McDonald's, Starbucks, Cheesecake, & ENGLISH

By 13:24 , , , , , ,

To explain the title of this blog post, I have had the most intensely American week, so much so, that it was quite strange, but lovely at the same time.

Beginning last Friday, I started training at the "Wall Street Institute," an English school for adults (typical students are business executives, schoolteachers, college students, etc.) - long story short, they have a pretty unique method, with a lot less actual teaching and a lot more conversation and putting together mini lectures based on culture, movies, music, etc... i.e., right up my alley. They offered me a position, which I've decided to take, and I'll hopefully be able to find another job more in my field of work (as if I'm specialized in something, haha), and be able to balance the two!

I trained with 2 other girls. One, Brazilian, Juliana, has been studying English for over 10 years, and has spent some time abroad in Australia. The other, Phoebe, is South African, and moved to Brazil to be with her Brazilian boyfriend who studied abroad in South Africa (i know, cuutteee/gag). They're both super fun, and both live in the "Paulista" area - which is a big street with everything and anything to do downtown, and right around where the school is - so during our breaks, we'd explore for a bit, and one day, Phoebe took me to STARBUCKS. It has the exact same menu as the ones in the US, even most of the pastries!! It was quite refreshing to have a Starbucks mocha (not so refreshing was the price - but it's Starbucks, so what was I supposed to expect?), and walk around town speaking English! We even ran into a few British people who heard us speaking English and who yelled out, "Yesss for English!" Kind of like when you meet a Brazilian where there aren't many in the US... or when you see a colored person you don't know at Providence College.... you know, that feeling :-) On Monday (last day of training, yayeee), we also went to this bakery up the street from the school called "Bella Paulista," that had all sorts of goodies I hadn't seen here like cheesecake and browniieeessss. Imagine the feast we had there.

And then on Sunday, my cousin went to take an exam for a job at a town nearby, so Marina and I decided to go with him, and we had lunch at.... McDonald's! haha. Also, exactly the same - even the fries and the ice cream!! The only difference is - NO DOLLAR MENU (grrrr), and an additional "Cheddar Burger" which is a Brazilian invention, but I think it's kind of like that Angus Burger. I believe it's a burger with more meat than your average quarter pounder, cheddar cheese, and caramelized onions. Certainly no surprise there about it being Brazilian!

I started officially last night at Wall Street Institute, and the students and other teachers seem awesome. It's really interesting to see how much the students really want to or even need to learn the language. Something we really take for granted in the US is the option to learn a different language in high school and even in college. Foreign language lessons in public schools are so bad that students pay for classes outside of school, and sometimes don't have the option to take them in college since most courseloads are so focused on the actual subject matter of the major. So for those taking language classes or thinking about taking them - take advantage and really dedicate yourself to learning it!!! Because it's certainly a luxury very few people have.

That's it for now. I'll be posting in less than a week because I want to show you the city from my eyes thus far, so stay tuned :-)

xxxx (this is kisses in South Africa - I learned this from Phoebe!)

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