I hope I can accurately document my experiences in Brazil and share my knowledge with other educators. The Fulbright-Hays Seminars Abroad Project offers an extremely unique opportunity for a special educator. The need for both leaders and educators in special education to develop a global perspective of their field and an international understanding for policies and procedures abroad is imperative. Opportunities to learn from educators, government officials and inhabitants of countries promoting large education initiatives, especially those targeting students with disabilities and individuals who require alternative teaching methods, offer invaluable information about the country’s perception of special education, the disabled population, and what role culture plays in educating individuals with disabilities. Mutual understanding and learning amongst educators in this field is critical to the development of programs that will meet the unique needs of diverse populations.
Sunday, June 20, 2010
First Day in Sao Paulo
After a short flight from Gainesville to Atlanta, a 4 hour layover and another 10 hour flight to Brazil, I made it to Sao Paulo! The weather is absolutely beautiful! It is around 80 degrees with little humidity. The atmosphere is absolutely unbelievable! The World Cup has taken Sao Paulo and, I imagine, the rest of Brazil by storm. Green and gold has taken over the landscape and Brazilian soccer jerseys are the common attire for all residents of Sao Paulo. The city completely shut down from 3:30 to 6:00 as every man, woman and child submerged themselves in the soccer game. Fireworks, shouting and celebration could be heard in every direction of the city when Brazil won, with a final score of 3 to 1. The people of Sao Paulo seem very kind, but communication has been difficult. Many of the participants I am travelling with are fluent in Spanish which has been a tremendous advantage because the language closely resembles Portuguese.
Tomorrow's agenda is very exciting! It begins with a presentation, given by the American Consulate, on Brazil and diversity in education, continues with a visit to the Secretariat of Education and a visit to a public school. It ends with dinner at a famous restaurant called Famiglia Mancini.