Pace compared to his school. Where Pace has students changing classes and going to teachers, in Brazil the students have their own set class and the different teachers come to them. In addition, Mateo describes Pace as more teacher driven in that teachers lead the lectures and assignments.

In Brazil, however, the students are given a task and then the teacher will leave the room and the students together must finish the assignment. “I think that is important because it forces us to talk to each other,” said Mateo. “It teaches us to have no fear of talking.”

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