The land of samba and sunshine. Of urban and tropical jungles.
Brazil has often been categorized as a grand Latin American success story. And in the last decade or so, the land of “the biggest in the world” is showcasing everything it has to offer through international sporting events, expos for mitigating global climate change, achieving sustainability and self-sufficiency, not to mention hit animated features placing the country’s rhythms and lighthearted side on display.
As Brazil parades onto the world stage in full color, some could conclude this is the start of the Samba Century. However, it’s not all just spectacular sporting events, international environmental conferences, and singing animated birds. Intermingled with the party atmosphere are persistent social, political, and economic challenges that many believe will hold Brazil back from realizing its moment in the spotlight.
[Envoys] knows kids extremely well…they know how to be cool with them while still commanding authority and establishing ground rules…I was incredibly impressed with the protocols established and put in place by Envoys.Micah M., Traveling Faculty Friends Seminary Peru 2015
With its emphasis on empathy and general intelligence in planning, Envoys has quickly emerged as a premier global program provider. They are well worth the attention of any of our schools.Paul Miller Former Director of Global Initiatives,NAIS
Envoys was at the top of their game from start to finish. What initially interested me was their focus on curriculum during pre-departure meetings and the program itself. Envoys cares deeply about the experience of the participants and faculty. [They] constantly ask for constructive criticism and make changes when necessary.Joe Vogel, Executive Director Global Education Benchmark Group
Envoys carefully constructed an educational trip for students that purposefully engaged them to think, reflect, act, and enjoy. The travel logistics were always well-planned, and I had peace of mind knowing that my teen-aged daughter was in safe, responsible, and caring handsAlice T, Parent Deerfield South Korea, 2015
I could not have been more satisfied with the performance of Envoys throughout the entire process of planning and executing this trip. All Envoys staff demonstrated the utmost professionalism and dedication, as well as knowledge and competence. I am so glad that [we] chose to partner with Envoys!Rick S, Traveling Faculty Hingham Japan 2015
The team at Envoys did their very best to ensure that the the “i’s were dotted and the t’s were crossed.” The staff was also quick to respond to any and all questions that arose prior, during and after the trip. My husband and I greatly appreciated the time Envoys took to provide preparation tips as well the planned activity schedules to help make our child’s South African trip a safe and memorable adventure”Regina J, Parent Dalton South Africa 2014
We had an amazing program. It was a biology teacher’s dream and Felipe and his crew couldn’t have been more thorough and professional to work with. Thanks for all of your efforts to organize an unforgettable experience for us all.Gerry, Traveling Faculty LCC Colombia, 2016
As a parent I felt the experience was well orchestrated and managed by Envoys. As a participant my daughter loved the whole experience; it is something she will treasure for the rest of her lifeLinda T, Parent Hingham Japan 2015
I don’t think it is possible to pull a trip like the Amazon and the many activities that you directed without the sense of purpose you have, without your drive for experiential learning for teenagers. All our experiences with the envoys team were amazing!Angela, Traveling Faculty RoundSquare Colombia 2015
It was not only the good times with our friends or the relationships we built but how we were after we came back, returning to this agitated society with a new view of ourselves and not just our impact on the world, but the world’s impact on us.Gabriela, Student Deerfield Colombia, 2014
The individuals we worked with, without exception, were all professional, courteous, patient, and greatly attentive to detail. As stated above, Envoys is flexible and works hard to make sure that if you have custom aspects to a trip that you want to add, they will work hard to make it happen for you.Adam H, Faculty Belmont Hill Japan 2016
I can honestly say that this was the best 10 days of my entire life. I feel as though I have grown as a person, and that I have made lifelong connections. This experience changed my life, so thank you very much to the entire Envoys staff!
Eliza C, Student Hingham Japan 2015
Every single person working for Envoys is excellent and committed to the kids and their experience, not just during the trip, but before and after. We would recommend Envoys to anyone looking for a high quality and enriching summer experience.Amy G, Parent Envoys Malawi 2014 & 2015
The Envoys staff has been amazing. I have bonded with each of them in different ways and they made the trip to Colombia nicer that I expected. Envoys helped me open myself up to interacting with the locals wherever we traveled!Illeana G, Student Deerfield Colombia 2014
My goals were to learn about post-conflict Colombia and step out of my comfort zone. These were fulfilled each and every day through activities, reflections, and first-hand experience.Julia D, Student GEBG Colombia 2016
I was incredibly impressed by the care taken by Envoys. Before we even hit the ground, there was an emphasis on comprehending impact on our destination’s environment that I appreciated..Throughout the trip, our Envoys leaders made sure that we continued to be conscious of impact. That awareness of cause and effect is something that often gets lost when traveling, and Envoys did not allow it to. During this trip, there was never a moment I did not feel safe and cared for nor a moment where I did not feel I was learning something!Keylee S, Student Dalton South Africa 2014
“Many student groups participate in ‘Voluntourism’. This trip did not attempt that, but rather funneled the collective energy of each member into meaningful, mutually beneficial cultural interactions..Thank you so much for this unforgettable and transformational experience.Altana, Student Friends Seminary South Africa, 2016
The Envoys staff were very open about sharing their first-hand experiences, which was a game-changed in terms of learning about post-apartheid South Africa. Also, having everything planned to the T made me feel very safe. I knew that I was in good hands.Gio H, Student Friends Seminary South Africa 2016
The Envoys Staff were exceptionally committed to us and to the goals of our trip. They were thoughtful, kind, caring, friendly, with great sense of humor, yet serious in their connection to the ethos of professional development that was our trip’s purpose. I was struck over and over again by how they literally RAN to be in the right place to respond to any given situation.Constance, Traveling Faculty Friends Seminary Colombia 2016
Day 1 (International Travel)
Students arrive in São Paulo in the evening, and transfer to the hotel downtown. After settling in, faculty and staff hold an orientation session to go over rules, expectations, learning outcomes, hopes, and fears. Then it’s lights out. Tomorrow is a big day in the land of “the biggest in the world.”
Day 2 (Sao Paulo)
In the morning, students visit the Banespa Skyscraper to take in the largest city in South America and create their first impressions of Brazil. We discuss São Paulo as an economic powerhouse spearheading Brazil’s development. Students come to understand the benefits and complexities of this chaotic urban environment. We solidify this discussion through a walk down Avenida Paulista, while pointing out unique architecture reflecting important periods in Brazil’s cultural evolution.
After lunch, we continue our city tour, heading to Parque de Ibirapuera and its museums. Our day ends at the Museu de Arte de São Paulo – one of the most important cultural centers in Brazil – where students explore themes in Latin American art. We unpack our first full day in the evening over a delicious Brazilian dinner.
Day 3 (Sao Paulo)
During our second day in São Paulo, students round the corner to the city’s Liberdade district where they quickly discover how diverse Brazil’s population is. Students discuss migration, immigration, and national identity, using Brazil as a springboard while comparing it to experiences of human migration and identity they are familiar with.
Students have lunch at Associação Espaço Cultural Lan-chonete (AECL), a restaurant cooperative that celebrates São Paulo’s ubiquitous lunch counters and their role in city life. Conceived to break down socio-cultural barriers in the city by sharing meals together, AECL invites artists to reside in and develop relationships with São Paulo, its citizens, institutions, issues, and patterns. Students meet AECL participants, and are encouraged to develop their own relationships to life in the city.
The afternoon is spent in the historic center of the city, where students discover the city’s history through visits to the Catedral da Sé, the Palácio da Justiça de São Paulo and the Pátio do Colégio. Alternatively, students may volunteer at AECL for an afternoon. For dinner, students go to the Mercado Municipal to purchase ingredients to cook a Brazilian dish together.
Day 4 (Paratay)
Students head to picturesque Paraty by charter bus to enjoy this picturesque historic town. Divided into chaperoned groups, students will be tasked with exploring different sections of the colonial town of Paraty. This activity pushes students to identify the most relevant sites and aspects of Paraty’s architecture and customs. At the conclusion, all students combine to create a single map of the town, based on their findings. Students also receive a workshop on Brazilian arts and culture at the Cultural Center of Paraty
Day 5 (The Amazon)
Students fly to Manaus early in the morning and are taken to a jungle lodge, which serves as headquarters for the next two days. Leaving all extraneous possessions behind, students will then begin a jungle trek with indigenous guides. Trekking through the Amazon is a unique experience allowing students to learn about the dynamics of many living species. Students will build an understanding of the stratification of the forest and how life is distributed vertically. We will review the different strategies that organisms have adopted to survive and prosper, and identify means of preserving the area.
Students will search for raw materials used to make regional handicrafts. Once we gather the materials, members of the community will explain how to use them to build different products, and students will learn the skills necessary to make something by hand. The communicative challenge of learning from indigenous community members provides an opportunity for students to develop humility and empathy for others. Students then prepare our campsite for the evening. Spending a night in the jungle is not only the peak experience of this section of the program, but also a peak experience in students’ lives. This opportunity inspires both self-confidence among individuals, and collaboration among the group. All participants grow in recognizing and valuing the comfort that simple things provide in a challenging situation.
Days 6 and 7 (The Amazon)
At sunrise, we trek back to the jungle lodge and freshen up. After lunch, we continue our jungle exploration – this time by water. Journeying in typical canoes of the region, students identify the characteristics of the floodplain forest and elements of the flora and fauna. This scenario helps understand how the dynamics of the river flow affect the life surrounding the Amazon jungle.
Students learn about the indigenous canoes used in the Amazon for centuries. We embark in these canoes to tour a natural lagoon. Students are taught about ancestral techniques for capturing fish, and then put in charge of catching enough fish for dinner. Upon returning to the lodge, we apply the tools of systems thinking to solidify our understanding of what we observed.
The next day is a day of work dedicated to a project proposed by an Amazon Conversation Organization. Details of the project will be crafted in tandem with the school.
Day 8 (Manaus)
After our closing activities in the morning, students have the opportunity to see downtown Manaus before going to the airport to fly to Sao Paulo. Our city tour culminates in a visit to the Amazon Opera House, one of the most beautiful theaters in the world.
Day 9 (International Flight Home)
Students board their international flight home from São Paulo.