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Interview with Vitoria Marques of Brazil Youth Ambassadors

by Karina Cabral
Original article printed in Portuguese at O Livre.
Photo Credits: O Livre.


An example in her community, Mato Grosso student wins exchange in the United States

 

Fifty students from Brazilian public schools were chosen by the US embassy in Brazil, among 23,000 applicants, to gain an exchange in the United States. Among them is Vitoria Lissa de Oliveira Marques, 18, a Mato Grossan from São José do Rio Claro (296 km from Cuiabá), an example in her community for her leadership and volunteerism.

The program that Vitória is participating in is called Young Ambassadors and was created in 2002. A success since 2010, it has been reproduced in all the countries of the Americas. Since the program began, 522 Brazilians have participated.

Vitoria always volunteered—at school, in the church, teaching English to children in a public school—but it was in 2016 that she signed up for the program for the first time.

“My mother had a fundamental role, because she was the one who made my pre-registration, without even telling me. I remember that, as the stages went by, I became more and more surprised and I reached the final, but I was not selected,” said the young woman.

In the first attempt, as a finalist she was given the opportunity to participate in another embassy program, the EIP (English Immersion USA Program), which takes the finalists of the Young Ambassadors to a week in Brasília, where they undergo a total immersion in American culture.

“We participate in lectures and classes on culture / history and other things in the United States, in partnership with Thomas Jefferson House. This gave me an incredible view of the United States and of Brazil itself, because it contains people from all over the country,” said Victoria.

Last year, Vitória tried again and went through the entire selection process, which includes a pre-registration, sending documents to prove the written application, and a written and an oral test.

The entire process is done by a partner institution, which in Mato Grosso is the State Secretary of Education (Seduc). In the end, four finalists per state are selected—and one of them gets the chance to go to the Young Ambassadors and the other three go to the EIP.

The program is for students aged 15 to 18, who are in high school, have a good command of the Portuguese language, do some kind of volunteer work and have never been to the United States. That is, this was the last year for Victoria, who is 18 and finished high school in 2017.

Fluent English is not a requirement, but it is necessary to be at a good level of the language in order to communicate in that country. Victoria never took lessons, she learned English alone.

She is currently awaiting the outcome of the Enem, as she intends to attend medicine. In the meantime, she will spend three weeks in the United States with the Young Ambassadors, attending leadership workshops, volunteer projects, meeting government officials and US community leaders and giving presentations on Brazil.

“I’m going to stay in Washington for a few days, and then I’ll be staying at an American family’s home in Louisville, Kentucky,” she said.

With the trip coming—she goes on Friday—the young woman said that her anxiety was “at a thousand”, especially regarding meeting the family that will host her. She believes that this experience will transform her future, giving her the opportunity to broaden her worldview and improve her English.

“It’s the realization of a dream, a result of commitment. I just have to be thankful,” she said.

 

Meet Some Iraqi Exchange Students Who Want To Change The World

Listen to the WFPL radio spot.

Thirteen exchange students from Iraq are in Louisville this week. The teenagers are part of the Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program sponsored by the U.S. State Department. While they’re here, the students visit education institutions and attend workshops on youth activism.

They’ll go back to Iraq and work on a community project around an issue they’re passionate about.

I caught up with the students on their break at the Big Four Bridge. I talked to them about their projects, what they do for fun at home, and about misconceptions some may have about their country. Listen to what they had to say in the player above.

Roxanne Scott | wfpl.org
Ali Al_Behadili

“My project is about designing a dialogue group to inspire others about being more open-minded and celebrate the diversity. Because Iraq is so diverse. We have people from different backgrounds, different languages, different religions.” —Ali Al-Behadili, 16.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roxanne Scott | wfpl.org
Zainab Al-Hilfi

“Just to be honest I want to be a pilot. But my mother said no so I have to be a doctor. I don’t have an opinion about my life. It’s all about your parents, the community. And I will work on that, actually. Like, through doing some dialogue groups.” —Zainab Al-Hilfi, 16.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roxanne Scott | wfpl.org
Awab Abdulhadi Majid

“Here’s the thing: not all Iraqis are Arabs. Not all Arabs are Muslims. And not all Muslims are terrorists.” —Awab Abdulhadi Majid, 15.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This article, written by Roxanne Scott, was reposted from WFPL News.

Events

Multiregional – U.S. State and Local Governance

September 21 – 26, 2018


Twelve international visitors from an array of different countries will be in Somerset and Frankfort, Kentucky in September to explore “U.S. State and Local Governance.” More details to come…

Home hospitality dinner host needed! Contact Laura Duncan, Visitor Program Manager, with questions at [email protected].

Open World | Ukraine – Prison Rights

September 12 – 19, 2018


Open World Ukraine | Prison Rights

Program details coming soon…

Host families needed! Please contact Laura Duncan, Visitor Program Manager, at [email protected].

Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program (IYLEP)

August 5 – 19, 2018


Theme: Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs)

The Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program (IYLEP) brings English-speaking Iraqi secondary school students to the U.S. for a four-week summer exchange to explore themes of leadership development, civic rights and responsibilities, respect for diversity, and community engagement. World Affairs Council has been hosting IYLEP in Louisville since the program’s creation in 2007!

Host families needed!

Community Connections | Belarus – Women’s Leadership

May 30 – June 20, 2018


Homestays Needed!

Community Connections Belarus| Women’s Leadership

Details to come…

Host families needed! If you are interested in hosting Belarusian visitors in your home, please contact Visitor Programs Manager Laura Duncan, [email protected]!

 

TESOL Exchange: Teacher Training/Training of the Trainer and Advanced Professional Development

March 21 – 25, 2018


TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) Multi-Regional Exchange Program

Theme: “Teacher Training/Training of the Trainer and Advanced Professional Development”

Program details coming soon…

Multiregional – Corporate Social Responsibility

February 13–17


Five business people from Brazil, Egypt, Pakistan, Palestine, and Saudi Arabia. They will be meeting with businesses and NGOs to discuss sustainability, social impact, and civil rights.

A home hospitality host for this group has been selected. If you are interested in hosting a group of visitors for dinner in your home, please contact Visitor Programs Manager Laura Duncan, [email protected].