By Jay Forte, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Since 2009, Caminhos Language Centre in Ipanema has been one of the most popular schools to learn Portuguese in Rio de Janeiro, due to their prime location, social mission, their wide range of cultural emersion activities and economical options for language classes. Now in 2016, the school has evolved the operations to include new activities and support new causes, as well as some new course options tailor-made for the Olympic year.
Jascha Lewkowitz, a Dutch expatriate who runs the school along with founder Bart Bijen, have created three new courses this year; Caminhos Talk (conversational course), Latin Group (course for Spanish speakers), and Rio Immersion (designed to explore Rio de Janeiro while learning Portuguese).
As the Olympics will be in Rio de Janeiro from August 5th – 21st, Lewkowitz also adds, “With the lead up to the Olympics we working hard to offer a special designed Olympic Portuguese crash course, so we will be able to help some tourist with some basic Portuguese skills so they can better survive.”
One of the features of Caminhos Language Centre that makes it so popular with travelers and new arrivals to Rio is the sense of community the school offers, and activities to participate in. One of the most popular is the Caminhos Dia da Cultura (Day of Culture), where the the teacher will focus the class on a special aspect of Brazilian culture.
For example, students will taste food and drinks, learn how to dance or play a typical game. The whole school is decorated related to the subject of Dia de Cultura, for 2016 they already have the following days planned; Festa Juninha, Brazilian Folklore, African influence in Brazil, and the Different Regions of Brazil.
Another major initiative from the school that creates an opportunity for students to engage in social improvement is Caminhos In Action (C.I.A.). Lewkowitz explains, “Caminhos In Action is a volunteer day held once a month in which students can participate in different projects, helping nearby communities and people in need.”
Adding, “Each month we organize a C.I.A. day such as painting houses, street cleaning, spending time with the elderly at homes for the elderly, building houses and working in gardens in local communities. Around Christmas and Easter time we also provide special events for children from the communities we help.”
Another new event Caminhos Language Centre launched this year is Caminhos Community Time (each Saturday), which is another volunteer day where they take students into the nearby community of Caranguejo and spend some time with the children who live there.
Lewkowitz says, “We help to clean up the area, read stories, play games and draw with the children, and provide them with food and drink. It is a day for showing these children in the community that we care. The community times are organized in cooperation with Solar Meninos de Luz.”
Perhaps the biggest single activity in 2016 that the school has planned is participating and representing Brazil at the Bravekids event in Poland. The mission of Bravekids is to bring together children from all over the world in an atmosphere of friendship and respect for each other’s cultures.
Lewkowitz saus “We are very proud that we will represent Brazil again in 2016 in the beautiful event of Bravekids in Poland. Six Brazilian children (age 7-14 years) from the Cantagalo favela and nearby communities will go for one month to Poland and will create a spectacular performance together with other children of the World.”
Caminhos Language Centre in Ipanema is looking forward to an Olympic year in 2016 and will continue to set itself apart as a language program leading with cultural activities, and providing a sense of community for those new to Rio de Janeiro. Make sure to follow their events and new programs at their web site.
* This is a Sponsored Article by Caminhos Language Centre.