Four bilingual education students will be breaking down language barriers this summer when they travel to Brazil.

The students, including three undergraduates and one graduate from the Department of Educational Psychology at Texas A&M University, will be sharing strategies and methods for teaching English in the classroom with Brazilian teachers of English.

Clinical Assistant Professor Miranda Nava-Walichowski and Assistant Lecturer Alma Contreras, who serve as co-coordinators of the Brazil High Impact Learning Experience, are excited about the learning opportunities for their students.

“The bilingual education students will have an opportunity to be a part of an international effort: that of increasing English proficiency in Brazil, specifically, in the state of Pernambuco,” Nava-Walichowski said.

“Our students will gain much from being able to apply all that they have learned about second language acquisition, strategies and best practices as they teach in this unique setting. We are also looking forward to visiting and learning about the elementary education system in Pernambuco.”

Jessica Melecio, one of the participating pre-service bilingual education teachers, said she’s looking forward to teaching in a new cultural and linguistic setting.

“What I’m hoping to learn from this trip is the true essence and meaning of teaching English as a Second Language. I will be placed in a situation where I cannot rely on my native languages, Spanish or English, to help the students understand English in their own native language, Portuguese,” she said.

The student group will mainly be based in the city of Recife, but they will also be traveling between other urban and rural sites. The students will be in Brazil through the month of June.

“I’m hoping we’re able to provide a true cultural exchange, while we positively represent Texas A&M and the bilingual education program,” Contreras said.