Au pair Karina from Brazil has spent the last two years living with a host family in Illinois. She recently had the opportunity to showcase her Brazilian culture in a two-day presentation as part of the Passport Project at a local elementary school. As Karina describes, “in this program they [the students] would ‘travel’ to a different country on each continent every month, learning about the country, culture and interesting facts about it. With my host mom and Jill (a student’s mom who lived in Brazil for a little while), we created their trip to Brazil! It was so fun doing it, and we even had my mom’s help—she sent us petecas from Brazil.” Peteca is a traditional Brazilian game with indigenous origins, similar to badminton but played with the hands and a feathered shuttlecock.
The two-day “trip” to Brazil that Karina and the students’ parents created was geared toward second graders. “We had two soccer coaches from Brazil come on the first day to play some soccer with the kids since soccer is a really big deal in Brazil, and the kids loved it! They learned about the Brazilian flag, and I made a video where they could see a little bit about the country. They learned some facts and had a lot of fun while doing it! On the second day we had a Portuguese lesson taught by me and a friend (she’s a Brazilian au pair too!). We also decorated tambourines and masks for Carnival, played peteca, and had two Brazilian samba dancers come to the class to teach a little bit about samba and to have a Carnival parade around the school!”
The lucky students had a fantastic time learning firsthand about Brazil from Karina and her Brazilian friends, and Karina enjoyed bringing a bit of Brazil into the American classroom.