Distance learning makes life that much easier for Brazilians living in Ireland
2017-02-15 08:47:03 -
The Integration Question with Princess Pamela Toyin

It was her determination to make people happy and give them a meaningful life, more than anything else, that drew Marcene Berteil to study theology via an online university based in Ireland. 

Having lived and experienced a very hard life in France, the Portuguese teacher-turned-homemaker from Brazil says she wanted to “discover more about God” in the face of the racism that remains a reality in much of Europe. 

“I suffered a lot,” she says of her time in France. “I left my family and church in Brazil. I prayed every day and sometimes I cried. I tried to discover God by reading books and reading the Bible.”

When her husband got a new job that took the couple to Ireland, Marcene made the most of the fresh start – starting a theology course via Unigran Net, an online university for Brazilians studying in Ireland.

“I chose to study Theology because God changed my life,” she says. “And since God changed my life, I want to make a difference in people’s lives.“

Unigran Net (www.unigran.pt) is the online branch of the University of Grande Dourado, located in Mato Grosso do Sul in south-western Brazil. Its local co-ordinator for Ireland, Luis Amisterdan Germano, is quick to emphasise the freedom and flexibility of online or distance learning for his students in Ireland, allowing them to slot their study time around their busy lives.

This flexibility more than suits Roberta Duarte, who came to Ireland as a tourist, fell in love with the country and decided to make her life here.

“I am here learning a new culture, and I believe I can teach good things about my own culture as well,” says the former secretary, who works in Ireland as a cleaner while she studies for a linguistics degree – with a view to staying on in Ireland for a PhD and then work with her fellow Brazilians or Irish alike.

Management is the subject of choice for Andressa Pique, who currently works as a child minder and finds the flexibility of online studying vital with the demands of her job – not to mention the comfort of being able to study in her native Portuguese, an option also appreciated by her fellow students.

“I am glad my dreams of obtaining a higher education degree will be fulfilled,” says Andressa, who settled here with her husband.
In the case of multi-talented Keitiane Jorge, who works as a supervisor at a famous pub in Dublin’s Temple Bar, her life has changed since moving to Ireland three years ago, leaving behind her career in nursing to learn English. While she works here, she is studying human resources, online and at her own pace. 

“I live with my Brazilian boyfriend but I don’t know the plans after my course, if we’re going to stay a few more years in Ireland or go back to Brazil,” she says. But for the moment, her life is good.

Antonia Pereira, a linguistics student like Roberta, appreciates the opportunity she has “to study what I like, and I believe it will enable me to do what I want to do in life.

“I came to Ireland to have a better life,” says Antonia, who hopes to be a teacher someday. “I believe Ireland can do for me what Brazil cannot do to fulfil my dreams and give me the opportunity to help my family.” 

As for Marcene, Ireland and the opportunities available here have similarly brightened her hopes for the future.
“I’m welcome here,” she says. “The Irish are more open and I have my dignity back.”

- Princess Pamela Toyin has gained experience since the mid 1980s working in various fields and interacting with people of different tribes and ethnicity. With her passion for diversity, she is propelled to report a diverse range of issues that facilitate intercultural dialogue and integration, which can change social, economic, and cultural stereotypes, and believes there are lessons to be learned from everyone. Talk to her on +353 (0)87 417 9640 or email echoesmediainternational@gmail.com
TAGS : Princess Pamela Toyin Distance Learning Brazilians Ireland
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