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.
Monday, June 7, 2010
Although I am fully anticipating a letter from the Fulbright Commission explaining a mistake has been made, “you have not been selected to travel through Brazil for a month to learn about education” the signs directing me toward my suitcase stashed in an upstairs closet are becoming clearer. I received the required immunizations... that experience alone should have qualified me for at least a one way ticket to South America. My Visa arrived last week. What a pleasant surprise! In the last 3 weeks I have heard countless horror stories about the Visa process, one of which included Oliver Stone. I had absolutely no problem at all! I simply followed the directions given on the Brazilian Consulate’s homepage and a few weeks later I received my Visa via US postal services. Luck seems to be in the home court! I figure I will just go with it and see what happens. After all, in approximately 10 days I will begin a month long journey through seven states in Brazil. Not only will I be able to see Brazilian classrooms, meet Brazilian teachers, and learn from Brazilian experts who create federal policy, I am about to experience more beauty and culture than I can imagine. It would be an understatement to admit that I am a bit exited! However a simultaneous feeling of abandonment for the 3 children and husband I am leaving at home envelops me as well.