Theo Lab

Theo's Story

When teachers become the students:  teaching engineering and math in São Paulo

As a sophomore, Theo travelled to Brazil as part of the Global Teaching Labs program;  the program aims to teach computer science, engineering and math to Brazilian high school students, and employs a large number of MIT undergraduates from diverse backgrounds.  Little did Theo know that he would end up learning as much (or more) than the students in the workshops! —such as learning about working effectively in groups, how to improvise in situations with limited resources, how to effectively communicate and teach in another language despite limited prior experience, and how to appreciate the culture of another place.  While the teaching workshops were a success, Theo returned transformed by the experience, and is actively working on his Portuguese skills to be able to be more effective on his return to Brazil.  He is also planning an internship in Brazil to continue his studies in mechanical engineering.


  • Theo Lab 1
“In leading the workshops, I expected to be an ambassador for MIT, representing my school and what it stands for on the world stage. In fact, it turned out we mostly followed what the Brazilian counselors were already doing with the students, incorporating a bit of our program. However, we ended up actively watching and learning from them, and that turned out to be really important, because we would not have been fully prepared for the task— an exercise in humility and education [for us].”
  • Theo lab 2
“I expected we would have nice and welcoming hosts, vetted by Rosabelli. This turned out to be more than true— our hosts in both São Paulo and São Carlos were amazing! I have a theory that in Brazil more than any other country of its size, there is this feeling that “…if you understand my language, you understand me.” I’m now taking Portuguese classes and lessons, and I definitely want to move there!”

Talia's Story