It is possible to impact Brazilian education through language teaching

Being the founder of two of the best-known free foreign language teaching organizations in the country —Globalizando and Wanderlust—, Leonardo Neto is a familiar face to many education activists in Brazil. In his trajectory, he has been engaged with several projects that have education as their primary focus, as it is the main cause he defends. His greatest motivation is to pass on the lessons he has learned from the opportunities he has had access to. The 17-year-old has been playing an active role in the LALA community, having already been a fundraising mentor and recently the coach responsible for VLB5’s social media.

Born in Brazilia, the capital of Brazil, Leonardo attended a regional public school throughout his high school years. He says he owes to languages the change in perspective he had when he started to participate in opportunities outside the school curriculum, understanding that high school could be much more than just a preparation for a university entrance exam. Leonardo believes that “it is possible to impact Brazilian education through language teaching”. Wanderlust’s main premise is that working on emotional intelligence and the practical application of knowledge is as important as democratizing access to language education. Because of this mentality, Wanderlust’s mentees have the opportunity to leave the mentorship with much more than just a new language, but also as self-aware people who strive to break the barriers imposed on them —always respecting the socio-economic contexts in which they live.

Recently selected for the Young Ambassadors program, Leonardo got into LALA in 2019, for the Mexico Bootcamp. He had applied before to LALA but was not accepted. His insistence made it possible to live the experience that he classifies as intense and something that still does not seem to have happened. The main learning he took from the Bootcamp was to understand the importance and the power of vulnerability, either for social impact and leadership or day-to-day relationships. In his first experience outside Brazil, he left with friendships that he still keeps in touch with today, and he believes that this is one of the main impacts that LALA has in the lives of their alumni: the connection.

At the moment, Leo is concentrating his efforts in the elaboration of cycle .02 of Wanderlust, in the diplomatic model of Globalizando, and in the organization of Iniciativa Iris’ pillar of social and emotional skills —the first project he participates in that does not have education as its main focus. He believes that beyond the impact caused by the social organizations he works for, he can leave a legacy to his community. Being an example and inspiration to the young people who, as Leonardo once believed, think that high school is just a bridge to get to a university. In fact, there is a gigantic world of opportunities open, and he is working today for many other people to be able to participate in something that has changed his life.

Leonardo Neto is another of our brilliant alumni who has been doing extraordinary work on his goal to improve the lives of his community. His language teaching work has directly reached hundreds of students from all over Brazil. His social impact, however, transcends this number and spreads throughout Latin America. I can say that he is not only one of my inspirations but also one of the inspirations of so many other people who dream of doing work so relevant to the country they live in. Therefore, we at LALA are more than delighted to have the opportunity to tell Leonardo’s story, and we look forward to keeping following his growth!

This is a story written by Cauã Rodrigues, a LALA’s Storytelling Team member.

Similar Posts