Education, Globalization and the Child

featuring The University of Illinois Chicago

In March 2023, we welcomed a group of undergraduate students from the University of Illinois Chicago on a learning journey in Brazil that aimed to demonstrate how geographic and cultural factors affect educational settings and learning, with a particular focus on childhood education.

Prior to students’ departure, we worked remotely with students over the course of four weeks to offer virtual courses that provided introductory information on Brazil and the country’s education system. These preparatory sessions gave students the background necessary to optimize the time they spent in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, where they conducted a series of visits to organizations leading the innovation of the field of education in the country and participating in activities alongside representatives from these organizations.


São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)


- Virtual: Feb 7 - March 14, 2023
- On-Site: March 18th - 25th, 2023


10 undergraduate students from multidisciplinary backgrounds (ranging from Psychology and Urban Education to Health Studies and Finance)

This program served as the birthplace of the relationship between campus b and the University of Illinois Chicago. Beginning last year, under the leadership of Executive Director of Study Abroad Kyle Rausch and Clinical Associate Professor Jennifer Olson, we launched the first edition of the program.

The learning journey we organized for students took place within the broader context of a course in the university’s College of Education, which aimed to understand how educational experiences are often impacted and transformed by globalization. Following the success of the launch, we came together with UIC once again this year to run the program for a second time. Particularly given the importance the field of education has for our work, we are thrilled to have the opportunity to continue to grow our partnership with UIC’s College of Education.

The Journey:

Beginning in February, students participated in a series of four online sessions organized by campus b that took place during their normal class time in order to provide them with relevant background and exposure to the concepts and issues that they would later see while in country.

Among other activities, students had the chance to hear a lecture from Professor Augusto Rezende from the University of São Paulo’s Escola de Aplicação (Practice School), an affiliated laboratory school that serves as a model for innovative teaching practices and educational research.

Following these pre-departure virtual sessions, students embarked on their journey to Brazil in mid-March. The first half of the trip, which was spent in São Paulo, immersed students in a series of key issues related to innovation in the field of education. Students also visited Escola Concept, a private K-12 school that offers a bilingual curriculum, emphasizes project-based learning, and prioritizes personalized student support through individualized learning plans and a low teacher-student ratio.

Students then proceeded on to Rio de Janeiro, where they had the chance to explore decolonial forms of learning. Most notably, they took a day trip to Tekoa Ka’ Aguy Ovy Porã, an Indigenous community located in the neighboring city of Maricá. During this trip, students visited the community’s school, where they engaged in dialogue with students and professors about the history of the community and its day-to-day functioning. 

Partner Institution:

The College of Education at the University of São Paulo (FE-USP) is a renowned institution that offers undergraduate programs in Pedagogy, Physical Education, and Arts Education, as well as several graduate programs, including a Master’s and a Doctoral program in Education. Having been founded in 1934, the college has established several research centers and laboratories that conduct cutting-edge research in various areas of education, such as the Center for Advanced Studies in Teacher Education and the Laboratory of Educational Technologies.

The Impact:

The amount of time that UIC students had to participate in interactive activities with local schools highlighted the importance of involving local students in these types of learning journeys.

Over the course of the week students spent in Brazil, they had the chance to meet high school students at the Escola de Aplicação, middle school students at the Escola Concept, and elementary school students in the Ka’ Aguy Ovy Porã Community. Bringing together students from different backgrounds and ages and who were brought up in a range of different educational systems gave UIC students a more holistic view of the full panorama of educational experiences in the country. 

In addition, the visits that students conducted gave them an opportunity to understand how certain issues that impact the field of education internationally manifest themselves locally in the Brazilian context.

While chatting with researchers and practitioners at the Instituto Nacional do Letramento (an educational organization that focuses on promoting literacy skills and supporting literacy educators), students learned about the difficulty in maintaining teachers in a profession that is oftentimes undervalued and underfunded.

Similarly, while visiting the Indigenous community in Rio, community members shared with students the challenges they face in trying to maintain their forms of learning and living in a society that neglects to see them as valid. 


In spite of this, however, UIC students witnessed how educators and students alike have been successful in innovating and transforming the field to better serve all those who participate in it. While the Escola Concept is responding to this transforming environment with initiatives such as 3D printer student projects and mental health training, members of the Ka’ Aguy Ovy Porã Community do so by maintaining community-based education, in areas such as construction and fishing. In both cases, program participants were exposed to pedagogical models focused on preparing students for life, rather than a standardized test. 


Did you enjoy reading about this incredible international education journey? 

Our passion in the academic field has given us the privilege of actively collaborating with more than 80 universities, offering professional and extracurricular experience journeys directly impacting more than 4000 students.

Written by:

Jaret Waters

Campus b Team

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