Janie Thomas

Janie ThomasHeeding the Call of Brazil

With a world to explore, why stay home?

Janie Thomas has already seen quite a bit of it on her own and in the Army. While stationed in Portugal, she picked up some of the language and made Portuguese and Brazilian friends, as well. She went to Argentina on a study-abroad program last January. “I like to travel,” she says. “My love for culture and meeting people started at a very young age. I always gravitated to people from different places.”

So as graduation from Hunter approached, she considered what she could do as a double major in English language arts and media studies. “I was at a turning point in my life. I already knew I was going to grad school for TESOL [Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages],” and she has applied to several CUNY colleges that offer that program.

Her Fulbright gives her additional time to consider her future as she heads to Brazil to teach English. “I applied on a whim, but I didn’t think I would get it. This is the opportunity of a lifetime for me.”

Thomas doesn’t yet know where in Brazil she’ll be living or what level students she’ll be teaching, but with that country hosting both the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016, it has placed a high priority on its citizens learning English.

Meanwhile, she is perfecting her knowledge of Portuguese, which she says “is not an easy language. In Portugal, they cut off the words and speak with a lot of shhh sounds, but the Brazilians enunciate more and it sounds prettier to me.” She’s off on a great adventure. “I enjoy Brazilian food, culture, dance and soccer. I love their language. And I’ve decided to live my life.”