BridgeAbroad

About

With over 20 years of experience, Bridge is an established leader in the teach abroad market. BridgeAbroad internships and study abroad programs are a great way to start gaining professional experience while learning the local language. Internships also come with the opportunity to fill educational gaps in developing countries. Visit the BridgeAbroad website for more information on internships and language immersion programs.

Reviews

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Skylor
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

How about putting the best parts of New York City on the beaches of Miami and having a blast learning Portuguese? - Welcome to Rio and BridgeBrazil.

I highly recommend BridgeBrazil. My initial plan was to enroll in one week of intensive courses and travel for the next 3 weeks with a basic knowledge of Portuguese. What happened was I stayed week after week at BrazilBrazil for four weeks - and don't regret one second of it. Plus, the confidence gained at BridgeBrazil has motived me to continue studying Portuguese well after a year from attending the program.

Ok now for the program. Stellar teachers that rotate each day. One day the professor is a nerdy grammar hound, the next day is a flamboyant old man singing, and the next is a young hipster sharing Brazilian street smarts. Talk about fun! The staff is a blast, the facilities are clean, and the class rooms are small. The rooms are tiny - this was intimidating at first but it made for rapid learning and rewarding interaction.

Location is downtown Rio - easily accessible and the subway stop was next to the large street market (I shopped often times for items that just so happen to fall off the back of the truck...who am I to judge?)

My host mom was hilarious, luckily she spoke Spanish so any confusions could be sorted out in Spanish. Her apartment was located just up the street from Copacabana. I'm suggestion would be to stay with a host family for one to two weeks and get your own place through Airbnb.

What would you improve about this program?
My airport pick-up was mixed up and there was a bit of confusion getting me to the host moms house. Aside from that I really think BridgeBrazil does an amazing job and well worth the cost.
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Matt
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I found the program to be very useful for what I was trying to achieve. The professors were great, the staff was wonderfully helpful, and you can't beat the location.

I did not use the housing option, so I can't comment on how that worked.

to finish up, I could not have asked for more from the bridge staff there, they were helpful, friendly, accommodating, and efficient.

What would you improve about this program?
In terms of constructive criticism, I think that at the beginning of whatever amount of time you are going to spend with bridge, it would help to sit down with staff/professors to go over what it is that you want to accomplish over the period of time. there were afternoons/mornings where I was not sure how what we were doing fit into an overall strategy for me specifically. I think had I had a conversation about "what do you want to get out of these four weeks" perhaps it could have been tailored with a bit more sense of purpose. and it was clear that my two professors did not coordinate what I was working on, as they kept asking me what I had done with the other (which also didn't inspire confidence that they had a plan).

i got the most value out of the random conversations about life and culture with the professors and the daily reading of the newspaper than I did from the books/materials, they were poorly structured and were kind of frustrating because they were not coordinated (they all seemed to take a different approach to instruction) and some of them were clearly designed for a large class when I was just a class of one.
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Kyle
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I felt the program was excellent. Right away the teachers would speak Portuguese with me, and rather than immediately telling me what the word was in English, they would use even simpler Portuguese to explain it to me. The teachers were some of the friendliest I've ever had, and they have amazing patience for students. I liked how we would go over all of the tenses even though I wasn't too advanced yet because it gave me a more holistic view of the language. The homestay provided an unparalled opportunity to practice listening and speaking every day because my host mother was fantastic. The food was great, and she was quite the chit-chatter which was perfect for me.

What would you improve about this program?
Assign some more specific homework; many times one teacher would suggest to the students to do something, but the next day it was only corrected if the student asked. Personally, sometimes I need a push or a deadline to study harder.
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Iris
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I spent four weeks in total studying in Rio on a group intensive cours. I was very pleased with the facilities, the program, and most importantly the teachers.

The system of having one teacher a day proved to be an efficient way to learn, without having the feeling of being rushing. The small groups further enhance the efficient learning experience.

Staying with a host family gave me the perfect opportunity to train my skills outside the classroom and made my one-month stay a real total immersion to the Portuguese language.

What would you improve about this program?
The teachers and the actual teaching taking place at bridge could not have been any better, which is of course the most important. However, I found there to be some improvement to be done within the administration. For instance, after taking the online test two times prior to course start, once on sight at the course start and once more at the end did not seem to be the most efficient way of organizing things.
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Graham
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I speak spanish well, but am not fluent. Nobody in my office spoke engish so everything was a spanish, which was great because I got to practice, but was horrible because I rarely had anything to do for them. It's a 10.5 hour workday here which is a really long time if you're just browsing the internet. My homestay was awesome, and the people and the city are incredible

Programs

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Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Terence McTague

Terence McTague is from New Haven, CT and is finishing a Masters in Education at UConn and a certification to teach high school Biology. He enjoys trying new food, gardening, hiking, and traveling. He taught ESL in Santiago for six months in 2011, and loved every minute of it!
Market outside of Terence's apartment

What inspired you to teach ESL?

I decided I wanted to become a teacher towards the end of college. I hadn't taken any education classes, and I had no experience teaching. Teaching ESL was a great opportunity to see if I liked teaching and to experience a new culture.

Why did you choose BridgeAbroad?

My friends and I chose Santiago because it was a big city, yet close to the mountains and the beach. We were excited to rock climb, and knew that the Andes would provide endless climbing. Bridge seemed to have the strongest presence in Santiago, so it was an easy choice. I was pleasantly surprised when we arrived. I remember it vividly: we were lost exploring Santiago, and stumbled upon Bridge. We popped in unannounced, and they were excited to see us and gave us a tour. They also hooked us up with a realtor to find an apartment. After that, we knew we made the right decision.

Describe your day to day activities as a teacher in Chile.

I typically taught a class at lunch, and a class in the evening. Once in a while I would teach morning classes, but the morning rush in Santiago is crazy so I tried to avoid that. I'd have a coffee and pastry at a cafe, plan my lesson, and then go home for a while, usually to check out the street markets. Then, in the evening, I'd teach a lesson, and walk back, hitting the awesome street vendors on the way home for dinner. I'd have a few glasses of vino, or check out the protests, which were exhilarating.

How has this experience impacted your future?

I was admitted to several graduate schools for a Masters in Education, and I think that my experience as an actual teacher, my life experience, and my bilingual abilities really set me apart from the average applicant. I cherished my time in Santiago, and it's something I will never forget. It's a special bond to meet someone who has been to or is from Chile.

What is one piece of advice you would give to others thinking about teaching abroad?

If it is feasible, do it. Life seems to move pretty fast, so any time you have the opportunity to live in another country (especially an awesome one like Chile) you have to go for it. My biggest regret about the experience is not staying longer.

Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

How do Bridge Abroad internships stand apart from other internship providers in Chile?

Kate: Bridge has been present in the business world since its initiation in 1990 as a language school in Santiago. This gives us 20+ years of strong network connections in many booming industries in Chile. These connections give us the advantage of being able to provide you with more internship options, even tailoring the programs we can offer you depending on what your specific needs are in an internship program.

How does interning in Chile compare to interning in other Spanish speaking countries?

Kate: Chile enjoys the privilege of being South America's economic powerhouse. Its stable economy and foreign-friendliness makes Chile an easy market to break into for foreigners and offers the chance to quickly gain experience you might not be able to get in your home country, putting you ahead of the competition and setting you apart from others in your field. Chile is also known for its technological advances in the sciences and in mining, which provides a virtual playground for entrepreneurs and highly innovative people. Santiago is an incredibly safe city and enjoys the lowest crime rate of all capitals in South America (CITE). And, above all, Chile is a country that offers something to explore for everyone. From its Mars-like deserts in the north; lush, verdant forests of the Lakes region in the south; and UNESCO world heritage sites around every turn, Chile leaves you stunned by its impressive beauty and deep cultural roots.

What extra-curricular activities do interns enjoy while interning in Chile?

Take Spanish classes in Santiago, Chile

Kate: Our staff at Bridge keeps abreast of what´s happening in Santiago, so there is always something new and cool to do! Interns are welcome to join in on excursions that we run through the school on Wednesdays and Fridays for our Spanish students. These outings include famous museums, like the Museo Bellas Artes in downtown Santiago; wine tours at local vineyards, like the award winning Concha y Toro; theater events, cultural exhibits and much more! If you're looking for a trip to the beach, a day spent skiing in the Andes, or going to check out a soccer game, we can plan that for you, too!

What services does BridgeAbroad offer interns before and after their internship in Chile?

Kate: Interns receive a welcome and orientation at Bridge's headquarters in Santiago. They are given 24/7 in country emergency support through our staff. Bridge as a language school offers many opportunities to break in the language market once you're done, or while you're doing your internship. A student may choose to become TEFL certified through our IDELT program and go on to teach English as a second language. They may decide to do volunteer work at a children's orphanage or get involved in a local sports club. Santiago is very close to many tourist towns and cultural must-sees, offering lots to do on the weekends, and is a great home base from which to travel around the central region. And, of course, if you're looking to improve your Spanish, our friendly, experienced teaching staff can help you get to where you´d like to be. Classes are flexible and can even be taken online through our BridgeVirtual program as a supplement to in-person lessons.

What can you tell us about the business culture in Chile?

Kate: Though South Americans are often stereotyped as being "lazy" in the workplace by Western standards, Chileans are quite hardworking and spend long hours in the office – a typical work week is 44 hours, and many Chileans take work home with them. Conservatism in dress and office politics prevail, so it is important to follow suit (literally in a suit!). Emailing is very important, and it's imperative to have written documentation of important conversations or business promises. It's sometimes hard to get a written answer from Chileans, as once something is written down, it is treated as very serious and binding! Chileans take much pride in and responsibility for their work, and value others who hold the same work ethic. Chileans aren't always serious, however, and you'll find that jokes and plays on words are very common among friends and colleagues. As a young foreigner, you may find that you have to talk up your experience and expertise so that your Chilean workmates will take you seriously. Just remember that you have many strong advantages in the fact that you speak another language and come from a different cultural perspective! Employers value the dynamism that this brings to the workplace.