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Incoming heartwarming video of the day right here. Get the tissues ready. Underprivileged students in Brazil are learning English via video conferences with senior citizens in retirement homes in America. The teens are getting much needed experience with native English speakers, and the elderly are getting a chance to communicate with someone new and make a difference from the comfort of their community. Did someone cut like a hundred onions in here? I can feel the tears flowing down my cheeks.
Then I try to imagine one of my grandparents trying to pull this off, and I laugh hysterically. Let me first congratulate the man in the video successfully operating and utilizing that Macbook with ease. Had that been one of my grandparents (love you grandma/Mema if you read this anytime soon), the process would’ve taken three minutes longer just to reach the internet browser! The video shows an ideal and crisp connection, but I’ve been on more than a few calls to know there would be more than a few communication breakdowns during the conversation not related to hearing loss and language barriers.
Now don’t take this as me saying this isn’t an awesome thing, because it totally is. I wish more programs like this were in place for the lonely elderly of our world, and I think these people are doing a great service for our Latin American friends looking to advance their grasp of the English language. That being said, I really do hope most of these participants have contact with their own families. The video really makes them seem pretty lonely. If so, it’s kind of terrible that we are outsourcing grandchildren to the retirement communities of the world!
There could be some strong cultural implications with this program. In twenty years we could see a ton of Brazilians walking around chanting “DA BEARS”, talking about the Worlds Fair, and having a love for brats and deep dish pizzas. Okay maybe that’s just a dream I’d like to see unfold, but I did find it funny that one of the things an old man and teen connect on across international borders was Lollapalooza. Music is a unifier it would seem, or as the elder in the video might suggest, a breeding ground for debauchery and bad music.