I wish I could say that all I learned here was to speak Portuguese and study culture, but I can’t. I gained so much more from this facilitated place of love, experience, learning and teaching. I’m not sure if it was the daily encouragement of smiles and compassion before and after my classes or that as time went by I felt a transition of a student from the US to a friend being taught by her colleagues and supported by a network of friends encouraging a change and growth that they knew that I was deeply yearning for. I depart today with my life changed by this school and with a heavy heart as if I am leaving my family behind.
I brought my son to Bahia with me for cultural experience and to learn Portuguese as an outsider but over time I became part of this community and enhanced as a person. Before I arrived I compared three schools that I google searched. Idioma was the first to respond within 48 hours of my email. Each day I emailed and called the staff was professional, knowledge able of services and very prepared to help me feel secure about arriving here. I was so glad to see that driver waiting for us at the airport with our names and the school printed. My entire arrival was organized, precise and on time.
Arriving at the apartment with our hostess, we were welcomed as family and it remained that way our entire month long stay. She encouraged and assisted our Portuguese and treated us as if we were her long lost kin.
From day one, Portuguese with Maria Lessa Midlej was beyond words from a book. She taught me real life conversation and daily phrases needed to help me communicate with locals in Barra/Salvador. I smiled inside every day that I saw words or lessons from class out on the streets. Daily, Portuguese came to life in front of my eyes from the lessons I was being taught. I was frustrated for about two weeks and it finally came together for both of us. Kenyen would not speak at first, he’s 9. But one day he was playing with kids in the apartment and I heard him speak Portuguese for the first time. He fell in love with respect with his teacher Ana Flávia Navarro. Ana is amazing with children!!!She encouraged a confidence and gave Kenyen a sense of belonging that humbled and encouraged him to want to learn everything he could. Classes are arranged by level and we met students from all over the world from different countries including: France, England, Japan and Germany all with admirable stories and on their own journeys of why they were here.
Idioma offers great classes that allow you to explore capoeira, dance (old and new school) with Júlia Mendonça as an amazing ball of energy, passion, and love for her art. With her you’ll learn anything from the dance of the Orixás to Axé at Carnival. There is no end to her knowledge! Also offered are Percussão and Cooking classes. Being a capoerista and teacher, I was looking for more and Idioma facilitated that with amazing instructors we had in Pelourinho. Idioma guided my every move to want more all the way down to how to catch an Uber and ask questions with other modes of transportation. Suraia was my adventurer and encouraged me to get out and about and we discovered much with the excursions we went on together. Such a warm soul and spirit. Christina became my teacher my last week and is very specific and pushes you to be your best especially pronunciation and speaking a lot! But so does the whole school.
If you have a question Arthur knows someone and showed us the Boy Scouts in Salvador. Because of him I had a chance to see and appreciate Salvador and Bahia in a whole different light totally different from what my warnings were coming here.
Don’t come here with what you saw on TV, experience it when you get here.
Through our daily tea breaks and cups with our names to the all inclusive care I received throughout my studies here, I fell in love with Bahia. It’s not behind the times as you may think here either. In this community we walked to the mall where my son would ice skate and enjoyed as much of history that we could-one month didn’t scratch the surface.
Being at Idioma I discovered similarities in the history of my ancestry and here, gained a sense of confidence, and found that reason that eight months ago I felt a strong calling to come here in the first place-so that I can remember to stay in purpose, be true to myself, and appreciate tradition and not apologize for living life. Coming here I was lost, heavy and empty but I leave with life in a different perspective.
All of this in one month of being at Ici Idioma Brasil. This is my last day but only my first trip.
This has become my love and I promise to stay faithful. Thank you within the depths of my heart for helping me find myself and showing me to be safe…to be me.
Tchau tchau for now ???? ❤ ???? ????????
Tiffany “Baiana” and Kenyen