German, brazilian and australian youth at the Centro da Juventude
Lila und José Luís are painting a house and describe it with english words
Dancing on english songs
Lila und Jeremy are leading their pupils in english through their "house". As a result they are learning by themselvs from the children the portuguese terms.

Learning English with Australian students

„Let‘s work together“

Students from Sydney teach English in the Youth Educational Centre

A muddle of languages, English, German and Portuguese, adolescents from three different continents living, laughing and working together. It sounds divers and crazy and it is an enlargement of Brasil09: a new project with Australian students working together with Brazilian and German adolescents on an English course.

This project began with an idea of Gwendolyn Black who has been living and studying in Australia since the beginning of 2011. She wanted to support Brasil09 from the other side of the globe. So at the Macquarie University in Sydney a group of four students was formed. They flew to Brazil in July 2012 to teach English. In Porto they met two girls from Germany.

We stayed in Porto for four weeks.  In the morning and in the afternoon we gave English lessons in our Youth Centre, one course for the younger people and another course for the advanced ones. We sang songs, invented role plays, talked about English poems and games, practised conversation and rehearsed some sketches that the Brazilian performed during a cultural evening.

For me who joined the project from the German side, it was impressing to see how well this team project of three cultures worked. When I left Germany I still asked myself if the Australian students would be as amazed by our project, Porto and meeting the Brazilians as we were the first time. These doubts were unnecessary; the Australians liked our projects and our friends immediately and wanted to support Brasil09.

For me it was especially nice to see how the Youth Centre, erected by us in 2009, was filled with life and the will to learn and has become a point of meeting. The moment I stood in front of the Youth Centre for the first time after three years was very touching for me. The last time I had seen it we had been celebrating inauguration and farewell. To stand there in front of “our” house again made me realize how much we already had achieved.

The intense time together made us a strong global group. At the farewell, Australians, Germans and Brazilians hugged each other. At once, different nationalities and languages became unimportant, all felt the same and gave each other the same promise: “Bis zum nächsten Mal”, “See you soon” and “Até a proxima vez”.

Jorinde Bartels

About the author: Jorinde Bartels was one of the adolescents who founded the project Brasil09 in 2007. Together with Larissa Holzki she flew to Brazil in 2008 to come into contact. 2012 she travelled to Brazil for the third time.