Universidade Estadual de Santa Cruz

Or Just UESC

As many of you already know, I am lecturing and giving classes at the state university here in Bahia. The university itself is not located in Ilheus, but rather 30 minutes inland. It sits in between Ilheus and Itabuna and a not-so-consistent system of city and private bus systems shuttle teachers and students to and from campus.

The campus itself is a lot bigger than I thought it would be. All of the colleges have their own building and commons and the medical college even has its own medical garden. I have yet to venture off and explore the other buildings–I have only been in the LEA/Letras, library and administration building–but I am trying to work up the courage to go meet other people. I love LEA and Letras, but I see these people all day, everyday!

At the moment I am giving four English language classes, lecturing once a month for PARFOR and hosting cultural events . Besides that I also have “office hours” which really means I sit out in the commons and students can come and chat with me in English or get help with their English homework. Of the four class I am teaching, one is beginner, two are intermediate and one is advanced. I will also be co-teaching one of the intermediate classes with Sarah (the other Fulbrighter in Ilheus). I am very excited about having the opportunity to co-teach. I believe having this class will allow us to offer something new and exciting to the students as well as provide a sense of security and creativity for both of us. That’s another plus of being placed at the same university as another Fulbrighter. Sarah is always there to help whenever I am stumped and need advice or ideas. I can also get honest and constructive feedback from her–so far the feedback/advice from Brazilians has been lacking and/or quite negative.

The students here are wonderful! They have been so welcoming and helpful. There are a few in particular (Shalon <3) who have made this transition a lot smoother by picking up slack from above.

When we arrived, Sarah I were told that we were getting a new coordinator because ours would be moving soon. While we were excited to meet our new coordinator, this seemed to be the start of a long stretch of confusion, frustration and cultural misunderstandings. Universities–education in general–do not function like those in the US. Luckily, things have started falling into place. It could also be that Sarah and I have started learning how to deal with the “system” and laugh when NOTHING goes the way we have planned.

More about educational bureaucracy and Brazilian students soon.