This summer, three students from Miami Dade College participated in the U.S-Brazil Connect Fellowship Program, which offers students a unique opportunity to enhance their teaching and leadership skills while immersing themselves in Brazilian culture. The program, managed by MDC’s Office of International Education, has three parts: learning, leading and leveraging. After a competitive selection process, José Alemán of Kendall Campus as well as Jurgen Calderón and Sebastián Aragón, both students at Wolfson Campus, were chosen to participate in the fellowship. In the first 12 weeks, the learning portion of the program, the fellowship participants received online training and met with their Brazilian students on Google Hangouts to prepare for their new roles as leaders. For the leading portion, the students traveled to Macapá, a rural area in northern Brazil, where they taught high school students for a month, leading their groups in English immersion experiences and project-based learning. “Building strong friendships with students from a different culture shows that no matter where we come from or the language barriers between people, anything is possible,” Calderón said. Upon their return to the U.S., the students entered the leveraging phase of the program. All participants must complete a creative Pay It Forward project in which they demonstrate what they have learned in the program. The MDC students chose to create documentary videos. “The students were incredible, my teammates were incredible and the feeling of being able to go and help others is something I never thought I’d have the opportunity to do,” Aragón said in one of the videos. – DU
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