Global Crossroads 03 - Walter Morales - Brazil

Uploaded by PCCvideos on 08.06.2012

Welcome back to Global Crossroads
I'm Bryan Hull and I'm your host for this program,
and today our special guest is Walter Morales
Welcome Walter.
Thank you Bryan.
Happy to be here.
So you teach computer science, right? -Correct.
Tell me, how long have you been at the college?
This year, I celebrated my twentieth anniversary.
Unbelievable, you got your twenty year pen? -Yes. -Wow...
I remember when we had the meeting last week
everybody went... I was announced twenty years and everybody goes, huh?
because it doesn't sound like it has been that long, but it actually has.
Wow, I didn't know you were here longer than I was, wow.
And how much of that was part-time versus full-time?
I started in ninety two
ninety two to ninety eight was part-time
and since then it was full-time.
Well congratulations. -Oh, thank you. -That's not an easy feat. And all of the students...
-Yes, yes, sometimes I keep adding them up, it's like thousands of students.
and it is quite interesting to be here for a long time because then you start
seeing people on the street
you know that recognize you.
One time.. I just have to tell this story because it's interesting,
because it goes with the time that you're here.
I was at Fred Meyer not too long ago,
I was buying shoes,
and then somebody said "Mr. Morales?", and I go, "yeah..? How do you know?"
and then he said, "I recognized your voice", and I said, "from where?"
and he said "from your online class, I took your online class".
I have labs where I use my voice,
and it's amazing how people start to recognize you after a while, so it's fun. -Wow, twenty years.
So let's go back to the origin, your origin,
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Brazil
in a city called Campinas
I was born there and lived there until I was eighteen
and then my father used to work for the airlines
for Pan American Airlines
and then we used to travel a lot
especially to Miami and New York
and then i always said this kind of dream about living in a small town in the United States
because we always flew over those little towns and said
what would it be like to live there, you know?
So I have this opportunity at one point when I finish high school,
my father said you're going to stay in school until you're eighteen,
then you can do whatever you want.
So I turned out, I finished high school,
and the first thing I did, I said dad, I need a ticket. Because we used to get free tickets.
so you fly all over the place -You jump on a plane and...
You know, let's spend the weekend in Miami. Yeah, sure, why not?
So then, after we had that opporunity,
I wrote some friends who were exchange students here in the states
and then at that time, a couple of them wrote back saying, oh yeah, my neighbor can host you.
One of them was in Chicago, and there was another in Monmouth, Oregon
if anybody knows where that is, it's a small little town down south of here
and then I was able to stay at his neighbors for a few months
and the person that I lived with, or the family
the father of the family used to teach at the college that I end up attending
which was Western Oregon University.
He was an English professor so everything pretty much kind of fell into place.
Let's go back to the... How big or small is the place that you grew up in?
Now it's around a million people
when I left it was about five hundred thousand or so.
It's the largest city in the state of São Paulo
and it has two big universities
which did attract, and will attract a lot of people from all over the place
because it is well known throughout the country
and then situated in Brazil, where is it?
In the state of São Paulo, the city of São Paulo, it's about an hour northwest of São Paulo.
So it's close to the big center of São Paulo too.
So you left when you were young... -When I was eighteen, yes.
And did you.. That was it? Did you go back and live anymore, or that's it?
I had the opportunity to go back every three months or so
thanks to my father's airline tickets
I used to go back all the time enough to live.
I used to go, and I still go every year now, but now I have to pay my way
I still go there... -You're the reason Pan Air went out of business
There are a lot of people that did that actually every weekend so...
Didn't put that much dent on Pan Air.
So, it's a very long journey, where you started to where you are now
and I'd like you to pick maybe one or two
important crossroads or important transitions,
if you look at the whole thing what was like, wow, that was a really
important period in my life that made it all different. I don't know if that made sense.
Yes, it does because, when I came here, my main goal was to learn English.
I had taken two and half years over private English school
where you basically learned good morning, milk, eggs...
You know, so every time I went to Miami for instance, I would try to practice
and I said, I cannot converse with those people, I don't understand anything they say.
So that's when I felt there was an opportunity to live here a little longer and learn the language.
So then when I came, I had this opporunity of living in Monmouth
living with an American family,
and then everything kind of fell into place, because then once I was with this family
then I started going to watch his classes at the University
in at that time, in Brazi, in order to go to a...
to school or to the university
you have to take a national exam
depending on which university you want to go to.
So if it's a federal or state university
depending the field that you want to get into
you may have a hundred people for one spot.
so usually you go to a prep school
for a year, two years, three years until you pass that exam.
If you go for private university,
there's more of a chance, but you have to pay a lot of money.
So then when it came to the opportunity of
being in Monmouth, I met an instructor who loved Brazil
he played Brazilian music -Is this the english teacher or just somebody...
There's another person that I met in the department okay.
He had no... He has never been in Brazil,
but he knew everything about Brazil, so he would ask me questions about Brazil
that I had no idea what he was talking about,
and that's when I started to
appreciate my country a little more I guess, because then I started
investigating more, and about the culture and the music and everything else
he had asked me that I had no clue about.
So anyway, then after that, he said why don't you come up and study here?
And then I said, yeah, otherwise I'd have to go back and then
go through this prep school
and then take exams which may take two, three, four years or so
and then, we'll say I started at the university at that point.
So you said the first step you took, I find this fascinating, is that you went and sat in
the english teacher's classroom, you just watched what
the experience was like, is that what you said? -Pretty much.
Because he taught English, and I was looking for conversational or grammar school
or grammar in English
so he said, oh you know, since you're here just doing almost nothing
except help in the house and I was just trying to live the American experience
and then he just say, oh I have a class this afternoon, why don't you come and watch
and at that point when I met this other instructor
who was my my mentor throughout life pretty much
and then he helped... -The guy who knew everything about Brazil?
Yes, his name's Mr. Baker, he passed away three years ago.
Did he ever get to Brazil?
Yes he did, he did go to my house and then we planned out because...
He was the type of person who would plan out like ten years before he did something,
so he planned out doing this whole entire,
like four or five years was planning this trip to Brazil and Portugal.
So he was going through the school to learn Portuguese
he would take them to a place in Salem where there was
a meeting with people that spoke Portuguese,
and then I was there to kind of practice with them and stuff
so it was kind of fun.
So we finally did, one day with his wife they stayed at my house
was during carnival time
and he loved music so he would be looking for all the places where they had
preparation for carnival,
listen to the drums, because that's what he played, the drums.
That's really cool. So you got to return the favor, you got to take him to your home...
-Yes, yes -That's excellent.
It was fun, to kind of repay him in whatever way I could.
So, speaking of Brazil,
you don't hear very much, in the US media you don't hear very much about
the country I have to say. You hear about economically how it does well
although it's kind of vague, they're not very specific about why it's doing well,
they just say, oh, it's an emerging market.
So what is it...
What things about the country that you think are really important that we
don't usually hear about?
Usually when...
And also going back to the time when I went to school, because I was...
There was myself, and this friend of mine from Brazil who went to the university.
and then in the dormitories when talking to France, I would ask what you know about Brazil?
And it was really interesting what you hear because it basically was nothing.
First they would say Hola.
Okay, first thing, we don't speak Spanish, we speak Portuguese. Oh, we didn't know that.
and then they ask, you know Brazil, is that like in Africa? Is that a country in Europe somewhere?
So out of one hundred, maybe two or three people would actually know where it was.
Very very few knew that we spoke portuguese and that was because
like you said said, there is very little information about Brazil here,
although now it's the sixth economy in the world. It's like two point five trillion of National Gross.
So now, I mean, you go back and forth, you go every year,
so what do you think, you go there and you're like, wow,
this is not reported at all in the Western media,
what are some important things, like three things we should know about contemporary Brazil?
It's a very large country with a very large economy.
and it's fueled by what? Like why is it so hard?
There's a lot of opportunities because, well, the coast line...
and also there's a lot of, the temperature loss to have a lot of crop,
it's about twenty five or thirty percent of economy space on agriculture.
And also visio exports.
Meat products, you know,
pretty much all kinds of exotic fruits, orange juice
most of the times when you drink your orange juice, just look at the back of the label
and it says products from Florida and Brazil.
So there's a lot of products that come here. And also it serves South America.
The other countries they're not as productive as Brazil.
Automobiles, technology
and all those products are exported all over the world from this.
-Huh, interesting...
So there there's a lot,
and they usually don't see that because you just kind of find the end product.
You don't actually see the labels on things that are actually produced.
Okay, so the economy, what else do we need to know?
About the people.
About the people. I have never met somebody, I'm not sure if they're trying to be nice to me, but
I have never met somebody who has been there,
where the first comment that they make it's about the people, how happy they are
how friendly they are, it does not matter on their social status
if they're poor or if they're rich, they kind of pretty much treat you the same.
So that's what I usually hear a lot about. That people are super nice.
So I'm not sure if they're trying to be nice to me,
but that's usually what I hear.
And also the regions of cultures that you find here,
because Brazil was discovered by the Portuguese
but since that time, we have
people coming from all over Europe and all over the world that populate in different areas,
so that's something that you don't really hear,
because usually most people kind of make a stereotype. They look at you
like for instance when I'm on the street, because I have this feature people say
you're mexican, right?
Which I'm not.
But then my father's from Bolivia, so my father was an immigrant already.
My mother's side is Portuguese and Spanish.
My wife sides is Italian and German, and that just goes back for generations.
So you don't see people talking too much about this melting pot
because they usually see three or four people that kind of look like the same
and then they kind of make this stereotype, that's what Brazillians look like.
So this is a question that I have wondered for
twenty some years, twenty to twenty five years
and that is, I've talked to some Brazillians a long time ago about
racial tension or discrimination in Brazil,
and they always say, oh, it's not like here,
and I just wondered if that was true.
And that is one of the first things I noticed when I first came here
i never understood why you'd go to certain locations, and you'd see
like at church for for black people
or maybe scholarships for latinos or
you know there is never this kind of separation
and that's something that I always wonder why it happened here.
And then the segregation or the racism and the propagation
it has not much to do with the color of your skin, but your social status
so for instance if you're Pelé
right? A soccer player, he's black,
and if he goes to like a restaurant,
nobody's gonna say anything about him because everybody knows who he is.
But then if a black person goes to a restaurant that's for the high society,
somebody may start staring at them.
So it has more to do with a little bit of your social status
and your color is kind of secondary, because there are a lot of mix of
races in Brazil like I said. There's black and Indian,
white and black, white and hispanic decents,
so there's a very big mix.
So there's this kind of separation,
not through your color skin, by your social status.
Oh, like, a good example for instance, which is kind of funny
if you go to gas stations sometimes,
the attendant says, hey...if you have a nice car,
the attendant says, hey doctor, how much do you guys want to put in your car?
But then if you go there with an ugly beat up volkswagen
they may not have given the same kind of service.
Just based on your car? -Based on your car.
Okay, so that's kind of, the people I talked to didn't talk about social class very much,
but still it would seem that there would be a connection between the two in that,
so there was a big influx of slaves from Africa, and you would think the legacy of
the slaves in Brazil would still have some impact in terms of who
felt as if they could ascend social class and who couldn't, I mean there has to be,
the history has to matter.
It depends which area of the country you live
because the state of Piauí for instance,
that's where most of slaves came to work on the farms,
cocoa farms and bean farms and all the other farming,
and most of those are black.
So around that state, which is about North of Rio
then everybody there, there skin are like mine, or darker.
So you go there you see the people's faces, and they
also now kind of look alike a bit,
-Is the economic status of that area
the same as other places in Brazil, or..
São Paulo state is suppose to be the state that basically supports the entire country
but all those other states that do have their growth as well.
And then from São Paulo down south there's more of a blend
of cultures because the Europeans, they came for farming as well,
but because of the temperature, the weather, they have different types of crop.
South of São Paulo pretty much.
So even on the state of São Paulo, what I hear several times
is the biggest Japanese community outside of Japan, because of so many
Japanese that are in there.
so we have a a big mix of things, so if you go down south you're gonna see a lot
of light-skinned people
and with mixed up with some people from the north, so you'll notice that right away.
When I went to Japan, that was one of the most surprising things was when I ran across
the Brazilian population in Japan.
First of all I was totally surprised there were Brazillians in Japan.
This was when Brazil was in a bad economic situation,
I'd say early eighties.
you know most people are trying to to leave, we have to go someplace else.
so they all... Most of the the the sons and daughters of those Japanese immigrants
that were either their parents or grandparents
they took the route back, so they went back to Japan
so there's a humongous Brazillian community in japan.
And now what happened, because of the economy in the world
those same people, most of them are going back to Brazil,
and that same thing's happening to immigrants
brazilian immigrants that came here during the eighties
now they are also going back to Brazil because
the economic situation there is much better than pretty much everywhere else.
What do you think is one or two of the biggest challenges that Brazil faces?
I believe the social fairness economically is,
you can read most places are doing quite well.
I just read today than employment's like five-and-a-half percent which is
amazing compared to the rest of the world.
Most of the the services are provided to the people, it's free.
Medication like I mentioned to you, if it's a state university
or federal university are both free
but you have to have a very good high school background
to be able to pass that exam and be accepted into one of those schools.
So education will lack a little bit because it's supported by the government
and of course there's just so much money to pass around.
And healthcare. Healthcare is also something that's given by the people to the people
for free. It's free. But like any social service, it lacks a lot
so you can see, I have Brazillian tv channels at home, and I see
people being mistreated all the time, like they don't have a a bed to go to or sometimes
there's an an emergency where they have a heart attack or something and they
have to go to five different hospitals.
Just so... Because you have money in Brazil. Do you use the same
health care facilities as people don't have money?
The people who have money, and that's where you see the social difference
they can go to private hospitals where they get much better treatment.
But if you break a leg, you know,
you go to the hospital, they're not going to ask you if you have insurance
they were just treat you.
But the problem is if you go to one of those hospitals where you have a line of
ten people waiting to be treated, then
you know you drag the your leg, might be broken for a month before have some kind
of an operation or fix.
So social equity. Anything else that you think is a big challenege to face as a country?
I think that's the biggest thing.
Also crime is very very very bad.
And they usually go back to loss like fourty years old
You know, so, for instance if you have
a minor that commits a crime and kills somebody, well he is a minor so he's
taken to juvenile hall for one year or some kind of
schooling and then they just let them go off in the street again, and they probably
commit the same crime again.
And that's something that you hear over and over and over and over and over.
If you see pictures of homes in Brazil,
most likely when I see fenced, walls, you know electric walls or
you know, because it is bad.
That is something that we do here.
Crime.. -But it's... Not as bad... -Yes, that's usually what you hear.
And that's one of things,
if you read any newspaper about
traveling to Brazil, they always say
be very careful where you go, be safe,
you know and you see all those things.
And so I think those two things, the social fairness and the violence in Brazil
which is really really bad.
So, let's leave Brazil and talk about your experience at PCC as an instructor
and from your prospective,
as you watch American teachers work with international students,
people who weren't born here,
What do you think is the probelms that you see that come up?
Usually foreign students, because I was one myself
usually limit ourself, we tend to get together which groups of the same background
so we just basically hang around, go to parties, socialize, and then in the classroom
we always feel a little bit low.
I talk about my example, and example of friends of mine,
and that usually reflects students that are here now.
So with exception of very few, language was problem.
So they're also afraid to ask the question
and then either they have a strong accent, or they have some kind of
a different relationship with their professors,
they're usually the quiet ones in the classroom.
That's what I saw with most of my my students as well.
They're always kind of shy, and then depending on which part of the country they're from,
I'll say from Latin America,
the different relationship we have with instructors
is that we see them more of a friend, we don't put them on a pedestal.
So everytime I go to Brazil, we go visit universities and stuff
and places like that, and then sometimes
as the student goes to the classroom, the teacher keeps them in check
you know, everything,
So you feel more comfortable
and that's something that people, at least Brazilians that come here
have to get used to it.
That professors here kind of maintain a large space.
It's so interesting because usually you hear the reverse is that it's more... Less hierarchy
like when you hear from totally different cultues,
oh, in the US there's less hierarchy, but you're
saying there's a little bit more hierarchy in the US than in Brazil.
Yes, I mean when you go to parties for instance sometimes, I'm talking about the college level,
sometimes at the end of the class, like on a friday
you see your teacher drinking beer with you in
some kind of a bar outside of the university kind of thing
so they socialize a little more with the students.
On the higher end,
most of the instructors that teach at the federal or state universities
usually they study abroad, you know, usually big university, harvard, yale,
and some other institutions where they take the culture back
you know from those universities as well.
So they're a little bit distance than the other ones there,
that went through the whole school system in Brazil.
But when you answer this question, I asked about teachers. What do you think the
teachers get wrong, and you talked about the students, so what is something that...
I guess you're doing it indirectly, so teachers should... What should
what might teachers try? -They should interact with those students more.
I think there's so much that, from examples of the professors that I have,
they were interested about my my background and my culture
I feel more comfortable with that
After they have just a little pep talk.
You know, I hear you're from Brazil, so tell me a little bit about your country,
and that kind of closes a big gap,
where I don't see the structure as,
that pedestal were I cannot talk to him about anything, or her,
but more as a friend, where if I have a problem
I can go and talk to him.
And that's what Mr. Baker did, with all the international students.
Then all of the international students, they always say
take this class for Mr. Baker because he's really friendly and he will help you out.
So from his example, I can I guess give my example.
So does it matter if it's done... Should it be done like privately one-on-one
or in a classroom before the class starts, does it matter?
If... In my class what I do...
As soon as I see somebody that does have an accent
or see an interesting name
I always ask about their background
and that way, I'd start talking with them about their culture a little bit,
and that way, I always see them at the end of the class, or some other days
they feel more comfortable about coming and talking to me.
Where before, they would not even
think about it because they'll think, like I did before,
the instructor was at that level and I have an accent I'm a foreigner
and I have to maintain a distance.
Wow. Well I have learned... I'm so glad I invited you to join the program because
I've learned so much in such a short amount of time.
that's what's so personalizing few or non joining us and i think everyone who
watches well learn a great deal well.
-Well, I appreciate it. Thank you for inviting me, it's been fun.
Thank you.