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"Foreign Wave" Forces Schools in São Paulo to Adapt

08/16/2017 - 11h50

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ARTUR RODRIGUES
FROM SÃO PAULO

It is becoming increasingly more common to hear words in Spanish, French and Arabic amidst the hustle and bustle of the public schools' hallways in São Paulo, Brazil.

In municipal public schools, for example, foreigners have increased twofold in the last five years and already amount to 4,747. Including students in state units, they have already surpassed the 10,000 mark in the city.

Such foreign students come from more than 80 countries, and the reasons range from lack of opportunities to political persecution and war.

Half of the foreigners are Bolivian. Haitians and Angolans are also steadily growing.

Schools located in areas where such communities live are trying to adapt to the new scenario, many times as a result of initiatives introduced by teachers and even students.

Stories of bigotry were common. Brazilians came to the point of collecting tolls from foreign colleagues, threatening them.

In order to change this reality, the school's principal started meeting with foreign students and their parents to discuss their experiences. Later on, the principal asked the children to invite Brazilian colleagues for such discussions. "Then, all that violence was over," states the principal.

Today, the school has posters in several languages and a mural representing different ethnic groups. Encouraged by the cosmopolitan atmosphere, teachers and students have also made some proposals.

The case of two girls from Bolivia was among such proposals, now they teach Spanish to their colleagues.

Translated by ANA BEATRIZ DEMARIA

Read the article in the original language

Bruno Santos/Folhapress
It is becoming increasingly more common to hear words in Spanish, French and Arabic amidst the hustle and bustle of the public schools' hallways in São Paulo
It is becoming increasingly more common to hear words in Spanish, French and Arabic amidst the hustle and bustle of the public schools' hallways in São Paulo

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