Growing up in Brazil, I wanted to be a lawyer; however, the legal educational system has difficult entrance exams and only the best of the best get in. As I was quite young, I was unsure whether I would be selected. So I decided to follow my second passion – teaching.
I started teaching at the age of 13 – I was a roller figure skating instructor in a summer camp. I’ve always loved teaching, and I started my higher education journey working on a B.Ed. I did 2 years of the program, had fun, made great friends, and learned a lot. At that point, I thought, I believe I’m ready to do law! So, I interrupted my B.Ed. and started to prepare for the law school entrance examinations. After 6 months of complete dedication, I was accepted into law school, completed my articling as a Crown prosecutor, and loved it—still love it. My husband is also a lawyer in Brazil. He is a Law Professor and is studying to become a licensed lawyer here too.
If you are thinking about doing a Law degree, I strongly encourage you to do it, as it provides you with unique tools. But if you want to be a lawyer, I’d suggest caution. I did my articling prosecuting dangerous criminals, and while it was a very interesting opportunity for me, it might not be for everyone…
A couple of years after law school, my husband and I got engaged and later married. We were thinking of our future. So that’s when we thought about immigrating to a different country. We were young and had successful careers – if immigration didn’t work, we could always return to our careers. We considered a few English-speaking countries we could immigrate to – England, Australia, New Zealand, the U.S. and Canada. I thought I could pursue my second passion, education, in one of these countries as an ESL teacher – when I was still in law school, I used to teach ESL as a part-time job. In the end, we decided to immigrate to Canada.
It took us 4 years to plan the entire process – during this time, I also further qualified as an ESL teacher. Both of us had never been to Canada before; we had never seen piles of snow like those we have in Canada. We were cautious and kept everything in order in Brazil in case we ever wanted to go back. So, if we didn’t like the new country or culture, we could go back and resume our lives in Brazil. But we were looking for an adventure, new opportunities to learn and to grow as a family.
Even though we had four years to prepare our families, in the end, it was still very difficult for them to see us leave. When we left, everybody was crying in the airport, but, at the same time, they knew we were young and that it was a new phase of our lives.
My husband and I have always been very open to learning. Education is a big, big part of our lives. We have studied in different countries, and both of us have never left university! I finished my Ph.D. and I’m currently working on my Post-Doc proposal. My husband is finishing his Post-Doc and an LLM. Learning for us is an integral part of our lives, it makes life interesting, and it is something we dearly share.
We love Canada in the same way we love Brazil. We have always been open to pursuing our goals, wherever they are.
(Interviewed by Jennifer Chambers; photo by Nolan Brinson)