Auburn Assisting Brazil in Preparing for International Events

AUBURN - Auburn University is playing a role in Brazil's preparation to welcome the world for two of the largest international sporting events, the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics.

The Auburn University Office of International Programs partnered with the government of the state of Pernambuco in Brazil to offer a course in English as a second language and American culture for 50 government security personnel over the course of one week.

Dan Raffalovich, director of Auburn's English as a Second Language program, said the project developed through the efforts of Auburn professor Geraldo Soares de Souza, who is a native of Recife, the largest city and capital of Pernambuco.

"The governor of Pernambuco is expanding English education in the state, both for its own sake and because Recife will host five matches of the 2014 World Cup," Raffalovich said.

"Working with the Office of International Programs, Geraldo arranged for us to provide a one-week program in English as a second language for 50 police personnel, both men and women. About half were placed in a beginning-level class and the others in a more-advanced-level class," he added.

Beginners were taught by Carrie Melius, an instructor with Auburn's English as a Second Language program, and Patricia de Souza, a Ph.D. candidate at Auburn University. More-advanced students were taught by Ismenia Sales de Souza, an associate professor at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo.

"The curriculum was taught using a communicative approach, focusing on communication tasks like giving an introduction, asking for clarification, giving and receiving information, describing people and places, asking and giving directions, telephone skills and using informative questions," Melius said.

The classes were designed to motivate and encourage students to continue improving their English skills, she added.

Participants were selected by competitive process and classes were held at the governor's palace in Recife. The session concluded with a speech given in both Portuguese and English by Geraldo Soares de Souza entitled "Ten Challenges Facing the World."

"Overall, the student feedback was very positive in regard to the classes," Melius said. "They were very excited about the opportunity to practice their English with our program. I think the classes gave the beginner students a boost in confidence, and it helped create a sense of accomplishment by the end of the week.

"The English as a Second Language program definitely accomplished its goal of encouraging students to continue improving their English skills. Several of the students have already registered to take classes in our program this fall."

Auburn Pernambuco
Government security personnel from the Brazilian state of Pernambuco pose with Auburn Office of International Programs staff after completing a one-week course on the English language and American culture.

Last Updated: June 24, 2013