“During my 3 week placement in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil I had had an amazing experience volunteering in Art and Drama school. I was very happy with the
organization and general guidance of the project during my stay. The hostel where volunteers were staying was superb (in the Trip Advisor), located right in the heart of Rio.
My volunteer project started after my orientation day where I was introduced to the Volunteer Program and had a tour of the city. Art and Drama school was located on the outside of Rio in an industrial area. At first, I was understandably nervous to meet the students. I found that a language barrier was an issue at first. However, provided Portuguese lessons really improved my ability to interact with students on daily basis. I was surprised to find out that this school was sponsored and had adequate equipment, nevertheless, students were mostly from favelas.
Daily exercises included discussions and brain storming on subjects such as photography and cinema, as well as I was able to help with the practical exercises. In particular introduction to photography and image treatment. I was very happy to share my knowledge and to help the students with computer basics. I believe that the sole difficulty I had during my stay was the language, as a very little percentage of people in Rio speak English. But also I found it to be a great challenge to overcome. I learned that as long as you keep a positive attitude and make continuous efforts to interact and help out the students you “break the ice”. Students in this particular placement were from 17 to 21. As we were all in the same age group we easily found similar interests and things to talk about. After a week we had developed a good friendship, outside the classes we had visited different Art expositions and went to the beaches together on weekends.
It is difficult to describe my experience in only one phrase. Diving into a foreign culture, meeting local people, teaching in a foreign language were all challenges as well as unforgettable, rewarding and great experiences. I had had a magnificent time in these short 3 weeks, and I will most definitely like to try a similar placement in a different country.”