Brazilian Students Visit Campus as Part of Andover’s Off-Campus PLACES Program

A group of Brazilian students and faculty members from Escola SESC de Ensino Médio (SESC), Andover’s partner school located in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, will visit Andover’s campus this week. During their week-long visit, the Brazilian students look to expand their knowledge of American history and literature. In particular, they will interact closely with Andover students participating in PLACES, a new foreign exchange program for Andover students between Andover and a boarding school in Brazil. “[The exchange] will also give [Andover students] another lens into Brazilian culture and the types of things that Brazilian teenagers enjoy and do. The SESC students can also give a bit of a heads-up about what to expect when we’re visiting their school,” said Flavia Vidal, Instructor in English and Director of Brazil PLACES. Andover faculty members across various disciplines, including art, math, English and environmental science, have extended their welcome to SESC students and invited them to sit in on their classes. “Our hope is that [the SESC students] will really meet many more students than just those who are specifically assigned to them and that a lot of what they end up doing on campus will be directed by their interests and whatever it is that they will find fun and enriching,” Vidal said. “I think just having visitors on campus opens the minds of our [Andover] students to a variety of different perspectives, and that’s definitely something that we want to instill in our students,” she continued. In addition to interacting with the Andover community, the Brazilian students will travel to the area around Boston over the weekend. “One of the things that they want to do while they’re here is take advantage of the Boston-area attractions that have to do with American historical and literary events… We’re going to do the Freedom Trail, to Walden Pond and to Lexington and Concord. Just a lot of different places that are important to the material that they’re studying,” said Vidal. While all the other summer trips run by Andover involve students traveling to foreign countries, PLACES is unique because of its exchange aspect, which allows more students the opportunity to learn about other cultures without leaving campus. “We want to really foster this kind of collaborative partnership as a model to teach our kids how to interact with one another and with students of different places and how to form partnerships. I think that’s one of the things we believe is a necessary 21st century skill,” Vidal said. Madison Pettaway ’17, who will be travelling to Brazil this summer with the PLACES program, said, “I want to learn of [the Brazilian students’] interests and their lives in general. Currently, all I know from Brazil comes from Vidal’s anecdotes and from the historical information provided to us in class. From these exchange students I want to know about everyday-current life in Brazil.”