Studying at PRECE

Studying at PRECE
Students from PRECE study together under the juazeiro tree in small groups using cooperative learning

Monday, September 6, 2010

What more could we ask???

I have now been teaching English classes at PRECE Benfica twice a week for nearly a month and I have yet to write about these students. Think back to when you were in college- the weekend parties, the sleeping until noon, the skipping class and then pulling all-nighters before an exam. Not many Americans can complain about their college years- we all had fun, some of us “too much” fun! But, I have a feeling that the PRECE university students I work with in Fortaleza have a very different college experience than I did. Don’t get me wrong- I worked hard, but it doesn’t hold a candle to the work these students are putting in!

Let me give you a little glimpse in to a week in their lives. Monday morning they wake up in their “dorm room” in Fortaleza and all week they study at UFC or another university in Fortaleza. They are all studying various subjects and serve as leaders in those areas. At least 2 times during the week they will end up at PRECE Benfica in order to attend a meeting or facilitate a study group. Some of them are also involved with the Cooperative Learning program that Prof. Manoel Andrade leads at UFC. This means that they have a Cooperative Learning project related to their course of study on top of their regular classes. With their Cooperative Learning group they have to research an issue, create a program/solution and then present their work to others in the Cooperative Learning program. Sometime during this hectic schedule they make time to come to English classes every Monday and Thursday night. Then, every Friday evening they catch the bus back to their hometowns in the rural areas 2 hours outside of Fortaleza. All weekend long they facilitate courses in their PRECE communities and help students prepare for the university entrance exam. On Sunday night they make the journey back to Fortaleza. Whew- just thinking about their schedule is exhausting to me. When do they find time to study? To eat? To go to all the college parties?!?!?

The amazing thing about these students is that they take nothing for granted! They are so grateful and appreciative of the opportunity they have to study at the university that they give 100% effort 100% of the time. And, they know that the continuation of the PRECE movement depends on their dedication. If others before them gave so much to help them get in to the university, they will stop at nothing to provide that same opportunities for the next group of scholars. They are nothing short of incredible.

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