BLOG#3 New Homestay. My Apprenticeship and Language Learning.

This morning, I was supposed to wake up early than I´d been waking up, because Marcella (my team leader) told me, we will go visit my apprenticeship, which was adjacent to my homestay. It was like 10 min walk from the main street. I could walk by either main street or street behind my house. I preferred the one back of my house, because it would be lovely to walk with beautiful mountainous landscape. Sometimes I did walk from there. For the first time, I biked there. Biking there was also cool. I was at my school and saw many new faces there. Marcella introduced a professor, named Eduardo, who offered us a school tour guide. It was nice to see new and different variety of classes. The school had some big and stunning buildings. Our tour was quick and refreshing, because I tried my little Portuguese skills at school. I learned that Eduardo was my supervisor, and I would be working with him in his laboratory and his students.

He didn’t tell me what I´d be working for the next months but he asked me to join the school from Tuesday at 9h30. Afterwards, I went back home by bike. At home, I´d eat some breakfast then I decided to play games with my host brother to get bonded. We played Chess and Uno games. Playing games was really good time with him. I didn’t know the concept of those games, but my brother helped me with it. Later, I went to my room until I saw Marcella, because we had a quite a long meeting about some cultural things and house rules. I found out that my mom was unhappy with me not taking shower every day, which I accustomed later. After our meeting, we had a very nice and warm lunch. I didn’t have much to do later, so I practiced my Portuguese.

The other day, I went to my apprenticeship, it was called IFSC (Institute Federal of Santa Catarina). In my apprenticeship, I would work with two students, Gabriel and Igor, with some lab’s tools like microscope and lenses. Basically, we would get some waxed cells and would put them on the lenses. Then, my professor would do research and analysis on them. We had lots of waxed cells every day to do. We would work 9-12am with some short break during the work. I´d be socializing with them and other people from the lab. I wasn’t really a fan of socializing, but since I started work. I´d be socializing and meeting new people every day. I found out it´s fun to meet and learn from the people. After our work, we would have lunch break, I´d go home (as it was nearby) and eat something quick and would return to my work. After lunch break, I´d hang in the library of my work to read and do my own work and afterwards, I´d go home and rest a bit. This is what I´d do for the next 7 months as my apprenticeship.

It’s after 2 weeks, when my mom decided to quit the program because she felt like she was having a lot of responsibilities and couldn’t host me anymore. It was miserable to leave my nice homestay, but I was happy to have put in a different but better homestay. I packed and went to somewhere in the middle of the city. It was a homestay of 5 people, my parents and 3 siblings, 2 brothers and a girl. I was glad that my homestay was big and beautiful with small yard and 7 pets, 5 cats and 2 dogs. Living with pets are quite a cool experience. I was happy that I had now siblings to hang and learn a lot about my host community and country as well. Since I came here, things had to be changed. This house was way farther from my apprenticeship than my first homestay. Now, I was in the city, and my work was 10km away from my house. Now, I´d be taking a bus every day in the morning, which I was happy to do. Bus ride was also completely cool for me, because the buses were big and I´d be riding through the beautiful landscape of Garopaba, my city.

From the last week, we had our first Portuguese language class in the city. The good thing about my new homestay was that I was now close to my Portuguese language class. As in city, I hoped to do new things. I was also nearby to the beach. Some months later, I went to the beach a lot. About my homestay, my mom would be working the day in a saloon and my host dad was a fisherman. He´d be fishing from the very morning until 7 in the evening. On the daily basis, he´d fish abundant and would bring loads of fishes for us to eat. My older brother would work his ass off the entire day to make some money for his school next year. My younger brother would go to school in the morning and would play computer games afterwards. My sister would also go to school in the morning and would play games a bit and would go to English class later.

For me, language learning was also amusing and pleasant experience. In the beginning months, we´d have class two per week but later, we´d just have one per week. During my gap year, language class really saved me. It really helped me with grammar and hurdles of Portuguese language. Even though, language class wasn´t just all the means we had, I started browsing and took advantage of internet and YouTube videos. I did watch lot of vlogs and learning videos. Our language classes were our key to our immersion in our host community. It helped us make our experience more valuable and enjoyable.

Stay Tuned 😊😉


Haider Ali
UWC Robert Bosch College