Brazilian exchanges surfboard for snowboard
For Deivid Plantickow, whose home is Aracruz, Brazil, coming to the United States to work at Sierra-at-Tahoe is more than an opportunity for him to learn to snowboard. It’s a cultural experience.
“This is like a dream for me,” he said while riding the chair lift on his way to make some turns on snow left from a two-day-old storm.
But for Plantickow, 21, who grew up near the beach, this is not at all how he normally spends his summers – after all he is doing winter twice this year. A surfer for the last six years, it is likely he would normally be catching some waves, getting tan and hanging out with his family and longtime friends. Instead, he has given up hot summer days for a first look at snow, traded swim trunks for snow pants, his surfboard for a snowboard.
But this is also an opportunity for Plantickow to sharpen his English skills, a valuable asset for his future.
“I’m sure when I go back to Brazil I will get a good job in foreign trade,” he said.
His native tongue is Portuguese and he has studied English for the last four years. Of course, learning a language in the classroom is far different from learning it from people who use it as their primary means of communication. So now mixed within his academic language skills are a few phrases with definitions that won’t be found in Webster’s Dictionary.
Among them: “What’s Up?” a phrase it seems most foreigners find quite amusing; and “the bomb” as in, “Snowboarding is the bomb.”
“I’m in love with the sport,” he said.
Plantickow was introduced to the idea of living in America by his mother, who saw an ad in the newspaper.
“I thought I would never live abroad, so I saw an opportunity to learn English, meet people and work for an American company,” he said. “It’s good for my career.”
Plantickow, who is staying at the Chateau at Stateline until he can find a more permanent residence, is discovering that he is getting more out of Tahoe than a fast track in the English language.
“In Lake Tahoe everyone is snowboarding and having fun,” he said.
In the final month of his visa, he hopes to rent a car and drive down the California coast.
From Down Under CHAPTER HEAD
Tegan Ginns, from the sunshine coast of Queensland, Australia has returned to Sierra-at-Tahoe for her third year. A recent graduate from Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane – where she earned a bachelor of education to teach high school drama and dance – Ginns has moved beyond the entry level jobs of her past to become a member of the human resources team at Sierra-at-Tahoe.
Ginns is fascinated with the diversity in the U.S. She has driven through about 15 states and traveled as far east as New England.
Ginns classifies states with ease and simplicity.
“Californians are beachies and New Yorkers are stock brokers,” she said.
While some of her fellow foreign friends from South America are immersing themselves in a new language she, too, had some learning to do about the differences between Australian English and American English.
In Australia people leave their vehicles in the car park, not a parking lot; a sweater is a jumper and she doesn’t “call” people on the phone. She “rings” them.
“I love ‘what’s up?’, ” she said laughing. “I use it all the time much to the disgust of my friends and family back home.”
She is now in her third year without summer.
“I’m from a real beach community,” she said. “I’ve gone to the beach since I was born. It was a real change.”
She is close to her family and misses them very much, but time in America means time with her American boyfriend.
“It was never my intention to fall in love with someone in America and be away from my family for so long,” she said.
But even though she misses her family and friends back home, she is enamored of the differences between Queensland and the Sierra Nevada.
“I love the whole difference of it all,” she said. “All my family and friends are so fascinated.”
Ginns said she has only begun her travels of the world.
“I want to go everywhere,” she said.
“Now I’m good” CHAPTER HEAD
Alessandra Menga, 21, from Sao Paulo, Brazil is a food and beverage cashier at Sierra-at Tahoe. This is not the first time she has lived in the states, however. She has spent six months in San Francisco where she went to City College and studied English. She has also traveled to Hawaii and to Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., Disney World in Orlando, Fla., and New York City.
She studies marketing at Mackenzie University in Brazil.
“I miss my family, but I am OK here,” she said. “I didn’t think I would feel the way I do. I like it here for sure.”
Besides her family she also misses the food and the night life of Brazil and her horses. Her favorite is named Dolphin.
But she has found many people to remind her of home.
“I didn’t think there would be so many Brazilian people here,” she said.
She likes the people with whom who she works , especially her boss, Javier.
She has only skied three times, but is confident in her abilities.
“Now I am good,” she said.
“I thought that I wanted to stay with more American people to practice my English,” she said. “But there are so many Brazilian people here. It is impossible.”
Back home she is an avid soccer player. She has begun playing in an indoor league with some of her Mexican-American friends, with whom she and other Brazilians share a similar language.
She was a little nervous about making the trip at first, but was encouraged by her father.
“My father said ‘I think you need to go because it is good for you,'” she said.
Ski resorts have been reaching out to students in the Southern Hemisphere, who are on summer vacation during Tahoe’s winter, to help staff their resorts.
“A seasonal ski resort worker is more difficult to find than ever before,” said Brittany Clelan, director of human resources for Sierra-at-Tahoe. “They are not really here for the skiing. They are here more to learn the language.”
Clelan went to five countries in the Southern Hemisphere last summer to recruit winter employees.
“One of the biggest reasons the students join the program is it is a working holiday, and they get to experience some of the greatest ski resorts in North America,” said Tony Donald, director for Work Experience USA, which is one of the companies that helps bring students to America.
The company helps arrange travel, provides orientation and the J-1 visa, which allows for four months of work and one month of play.
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