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From cosmetics reseller to exchange student in London: get to know Alana Mayrine

Updated: Apr 1, 2022


Soul Bilíngue student goes to England to study English this weekend

Alana Mayrine, Soul Bilíngue ambassador

The land of the queen, or simply the largest city in Western Europe, is the destination of the next Soul Bilíngue student, Alana Mayrine, 23. Soul featured her in the second semester of 2019, and she earned a four-week English exchange scholarship at English Path in London, England.


Alana was born in Mogi das Cruzes but grew up on the outskirts of Suzano, in the metropolitan area of São Paulo. She lives with her parents, the stay-at-home mother, Regina Maria, and the truck driver, Aguinaldo Balduíno.


She knew the importance of learning a new language, but coming from a humble family, paying for a course was challenging. Therefore, Alana started working informally with her aunt as a cosmetics reseller and at 14 as a young trainee. Then, she could afford an English course when she got the job.


"There came a time when I could pay for an English course. I knew I needed to, so I enrolled in a language school. However, at least a quarter of my salary was to pay the monthly course fee," says Alana.


DISCOVERING SOUL BILÍNGUE

For Alana, the dream of a foreign exchange program was something distant, as for many low-income young people, but she never gave up. She told her English teacher, Jackeline Lima, about that dream. By coincidence or fate, Jackeline was a volunteer teacher at Soul Bilíngue and presented the program to Alana.


"I told her about my dream of doing an exchange program, but I didn't have the resources to pay around R$40,000 to study abroad. That's when she said to me, 'Do you have this dream? I know a place that can help you,' and she referred me to Soul".


Alana says she was initially unconfident about joining the program, but she looked for Soul Bilíngue and signed up for it. The organization was working in person at the Gerando Falcões center in Poá.


"Jackeline saw I was hesitant and said, 'Go there and find out more. You have nothing to lose." Everything was great, and now I'm here about to fulfill a dream," says Alana.


Besides learning English at Soul Bilíngue, Alana has changed her perspective on life. After spending six years working in the administrative area, she decided to change her career.


"At the beginning of college, I felt like I didn't want to do that for my life. At Soul Bilíngue, I had contact with people different from me, with other experiences and visions. Soul and these people made me sit down and think, 'Is this what I want?'" explains Alana.


Alana studied pedagogy at the University of Mogi das Cruzes (UMC). In 2019, she started working at a school as an intern, and because of Soul Bilíngue, she moved up to a bilingual teacher.


Soon landing in London, the former Soul student talks about her expectations for her first international trip.


"I'm trying to stay calm, but inside I'm like, 'Oh my god, help, haha.' I want to practice English to its fullest, and I hope to visit all the major tourist attractions. But as I am a geek person, I bought tickets to the Warner Studios, where Harry Potter movies were filmed."


Alana has made plans for after the exchange program. She hopes to work at a bilingual school when she returns from her trip. She also wants to volunteer in the future to repay for all the help she got at Soul Bilíngue.

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