February 2015, Volume 19, Number 1



Teaching in Action

Seven Miami Dade College students recently had the teaching experience of a lifetime when they participated in an exciting US-Brazil Connect exchange program. Hailing from MDC’s Kendall, North, InterAmerican, Wolfson and Medical campuses, the students served as informal international ambassadors while teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) to high school students in Brazil.

To offer students a growing variety of study-abroad opportunities, Miami Dade College has partnered with US-Brazil Connect, which is an independent, nonprofit organization focused on strengthening business, educational and cultural ties between the two countries. MDC students participating in this new program included María Caballero, Liliana Galo, Alejandro Laverde, Joaquín Pannunzio, Paulina Ríos, Melissa Torres and Arju Yudasto.

Beyond the Textbook

“You can’t underestimate the importance of cross-cultural experiences in the education of our students,” said Joanne Michaud, program manager for Miami Dade College’s Office of International Education. “The chance to meet and work with peers in Brazil is both rewarding and eye-opening.”

As part of an MDC Interdisciplinary Science Leadership Seminar, the program began with rigorous training in leadership and teamwork as well as skill development for ESL teachers. Long before getting on the plane, the MDC students worked with their Brazilian counterparts using social media and Skype.

Once they arrived, the students conducted an ESL intensive program, working four to six hours each day. In return, they earned academic credit and received a stipend for their work in the four-week fellowship. MDC also covered the cost of airfare to and from Brazil and the membership fee for each of the students.

Lifelong Bonds

At the program’s conclusion, the MDC group expressed their gratitude for the new friendships formed and the life lessons learned. Even after returning to Miami, they continue to help their Brazilian students.

“US-Brazil Connect is another outstanding example of the unique opportunities we have to offer here at MDC,” Michaud said.

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Miami Dade College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate and baccalaureate degrees.
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