Grateful for the Challenge

“My goal is to improve my English because I feel I really need it – mainly because of my two girls. They talk to each other in English and with friends, and I don’t want to be totally out of this. I want to participate. I want to understand. I want to feel comfortable to talk to teachers. I think it’s the reason I am trying.”  

– Fernanda, CC English Student 

Fernanda and her family moved to Florida from Brazil a couple of years ago, and she’s been meeting with her English teacher Pat for nearly a year through Intercambio’s online program, called CC English.  

Fernanda and CC English teacher Pat in their online classroom

Pat describes Fernanda as selfless and positive: “She’s so sympathetic to her community and with their efforts and trying to learn, with what her children are going through, and how her husband feels.”   

Fernanda and many of the other Brazilian immigrants she supports in her community often find it frustrating that Spanish translation is easily accessible, but not Portuguese. “I am always talking to them about seeing that as an opportunity. Because if you could speak Spanish, you could be lazy about speaking English.”   

This mindset is just one of the many inspiring insights Pat has gleaned from Fernanda. “Learning from the students was part of the real attraction of teaching. I’ve been teaching off and on for many years, but Fernanda is one of my most interesting students. I’ve learned so much from her.”  

Fernanda returns the feeling, noting that her brother and friends are eager to take lessons with Pat: “I said ‘Oh no, everybody is going to take my teacher! No, I will not allow this!’ I am grateful for her.” 

Thanks to the hard work of this pair and Fernanda’s incredible optimism, Fernanda proudly adds that she now understands more English than her husband, who primarily speaks English at work. “I need to go to the market, I need to talk to teachers, I need to talk to the neighbors, and I am the person who calls doctors to make appointments. At this point, I think I’m better now. I talk to people and people understand me.” 

Fernanda and her family

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