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"Perfect Match": read stories about great connections between volunteers and students!

Updated: Mar 9, 2022


"Veronica Casagrande (left) and Ana Doforei in Barcelona, Spain"

Whoever joins Soul Bilíngue inevitably makes contact with people from all over the world. Interestingly, many English students and volunteer mentors extend connections from virtual study to face-to-face meetings, creating a great bond of friendship.


The volunteer mentors at Soul Bilíngue are people proficient in English who help the students of the NGO to improve their language skills by holding three mandatory virtual meetings per month with the student. Soul provides the mentor a matching system on the platform to find their students, combining likes, dislikes, and schedules between students and mentors. The mentor assists the same student for six months.


The perfect match between mentor and student happens in coincidence, besides their bond during their first meetings. A good example is the connection between mentor Ana Dorofei and student Verônica Casagrande.


The connection between them began in the second semester of 2021. Ana matched Veronica on the platform and later discovered that she was applying for a scholarship in Barcelona. "It was a coincidence. I matched her, and only when we connected to get to know each other, I mentioned living in Barcelona. And Veronica said she was waiting for a response from a scholarship here," says the mentor.



A neuroscience student at the University of ABC (UFABC), Veronica had applied for a research scholarship in Barcelona through a university program. After six months of online meetings through Soul Bilíngue mentoring sessions, mentor and student met in person.


At the beginning of 2022, Veronica got the scholarship and had to travel in a hurry to Barcelona. "She told me she had nowhere to stay at first due to the urgency of the trip, so I invited her to stay at my house. Veronica ended up staying for four days until she found an apartment. It was an incredible experience," said Ana.



CONNECTIONS BEYOND LEARNING


Mentorships connect people from different regions and cultures, but the combination of similarities between student Amanda Araújo and mentor Renata Lauzen was essential for the perfect match.


"As soon as I had my first contact with my mentor, I automatically created a bond with her. We both like to travel, learn new languages ​​, and we love the beach," says Amanda.


Renata and Amanda connected in the first semester of 2021, but they created a friendship connection during their English mentoring sessions. "We have access to the student's profile before matching. I saw the student was from Guarujá, and I always go there on vacation or weekends. I immediately thought it would be an opportunity to get to know each other in person," says Renata.


Amanda Araújo and Renata Lauzen in Guarujá, southern coast of São Paulo

Amanda's commitment during their meetings made her closer to her mentor because she could learn from Renata, and Soul mentorships opened some space for knowledge exchange between them. "We identify with each other a lot, and we're still in touch, even though I am no longer her mentor anymore. And, we are following each other's lives", says the former mentor.


In July 2021, Renata went to Guarujá, on the southern coast of São Paulo, and they had the opportunity to get to know each other. "It was wonderful to meet her in person. She gave me a book I particularly love – the Bible – in English. Besides this one, I got another gift: her friendship," says Amanda.





LEGACY OF MENTORSHIPS

Robson Souto has been a mentor at Soul Bilíngue for two years, mentored three students, and two of them earned the exchange scholarship at the end of the program. He emphasizes how the experience of being a volunteer mentor impacted his life. "Each student brings different stories of resilience, experiences, and achievements. I love exploring that with them."


Renata also tells how being a volunteer mentor changed her perspective. "Mentoring at Soul Bilíngue is a spectacular job. I had a very positive experience with my mentee. The connections that Soul provides are beneficial not only for the student but also for the mentor. I am delighted to have taken part in the program."




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