Teaching English around the world

Episode Description

Stephen grew up in Birhingman, the largest city in the West Midlands of England. At the age of 22, Stephen left his home country to fulfill his thirst for travel. Considering that he didn’t have enough money to suffice that goal, he decided to take advantage of his English background. Although lacking a formal teaching experience, he pursued a CELTA course that earned him a certificate to teach English abroad.

After accomplishing his CELTA course, Stephen got his first job in Poland, where he taught in a state school to advanced English-level students. Stephen recalled how fond his memories were in Poland. Everyone was friendly, his job was stable, and the environment was welcoming. But as a then young and adventurous person, Stephen went through his next teaching venture, Taiwan. Teaching in Taiwan was another outstanding experience for Stephen because of the sufficient resources given to them.

Despite that, it was the Chinese language that made Stephen decide to move to the next country. When he got his third job in Brazil, things turned out magnificent. There, he met his future wife. Although they had to go through various obstacles before getting married, Stephen and his wife finally decided to settle in Brazil, Curitiba, to be particular.

As an English teacher for so many years, Stephen has not failed to push himself to learn beyond his basic skills. This perseverance of his has led him to put up his platform – English with Stephen successfully. Through his program, he helps people learn English words more creatively by associating them with stories. Now, Stephen has been working online teaching English to various students worldwide and hopes to explore more countries soon.

About Stephen

Stephen is originally from Birmingham in the UK. He has been an English teacher and teacher trainer for over 25 years. He has taught English in Poland, Taiwan, Russia, and the UK. For the last 15 years, Stephen has been living and working in Brazil, firstly in Rio and more recently in Curitiba in the south of the country. 

Stephen has a Diploma in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from Trinity College, London, and an MA in Linguistics from the Univesity of Birmingham. He is currently teaching private classes online to students all over the world. 

Stephen also hosts a podcast called English with Stephen that provides 10 minutes podcast episodes designed specifically for English language students. 

“I’ve learned about myself, I’ve learned about my home country, I’ve learned about my own culture by leaving my home country and my culture”

Get in touch with Stephen

Website - Facebook - Instagram - Twitter - YouTube 

Tips and key takeaways


Episode Transcript

Stephen 0:00

It all comes back to this idea that I just wanted to travel. I wanted to go to different places. And the more I did that, the more I liked it. And the more I liked it, the more I wanted to do it and see different places and do different things. I know people who've never left their hometown, never gone anywhere, and they're happy. So great, brilliant, good luck to you. But I wouldn't want to- I never wanted to do that. I always wanted to get out and do something different.

Daniel De Biasi 0:30

Hi, everyone, and welcome to episode number 54 of the Emigrants Life Podcast, where we share stories of people who left their country to chase a better life. And through these stories, you can find ideas, resources, and motivation to do the same. I'm Daniel De Biasi, and in this episode, we're going to cover another way you could use to move abroad, I interviewed many people who started a new life abroad as students. In most countries getting a student visa and staying the country is one of the easiest options, but it's also one of the most expensive one. My guest this week left his country England not as a student, but as a teacher, an English teacher to be precise. I met many other people that do the same thing. And as you will hear my conversation with Stephen, teaching English abroad is another great way to explore the world and start a new life abroad. In fact, teaching English abroad is a high demand job, especially if you are a native English speaker. Some companies only allow application from teachers with passport from English speaking countries. But if English is your second language, don't get discouraged because 80% of English teachers around the world are not native English speakers, because they're just not enough of them. In this episode, Stephen will share his story on how he became an English teacher and travel around the world and found his new home in Brazil. Stephen has been teaching English for over 20 years. And his podcast English with Stephen is designed to teach you the language not in the usual boring way but through very interesting stories to make it easier for you to remember things. And now without further ado, please enjoy my conversation with Stephen. I Steven, thanks for being on the show.

Stephen 2:09

Hi, thanks for having me.

Daniel De Biasi 2:11

It's a pleasure having you here. I think you got a great story and a great experience for the listeners. So I'm happy to have you here.

Stephen 2:17

I hope so. I hope they enjoy it.

Daniel De Biasi 2:19

Sweet. Okay, shall we maybe start from say, where are you originally from and where you are right now?

Stephen 2:26

Okay, so originally I grew up in Birmingham in the Midlands of the UK, currently or well for the last 10 years I've been living in Curitiba, a city in the south of Brazil. In between those two, I've lived in various places travelled around bits and- bits and pieces. Yeah. Brazil at the moment.

Daniel De Biasi 2:45

And what age did you decide to leave England then?

Stephen 2:50

I remember being a child and dreaming of traveling around but when I actually left the UK, I was about 22 just after university. 22, yes, I think was 22 when I left for the first time.

Daniel De Biasi 3:04

What was the reason? Why did you decide to leave England?

Stephen 3:07

I wanted to travel. I always had this idea I wanted to get out of Britain and see different places, experience different things. And it was always something that was a high up on my list of things I wanted to do, always one of my dreams for my life.

Daniel De Biasi 3:22

Okay, so you're idea was just, I'm in England, I just want to travel around and and then after like traveling, I'm just gonna go back and carry on with my life in England?

Stephen 3:31

I assume so, you know? I didn't really have any hard and fast plans. I assumed I'd spend a couple of years going around doing things and then drift back to Britain, I didn't really have much of a plan, a medium or a long term plan to be honest. But yeah, that was probably the assumption that I would end up back in Britain doing something.

Daniel De Biasi 3:53

And how did you manage to leave England? What was the process? How did you get out of England? And where did you go?

Stephen 3:59

Well, wanting to travel the world is one thing being able to pay for it is a different matter entirely.

Daniel De Biasi 4:05

Oh, yeah.

Stephen 4:05

I didn't have the money to travel around. So I remember I was at a party. While I was still at university. I was at a party. And I met two people who have just come back from Prague in the Czech Republic. And they'd been teaching English there. And I got talking to them at this party and they were saying, Oh, it's a piece of cake. It's dead easy. All you have to do is a four week course called CELTA. And with this certificate that you get from this course, you can go and teach English almost anywhere in the world. And I was like, Okay, that sounds like a good plan. So I did my CELTA, it's a it's a course from well, there's a Cambridge university course and a Trinity College course. Trinity College is in London as well. And I did the Trinity College course. They're equivalents, but Trinity College was a little bit cheaper than the Cambridge course. And I got a job. I got a job in Poland. That was my first job and so, away I went and the reason I chose pilot was they were the first people to offer me a job. So I went every minute of it and here I am 25 years later, still teaching English

Daniel De Biasi 5:10

So at that point you have no experience teaching either English or any other thing, so you never teached in your life before and you took this course it's called CELTA. And for the listener listening here it's spelled CELTA?

Stephen 5:25

CELTA, it's spelled C E. It's a Cambridge- certificates in English language teaching to adults.

Daniel De Biasi 5:34


Stephen 5:35

Yeah, I had never taught anything. My degree for at university was in politics and economics. So I had that has nothing to do with language. I'd studied English at school until I was 18. I loved reading, I loved it. I still love literature. But I had no formal training or education in either language, or how to teach. It was just this four week course, which you don't really you learn a lot, because it's an intensive course. But you don't learn everything about teaching, you basically learn how to survive.

Daniel De Biasi 6:11

Yeah, I mean, it's like anything like when you learn how to drive. It's not that once you got the license, you're a pilot, just like you're not like a racing driver.

Stephen 6:19

Absolutely. You only start learning how to drive after you've passed your test.

Daniel De Biasi 6:23

Exactly. So how was your experience you when you landed into Poland? People were speaking different language, probably different culture. And you got into like a brand new career. What was your experience like teaching in Poland?

Stephen 6:35

I still remember my very first class. And I was 22. And my students, it was a state school. And all my students were 18 or 19 years old, I was only a little bit older than them really. I remember going to my first class, and they were all standing in a line outside the classroom, waiting for me to turn up. And I had no idea what I was doing. I stayed at the night before all night trying to figure out a lesson plan what to teach. I was wracked with nerves. And I looking back, I wasn't- I tried to be a friend to them. I wasn't a traditional teacher. They liked me. But I think they liked me because I wasn't this teacher who told them to sit down and do what they- I was chatting to them in English, I was hired to teach the students who had a higher level of English, so the more advanced students, which basically meant we add conversations, we chatted. I don't know how much I actually taught them. But I gave them an opportunity to use English. But looking back, I wasn't a great teacher in that that first year. It was a matter of surviving in the classroom and just to keep going and not kill anybody basically.

Daniel De Biasi 7:49

I'm kinda curious though, like, how did they see you like, you are this English speaker from England coming to Poland to teach English. Were you like seen like differently just because you were English? They were like seen you like as this interesting character, an interesting person or like, even professional like in a in a different way, just because you come from an English speaking country?

Stephen 8:09

So there's two different things. There's the I was living in a very small town. Well, for me, it was a small town, it was 10,000 people, the city I come from is a million people. So going to a small town like that was was different. But there's two English teachers in the town. From England, I mean. Two British English teachers. And everybody knew it. We were like mini celebrities in the town, because it's a small place it's out in the countryside that didn't get many foreigners going there. And so to have two British people living in the town was was something unusual. So the people in the town, they knew me, I went into a bar, everybody knew me. So on that level, I was separate. And also, it was it was unusual for me that in that way, that everybody knew me, because I, coming from a big city, nobody knows you. You are totally anonymous. But in terms of inside the school, the other English teachers, they were so good to me. They were the ones who got me through that first year. So I'm talking here about English teachers who were Polish, who knew far more about teaching than I did, who also had the history they've been- some of them been teaching for 20, 30 years. I know because I got to know them very well that when I went- jealous is the wrong word, but slightly resentful that these two British people were going there. And if not more money, at least the same money as them. We didn't know what we were doing. They're having to hold our hands. They were so helpful. And by the end of the year, we were friends. So that had gone but it wasn't right that we should be getting the treatment that we got compared to what they were getting. Personally I know I didn't teach as much as they were teaching. And they had degrees in teaching. They had studied English, they could speak Polish while they could speak German as well. They knew a lot more about language and language teaching than I did but we were these celebrity English experts. We're a part- it was marketing as well you know, the school could say, Oh, we've got these English speakers so part of it was that as well but and that's that is something that's happened other the times in my career as well.

Daniel De Biasi 10:16

I can totally understand that even I, coming from a small town I can definitely see a person like you coming from another country speaking English that will be like, Oh my God, this this person is so cool. So what was your like the experience like you went to travel so you left the UK to travel around the world, was this first experience fulfilling that like wanting to travel?

Stephen 10:38

I absolutely loved it. I have not I don't have one bad word to say about Poland. I absolutely loved the place. Because I was working at a state school I got a I was entitled to half price travel on trains. And I made the most of it. I traveled all over Poland. I visited big cities, small cities. I had a wonderful time. The people were amazing. I never had a bad encounter with what no more than you get with anybody from anywhere else. But most of the time people were welcoming. They were open, extremely friendly, always trying to get me to eat something else. Food was very important. No, I had a wonderful time in Poland. And that just spurred me on and motivated me to look for another job teaching. The only problem I have with Poland, well, I had this problem was it's so cold. It was just ridiculously cold. We have I think it was a bad winter. But we had snow for at the beginning of November through to April and that just got on my nerves after a while. I know you live in Canada. You have to get used to it, but that was just too much for me. It was just so cold.

Daniel De Biasi 11:48

So after one year teaching in Poland, what was your next step from there?

Stephen 11:52

Well, I wanted something different. Once you've been teaching for a year with your CELTA, you are a lot more in demand. Because you like just like with driving after a year of driving, yeah, you can drive. After a year of teaching, I could do more than survive in the classroom. So I wanted to go further off field. At university, I had traveled around Spain, I've gone to other European countries. I've been to Mexicos. I've been to the Americas. So I was like, right, I want to go to Asia. And I went to an agency in London that that matches teachers to companies and schools around the world. And they offered me three places. One was in South Korea, one was in Thailand, and one was in Taiwan. I was very interested in Thailand. You know, it's an exotic country. It's famous for tourism beaches, I was minded to take that job. But they told me, look, you can take it, you can have it your job, no problem. However, would you think about going to Taiwan? If you go to Taiwan, we will pay you a lot more money, we will give you the plane ticket to get out there that I get what I understood was that everybody wanted to go to Thailand. And it was more difficult for them to get people to go to Taiwan. So they had to offer this better package. And the package was very, very good. So yeah, I went to Taiwan. And I was working in the capital Taipei for a year. And that was another amazing experience.

Daniel De Biasi 13:17

It must be. Even then, like a culture shock, like their culture is so different. And all of that must be like, even like at a young age at that point, you're probably what 23, 24?

Stephen 13:26

23, 24. Yeah.

Daniel De Biasi 13:27

So still pretty young, coming from British culture and Europe, like going to the Asia to China will be like a mind blowing.

Stephen 13:36

Totally, I was very lucky that the school was very helpful. The school was a big school that a lot of branches around Taiwan. And they had, their marketing was that they only had native speaker English teachers. So people from the States, from Britain from Australia, things like these. So there's a good community there of other teachers. But that is the one time, the first time and the biggest time that I've had this culture shock, where everything has been different, even in Poland, okay, I couldn't understand the language when I got there. But I could read signs and I could guess what some of the words were there. So there are words which are similar between Polish and English from maybe they come from Latin roots, or there's a French word or as an English word, which has been borrowed in Polish. So, you know, you could guess some of the things that people were saying or read things but, Taiwan, couldn't read a thing, didn't understand a thing. The language is totally different. There are no similarities between the two languages. The food is different, the smells are different, the way they work, everything is different. So yeah, it was a shock, not a bad shock. I thoroughly again, I had a great time in Taiwan, but it was the one time when I've been completely out of my comfort zone.

Daniel De Biasi 14:52

Do you find any differences in like teaching in other countries like in Poland at the time and teaching in China, teaching in Taiwan or it was pretty similar?

Stephen 15:02

Poland, we had a lot of freedom to do what we wanted, we didn't have many resources, which was a problem for a new teacher, because I didn't have anything to use, I had to try to create things myself. In Taiwan, we were a lot more restricted, we had to follow a book, where we had a lot of resources. We even had teaching assistants inside the classroom, especially for lower levels and for children, so that they could translate if there was something that needed to be translated. We had a lot more resources in Taiwan. In Poland, it was a state school, and the school was I don't know, it must have been the building itself, the physical building must have been 100 years old. In Taiwan, we were just in an office block, we had one whole floor of an office block. And so it was it was new, it was modern, it was designed. The interior was designed for schools. So the small classrooms, we had a well stocked teacher's room with, we could photocopy things, it was very difficult to photocopy things in the state school in Poland. So they are almost chalk and sheets. And then in Taiwan, we also the fact that we just were different, the culture is different. Until I opened my mouth in Poland, nobody knew I was a foreigner. Whereas in Taiwan, everybody knew I was a foreigner, just by looking at me, obviously. And that translated to the students, a lot of the students had never seen or interacted with a non Taiwanese person before. And so that had an impact as well.

Daniel De Biasi 16:30

So you still feel like a little celebrity even Taiwan?

Stephen 16:33

I don't know about celebrity. But my visa, I said in my visa, I was an English expert, which I definitely wasn't. Still not by that point, I think by the end of my year in Taiwan, I was a much better teacher, because of all the support we had. And there were other experienced teachers, I was much better at the end of the second year. But in Taiwan, if I had a student in my class that talked to me, it was not a problem. Outside the class, they just wouldn't talk to me. They turn around and run away. Because there's this, it's a cultural thing about saving face, about not making mistakes, about being- if they're talking to me in front of their friends, they got to stand out more. And that's something that they don't want to do. They want to be normal like other people. That's not everybody of course, there are exceptions, and I made some good Taiwanese friends. But as a rule, that's what happened. That's what happened to me there in Taiwan. I was a celebrity but for different reasons. Just because I was so different. I mean, Taipei is a huge city. So it's very different to where I was in Poland's. It's a very big modern city, it's cosmo- it's relatively cosmopolitan, especially where I was, which was near the university. But, you know, you do stand out. It's the first time in my life. In Britain, we have multicultural cities, my city is very multicultural. But being a white person in Britain, that's the norm that there are more white people than anything else. In Taiwan. I was the minority. And it was strange having people looking at me, like if I got onto a bus, because a lot of the Europeans and the Americans that had to do business, so they get taxis from one place to another. I wasn't doing that. I was getting buses, I was doing what normal local Taiwanese people were doing. And that was different as well, you know that. They might see an American but he's getting in a taxi, or he's going to a bar or a restaurant, I was on the bus sitting next to them. That was interesting, to say the least.

Daniel De Biasi 18:27

Yeah, that must have been. So after one year in Taiwan, actually were you- could you decide to stay longer, or the contract was for a year, and then you have to pick somewhere else?

Stephen 18:36

No, the contract is for a year. And they wanted me to stay. But I didn't want to stay longer. First of all, I wanted to go somewhere else. And I felt that after a year in Taiwan, the language was really difficult for me. After a year, I had enough Chinese fail to survive, go to restaurants and things like this. But after about six or seven months, I was like, right, if I'm gonna stay here longer than a year, I need to really study the language. And they say that you need to live there and study for three years before you can read a newspaper. And I was like, I don't want to be here for three years just to be able to read a newspaper. So, I was like okay. At the end of my contract, my years contract, I'm going to leave. And then I had the knock on effect. So that means I don't really need much more language. So I didn't- I stopped studying and I didn't learn a lot of Chinese as much as I possibly could have. So yeah, after a year I they wanted me to stay. It's difficult finding new teachers. So they were trying to encourage me to stay but I said no, I'm off. I went back to Britain for the summer, and figured out what to do next.

Daniel De Biasi 19:42

And after two years living abroad, was still your idea to keep traveling or your idea or your like goal in life has changed at that point?

Stephen 19:51

No, no. By by the end of my second year. I was like, right, I'm going to teach this is me/ For the foreseeable future, for the medium term. I'm going to teach I'm going to go somewhere At that point, I was thinking about getting a DELTA. So we talked about CELTA, which is the certificate. So that's the entry level examination, or course to become a teacher, the DELTA is the next level. And it really is the next level. You need to have at least three years experience. And it was amuch longer course and it's a lot more in depth and detailed. And at the end of my second year, I was thinking about this right, I'm going to do another year teaching, and then I'm going to do my DELTA. So I was making plans for teaching to become my job, my real job, not just something I was going to do for a couple of years to pay the bills while I traveled.

Daniel De Biasi 20:40

So now your goal becomes like, Okay, I'm not going to stay in England, because teaching English is probably for you teach English to foreign people not teach English to English speaker, right?

Stephen 20:50

Absolutely. I was teaching English to speakers of other languages, not teaching English to in schools and state schools, traditional schools, not teaching English literature or anything like that. No, I wanted to teach English to speakers of other languages. That didn't mean I couldn't do it in Britain. There are lots of schools in Britain where their students come from around the world. And they go to London or Oxford, or some other place to learn English there and I did that later on. But that still wasn't what I wanted to do. I still want it to travel as well.

Daniel De Biasi 21:19

So what was your third of the year? Where did you do the your third year?

Stephen 21:22

My third year was in here, in Curitiba in Brazil. Again, I went to an agency and I said, This time, I want to go to South America. And that was more problematic. Being a British person, because in South America, they're more focused on American English rather than British English. And so there are, American teachers are more in demand. But they found this agency found through again, three jobs to me, one was in Mexico. And I didn't want to go to Mexico because I've only traveled around Mexico. And it's not South America. So, I'm not doing Mexico. The other one was in Argentina, a city called Rosario. And then this one was in Curitiba here in the south of Brazil. And they offer me the these three places, literally about a week after Argentina had beaten England in the World Cup. And I was like, right, I don't want to go to Mexico, because I've been to Mexico, I do not want to go to Argentina, because they just beat us in the football. So I'll go to Brazil. So, you know.

Daniel De Biasi 22:25

That's a great way to pick a country.

Stephen 22:30

So yeah, so I came to Brazil. And I was here for a year, I was really fortunate. The school I was working at was brilliant. The owner of the school a little bit crazy in some ways, but she was so supportive to all her teachers. She challenged everybody to be the best teacher they could be. And I think in my first year of teaching, I learned how to more do more than survive in my first year. In my second year, I learned, okay, I love teaching, and I can do this, then in my third year, it was like I really I know what I'm talking about now. At the end of the third year of teaching, I was confident I could teach anybody in any circumstances, with minimal time to prepare. After three years of teaching, I felt like a teacher.

Daniel De Biasi 23:16

So I guess the third year in Brazil, then you went back to the UK to get the DELTA, or did you stay in Brazil?

Stephen 23:22

So I went back to the UK to do my DELTA, I got a job at a school in London, where they- it was an English school. They taught students but they also did teacher training. So they had, they provided the DELTA in their school. So I stayed there. And that meant I could do it part time, I think it was two evenings a week in the same school. And that took, if I remember rightly, coming for six months or nine months doing that to get my DELTA. And that was I realized, during my DELTA that I was totally wrong, that I didn't know how to teach at the end of three years. I was okay. But there's so much that I didn't know. And it was the DELTA really that cemented all the ideas that I had changed a lot of ideas. And I was a different teacher by the end of the experience, not just the DELTA but being with other because it's a school that does teacher training, it means that there are lots of experienced teachers there to do the training. So I learned a lot in the DELTA. I learned a lot from being with these experienced teachers who had traveled all over the world who had 10, 15, 20 years experience of teaching English, who are interested in different methodologies and different aspects of teaching that the DELTA and that teaching in Britain for a year was the making of me as a teacher, I think. When I was in Brazil before, to go back to a question you asked before was I treated differently? Yes, I was treated very differently. People were it was a question about language amongst the teachers. Do we say this? Do we say that? Stephen, what do we do? At the beginning of the year, I didn't know I was making it up. I was like, Oh, well, maybe we do this. At the end of the year. I was more comfortable with it after a year of being asked. But I was asked about, I was asked to give teacher training courses or methodologies. I didn't know about teacher training courses. But because I was English, it was assumed I knew about how to do teacher training courses as well. I learned how to do it, but I didn't know how to do it at the beginning.

Daniel De Biasi 25:17

So the way to do differently, they treat you more like as a professional, like they saw you like this professional figure that they were like you should know everything about teaching and teaching English.

Stephen 25:27

Absolutely. Yes, absolutely. Not everybody. Some people knew. They knew. He didn't know what he was talking about. Yeah, I mean, I learned that again, I learned a hell of a lot. But I learned as much from the Brazilian teachers about how to work in a classroom, I learned so much from them than they learned from me totally.

Daniel De Biasi 25:44

Seems like, even at this point, you're still pretty young 25. And still, like, I'm surprised and impressed by your way to navigate in the circumstances like, okay, I don't know much about it, and try to pretend I know what to do. And just honestly, I'm pretty impressedn like the way you navigate into the the first three years of your teaching experience,

Stephen 26:06

I suppose, it's being young and naive, you don't know what you don't know. And you just say, Yeah, okay, I can do it. And there's also, you know, the fact that other people treat you well, because you're this British teacher, that you can get away with a lot of stuff that perhaps you wouldn't be allowed to get away with. And that's not fair. It's totally not fair, that I was given these privileged position. I didn't deserve those positions at all. But I was given them and I didn't realize at the time how privileged I was, I didn't realize that perhaps this was not normal. But again, that's being young and naive, and just, you know, you can do anything when you don't think about it. Nowadays. Oh, my God, I'm not sure I would do that again. But, uh, at the time, I just did it.

Daniel De Biasi 26:46


Stephen 26:47

I don't know, really, I think it all comes back to this idea that I just wanted to travel, I wanted to go to different places. And the more I did that, the more I liked it. And the more I liked it, the more I wanted to do it and see different places and do different things. I know people who've never left their hometown, never gone anywhere live, and they're happy. So great, brilliant. Good luck to you. But I wouldn't want to. I'd never wanted to do that. I always wanted to get out and do something different.

Daniel De Biasi 27:11

Yeah, no, no, I totally get it. So, you're still back in England, you got your DELTA. And I guess then you decide to move back to Brazil?

Stephen 27:20

Yes. So, I came back to Brazil for a year back to the same place back the same school, partly because of the school. But partly because I met a girl the first time I was in Brazil. And so I went back to to see what would happen there. And now we're married, and we have a son. So it was it was obviously the right decision to make. And I stayed there for another year. And this time, I was given a lot more formal responsibility. And I wanted that responsibility. I wanted to use what I'd learned on the DELTA, put it into practice. And it was a great year for me personally. At the end of that my wife, well, not my wife, she was still my girlfriend. She got an opportunity to do a master's in law in Essex University in England. So she went to England to do that. I went back to England, as well. I wasn't with her. She was in Essex, I was in London. That's about an hour's drive away. But we met up over the weekends and things like this. And so yeah, I was back in London, teaching again, loving it, loving life, loving classes, having a great time. After my wife finished her master's, she got an opportunity to to work in Washington for a year. Because we weren't married, I wasn't able to join her. So I stopped teaching. And I went and did a master's in Linguistics. I took a year out, I went back home to my mom and dad's house. And I studied linguistics for a year, which again, was brilliant. I learned so much through studying for a Master's.

Daniel De Biasi 28:50

So at this point, your girlfriend was in Washington in the US. You were in England. Yes. You were separated for a year.

Stephen 28:55


Daniel De Biasi 28:56

Okay. And then after that you guys moved together back to Brazil? Or did you manage to-

Stephen 29:00

So we decided that we wanted to make go of it, and we had to decide are we going to live in Britain or live in Brazil? For my wife, it would have been very hard for her to live in Britain, because she had a law degree. She passed the bar exam in Brazil, but she wouldn't be able to practice law in Britain. So we decided that it was much easier to go and live in Brazil. So we got married, because moving to Brazil is complex and complicated procedure. But it's much easier if you're married to a Brazilian. That's not why we got married, but we were ready to get married anyway. So we got married, moved to Curitiba then my wife got a job in Rio. So we moved to Rio for five years, and I was teaching all the time, teaching at schools. Towards the end of my time in Rio, I left the school and I became a private teacher just working for myself. And then 10 years ago, we moved to Curitiba when my son was born. We decided right Rio is a great city. But really expensive, and my wife was working full time I was working full time, we neither of us had family in Rio. So we moved back to Curitiba for family support for bringing up our son.

Daniel De Biasi 30:11

So I want to go back in what you said like moving to Brazil is not easy. I want to ask you, because it seems like if you're English teacher, it will be easy to get a work permit or a permit to work in a country like in this case, Brazil. So why did you think why would you why did you say that Brazil- it's hard to stay on the move to Brazil?

Stephen 30:29

Well, a work permit is not easy. It's not easy to get for in an English teacher. If you want to move to Brazil, there's a few, there's a number of different ways you can do it. One of them is through work. But if you want to work in Brazil, you have to have a sponsor. So a company, you have to have a job before you come to Brazil. The employer needs to show that there are, there's nobody else in Brazil with those skills. That there's a need for those skills, that they're paying a salary, which is equal to what you are getting, which is very expensive, because you know, European salary in Brazil is a lot. So it's extremely expensive, very bureaucratic.

Daniel De Biasi 31:05

So they have to match your salary in the UK?

Stephen 31:08

It doesn't have to be matched. But it has to be similar.

Daniel De Biasi 31:12


Stephen 31:12

The first year I was here, I know they forged the way it was the forms and things like this. The second year, I don't remember the details, but I'm not sure there was ever they entered the paperwork. And then it was sent back. And then they entered more paperwork, it was sent back. I don't think it was ever actually finalized whether I was entitled to a visa or not. Because they kept delaying and appealing and getting a decision and appealing that decision. I was in Brazil, while all that was ongoing. So I'm not sure what, I don't remember the details about how that ended up. But I knew it was time to go back to Britain at the end of the year's contracts. Because I remember, it still hadn't been sorted at the end of the year.

Daniel De Biasi 31:53

Okay, so it was it was challenging, because it seemed like it for me I feel like, okay, there's a job opportunity, you can come there. And it seems like if you're an English speaker, you can pretty much go anywhere. But that wasn't the case because you challenged to go back in the same school the second time.

Stephen 32:05

Exactly. Now in other countries, it's different. For example, to go to Taiwan, all you need to do is again, you need to have a position, but that's easy to organize in Taiwan, then you have to have a teaching qualification, for example, CELTA and you needed to have a degree, a university degree in anything, it could be a university degree in painting, English and engineering, anything at all. That was the basic criteria, you needed a position, you needed a teaching qualification, and you needed a degree, I had all those. So it was no problem getting a visa and the system in Taiwan is very streamlined. So it's very easy to do. I know that's the case in many countries. Thailand is the same, it's similar. South Korea was the same I don't know if it still is, I don't know how it works in South Korea nowadays. But in South America, they tend to be a lot more restricted of who can come and who can work. So that's one way of doing it. Another way of doing it is coming as a student. So you come to Brazil to study, you can work, I think it's 30 hours a week, you're allowed to work if you're here as a student, and being a student can be very simple. Just studying Portuguese can qualify you to be here as a student, but it's limited, I think it's six months, and then you can apply for an extra six months. So it's like, basically a maximum of a year. There are other avenues there. So if you're doing a Master's or something, there are ways to extend that. But that's very specific to the university has to get involved, then if you're doing something formal like that. Another way there are ways of coming on religious visas and things like this. I don't know much about that. So actually, it's really quite tricky to get into Brazil and teach legally, it's not easy to do.

Daniel De Biasi 34:01


Stephen 34:02

Which I understand you know that there are lots of very good resilient English teachers, so they don't need loads of British or Americans or Australians coming because that would damage the market for them.

Daniel De Biasi 34:13

I totally understand it, I get that, but at the same time, I don't know. Maybe just my point of view, it seems like if you are an English speaker, even the pronunciation might be if you learn at least if I'm completely wrong here, you can- feel free to correct me but if you're learning from an English speaker, maybe the pronunciation is better because I remember like or even like, I can hear my friends in Italy. They learn English from Italian speaker, their pronunciation is different. It's got like this fake Italian accent, while if you've learned abroad or if you learn from an English speaker, the pronunciation and the way you speak is more like closer to an English speaker. So maybe that's could be a reason to hire somebody like you from abroad than having a Brazilian English speaker.

Stephen 34:57

Yeah, I mean, I understand what you're saying but I would say that your accent doesn't really matter. So long as people understand you, that's fine. You know, if you have an Italian accent, great. Italian accents are wonderful. I love an Italian accent if I can understand you. So sometimes the accent is so strong that it interferes with communication, that's a problem. There are regular surveys, not regular. But there are surveys in Britain about what's the sexiest accent, time and time again, women always say the male French accent is the sexiest accent around. So if I was a French person, would I want to lose my French accent? Probably not. There are Brazilians who have a very strong accent, and it's difficult to understand them. But that's not because their teacher was Brazilian or their teachers are Brazilian, that there's a different thing going on there. I love Brazilian accents, when it's spoken to a minimum level that it can be understood. And if you can't be understood, it's probably not your accent. It's probably your vocabulary or your grammar or something that's interfering.

Daniel De Biasi 36:00

I totally get that and probably that's a perspective from somebody living abroad even for myself living abroad if you feel like different accent, and then there's something interesting. But if I have to put myself back in Italy, if somebody is looking for I don't know, applying for a job, and this Italian is for somebody from Italy speaks English with a different accent and is not Italian, I think, atleast my perspective could be that you got more chance to get a job just because you sound more professional because he doesn't have this Italian accent but he's got like a more British accent or American accent, it seems like more professional in the in the industry.

Stephen 36:34

Yeah, yeah, I get that. I totally get that. I understand that. And yeah, if you know, if you've got two people, totally two people are the same. And the difference is that one person that sounds better, yeah, that person will get the job, I get that. There is a thing in teaching called native speakers, that native speakers, these are loaded term in the industry, there's a big debate about whether we should use not native speaker, but I'm going to use it for us here. An idea that native speakers are automatically better than non native speakers, the way they're treated, the way that the opportunities they get. And I can honestly say hand on heart, some of the best teachers I've ever seen, have been born in Brazil, or born in Poland. And I've learned so much for them. I have worked with English teachers whose English is excellent, absolutely perfect. I've worked with English teachers whose English is not 100%. But it's 95%. And they can more than make up for that with their knowledge of this is how I learned English. Look, I've done this. And they can show that to their students, they can predict the problems that their students are going to have. Because they know the features of Portuguese, they know that Brazilian students have a problem with this particular sentence. So we need to work on this sound. The book tells me we're going to do this sound, but Brazilian students can do it. So we'll ignore that. When I came to Brazil on my first year I didn't speak Portuguese, I didn't know what problems my students would have. I remember once I was teaching the present continuous tense, which is I am sitting or he is jumping. And I spent weeks teaching the present continuous to my elementary level students. And after about three weeks of this, one student said, Oh, yeah, it's the same as Portuguese. And it basically is. There are a couple of differences. But basically, it's the same as Portuguese. Now, if I had known that I could have saved myself and my students three weeks of hard work by saying, you see this I am sitting, same as Portuguese, let's do it. So I wasted a lot of time there where they could have been learning something else. Nowadays, after 25 years of teaching, I know how to teach. I hope I know how to teach. But at the beginning of my career, I would have chosen if I was a parent to a child who wants to go to an English school, I would not care so much if the color of my teachers passport. I'd want to see, do they have teaching qualifications? I'd want to know what experience they have. I wouldn't be too worried about whether they come from Brazil or the United States. Now I know that's not the case for most parents, most customers. There's also a certain kudos to having oh, my son's got a British teacher, my son's been taught by an American, there is a certain amount of kudos there as well. But in terms of actually getting the job done, non native speaking teachers can be just or often are, more effective than native speaking teachers.

Daniel De Biasi 39:32

I totally understand that. And actually, when I was doing some research for this episode, even I came across like a different sites where like, they were giving like offering job for teaching English abroad, and most of them were one they require most you have to come from an English speaking country, either, England, America, Australia, New Zealand, whatever but it has to be an English speaking country.

Stephen 39:55

I know some people from Brazil who've managed to get jobs in Europe. But that's often because they have a European passport. So maybe their grandmother was Italian or something like this. So that gives them the right to go and live in Europe and there once they're there, they can get jobs. The people I know who've done that have all had positive experiences. But it's not easy. Visa processes usually require you to come from an English speaking country.

Daniel De Biasi 40:24

So for the listeners that wants to get on the same path, like a little studying and learn and teach English abroad, what's the first step Do you think they should take in order to get there?

Stephen 40:35

First step is to get an entry level exam, either CELTA or Trinity College. If you go online, do a Google search for CELTA exam that's C E L T A, you'll find lots of information about it. That's the very first thing you need to do. Originally, CELTA was designed for sort of British American teachers to go off and do a four week course before they go off and travel the world. Nowadays, CELTA is also being used to teach Brazilian teachers how to teach or French teachers how to teach because it does get you up to a good standard of teaching, especially if you do it part time. Be careful, there are other courses out there that claim to be good, but they're often not recognized internationally by visa bureaucrats or by school. So be careful on the course that you choose. The two big ones are Trinity College and the Cambridge University Exam. There is a mixture of doing online, you now you can choose to do it online or you can choose to do it in person. They do need to observe your teaching so there does need to be something where you they watch you teaching students and then they can give you feedback on it. So that's the first step. And if you have if you're Brazilian or Italian or something and you have a CELTA in theory, you can go anywhere in the world It just depends on your passport status to be able to get a visa.

Daniel De Biasi 42:01

And to get the CELTA you need some requirements? Is there any requirements maybe like a bachelors degree or something like that, in order to get a CELTA or not really?

Stephen 42:08

You need to be 18. So you've got to be an adult's, you don't have to have a degree. So basically, to do the CELTA, you have to go, before you do the course you go for an interview at the CELTA where you're following the course. And they need to determine if they think you have the ability to pass the exam. Because if they take your money from you, they have to think you've got the chance of passing, they can't just take your money, and then, oh, he's never going to pass but we'll take his money anyway. So in that interview, the person interviewing you is looking for things like, do you have the time to do this? Do you have- have you got the experience to be able to do that? Now, if you have a university degree that shows you know how to study, if you don't have a university degree, you need to show in some other way that you know how to study, that you can follow a course. So university degrees are not necessary. It often is the case that most people who do this course have a university degree but it's not a prerequisite, no. Basically, you need to be 18, you need to pay- have the money to pay for the course, you need to pass the interview process and then you can do it.

Daniel De Biasi 43:17

Okay, it seems I don't know, for me, like I interview other people that I spoke with other people that like teach English abroad, that seems like a very easy path to make your first step into a country because you already get to a country with a job. And most of the time it gives you accommodation or they help you with accommodation, you got a place to go. Seems pretty easy. So I think that's a great way to make it the first step into the country. And also right now with COVID and everything a lot of people start teaching online.

Stephen 43:45


Daniel De Biasi 43:46

And I've interviewed other people guest on the show before she's making an extra money on the side just to like teach English online. Do you have any advice? Or do you have any resources for people that wants to maybe start doing that on teaching English online?

Stephen 44:01

Okay, so I teach online now, even before COVID I was trying to make the transition to teaching online. With COVID I was forced to accelerate that obviously, I teach online and I will not be going back to teaching in person. It's so much easier for me, I have more students, I have more time to myself. Scheduling everything is just much easier. Most of my classes are teaching one to one. So it's just with one person. I have a couple of groups. Groups are more challenging online. The interaction is difficult to replicate. The interaction that you get in the classroom is much more difficult. If you're interested in teaching online, there are different ways of going about it. There are courses you can do that will help you develop some skills because it's not just the teaching skills. You need to know the resources that are available to you. You need to know how to use zoom or whatever platform you use, and over the last year that has proliferated. There's a lot of stuff now to help you teach online. A very good resource to use is the British Council. British Council represents British culture, education, business abroad. And first of all, they have a lot of stuff for students, who are learning English. But they also have a lot of stuff for teachers helping them to be better teachers, lots of resources, and it's totally free. And the British Council last year, they very quickly put together a lot of stuff to show people how to teach online to make the best job possible. If you want to teach online, there's different ways you can go about it finding your students. There are platforms, one that I've used is called Superprof. I know they have it here in Brazil, and I know they have it in Britain. I assume they have it in other places where you can register for free. And they match, it's sort of like the Uber for teachers. And it's not just for English teachers, it's for any type of teacher where they can match a teacher to students. There is a paid version where they will promote you so that you have- you're getting more hits with your students. And there are other platforms like that. Then there are other organizations which they find that the students for you, for example, they will say, right, we want you from midday to 4pm. And they're going to find you a student in China, or they're going to find your student in France, and you will teach these students. The pay there is usually a lot less than you get teaching for yourself. But you don't have the hassle of finding students, billing students, organizing students, you just turn up and teach, right?

Daniel De Biasi 46:37

And also a way to create your network, and then you got your students and then you can move-

Stephen 46:42

Yeah, yeah, that's a good way to get into it, you get a feel for it, they'll probably give you some sort of training course, depending on the company that you're with. Sometimes it's very restricted. So they like you do A, B, C, you don't even have to plan you go through their plan, and you have to follow every step. Other ones that are more, they're freer, that you can do more or less what you want. And then there's everything in between. A lot of the customers are sometimes children so people can specialize in children, teenagers, or adults, I do, mainly adults and a few teenagers. The way I've gone about it mainly those is I use this super Prof. I didn't get many out of that. But I've got a few. But most of my the best way I found of attracting students is having an online presence. So I have my podcasts, which is directed to students. I'm on Facebook, I have a Facebook group. I'm on Instagram, I've just recently joined a discord group. And all of this is helping students and through that I've got a lot of students by just having an online presence, a very strong online presence.

Daniel De Biasi 47:44

Yeah, that totally makes sense. And for teaching online, do you have the same requirements as teaching, like in a school or it's more like a loose because it just whoever wants to teach, they can teach kind of thing?

Stephen 47:55

Well, yeah, whoever wants to teach can teach. Because I have this experience. And I have certificates. It's part of my online presence thing. Look, I've got a Master's, I've got a diploma, I can probably charge more money than other people who don't have that experience as well. If you're a student looking for a teacher online, be careful. Do your investigations. Don't just accept any the first teacher that comes a lot. Check the site, I've got all my qualifications digitalized, I can send them to my students or prospective students. So they can see that I really do have these certificates and this experience. But yeah, in theory, you know, anybody can set themselves up as an English teacher, there's no one checking. A lot of the sites like superprof, anybody can do it. But if you've got certificates, you can scan your certificate, send them to superprof. And then they will give you- they say it's authenticated that you really can you really do have what you say you have. If you go to an online platform, where they organize the students for you, most of them will want to see some evidence that you have experience.

Daniel De Biasi 49:04

Okay, that was sort of like a way to stand out from the crowd from other teachers.

Stephen 49:08

Exactly. Yes.

Daniel De Biasi 49:09

I like to ask your question that I wasn't planning to ask you today, but kind of like an hour ago like down this path. If you were 22 today, with experience, with the technology that we have today, would you go down the same path for teaching in the class and teaching like the path you went through? Or you just like be kind of like a digital normal, traveling around the world and teaching online?

Stephen 49:33

I think I would not like to go straight online. I think there's things that I learned in the classroom, teaching groups and teaching. I've taught children as young as three. I've taught 93 year old great grandmothers. I like teaching online it suits my lifestyle at the moment. But I learned so much by being with people in the classroom. I would not like to skip that part in my career. I don't think I'd be the teacher I am today if I hadn't done that. So, if I was 22 again, the only thing I would say to myself is learn the language. Day one, start learning the language. I was often a little bit lazy with that, you know, I was an English person anyway, everybody speaks English, they can talk English to me. It stops you from mixing in society, the local society. Now I speak Portuguese and the number one problem that people have when they come to Brazil is not speaking the language. If they get married to someone and they come here, it can be very isolating if you don't speak the language. So that's the only thing I would change really. When I went, I would say to myself you're going to Poland, start learning Polish now. You're going to China, start learning Chinese now. Even before you go start learning the language.

Daniel De Biasi 50:48

Yeah, that's the only way atleast for me like to really like for like live the experience like a full potential because if you start communicating people treat you differently just because you maybe don't speak perfectly, but at least you're trying and people usually recognize that and have like a different impression of you and they think like treat you differently. Even though you were already like kinda like a little superstar or a little like, important person in the in the epecially in Poland, in this like a small town, you must have been like such a cool experience as a 22.

Stephen 51:20

To be honest, I hated it. I hated it.

Daniel De Biasi 51:22


Stephen 51:23

Because everybody knew what I was doing. If I went out on a to a bar, and I had a little bit too much to drink. Everybody in the town knew about it.

Daniel De Biasi 51:31


Stephen 51:32

Yeah, I was 22 I was stupid. I did stupid things. And everybody knew what I was doing.

Daniel De Biasi 51:37

And you were a teacher. So you kind of need to be more professional.

Stephen 51:40

Yeah, I remember going into a bar that one night all my students were there. I stayed. So yeah, that was another aspect that I didn't like was everybody know me, I'm not that type of person. I do like to be- one of the reasons I like having a podcast instead of a YouTube channel is that, you know, it's more anonymous. I will do some YouTube stuff in the future. But I like the podcast, it's you. You can hide behind this anonymity.

Daniel De Biasi 52:06

Yeah, I think we are the same on that perspective. And going back to Brazil and moving to Brazil, because I heard even before I interview other people from Brazil that left Brazil because they didn't feel safe, wasn't a safe country especially if you have family, you have kids, it's not a safe country to be in. But you've been there for like 10 years, or 16 years no, 11 years now.

Stephen 52:29

I've been in Brazil for 15 years, five years in Rio and 10 years in Curitiba.

Daniel De Biasi 52:33

Okay. Yeah. Make sense. Yeah, the math makes sense. And did you find it- did you actually find it that not safe, or what was your experience? What's your impression on on Brazil over all these years?

Stephen 52:46

So I personally have never had a problem. I've never personally experienced any crime. However, if you're in the wrong place, there is crime. It is a dangerous place. I've heard stories of other Americans or Europeans coming and being robbed and losing things. It's not the safest place in the world. Curitiba, where I live is a relatively safe place for Brazil. What often happens in Brazil is you're in a nice area, it's a nice area. A lot of the crime takes place in poorer areas, or in city centers and things like this. It can happen anywhere. And it does happen. I know people who have been held up at gunpoint, outside their house and stuff like this. It can happen. For me personally, it hasn't happened. But yeah, you need to I'm a city boy. So I'm always looking around, I pay attention. If there's somebody walking towards me, and I don't like the look of them, I turn around, go in a different direction, go into a shop, always paying attention, doesn't mean you're guaranteed to be safe, because things happen. But it can be a dangerous place. When I was in Rio, I was in Rio in the good time. So the city was doing well. There was lots of money around. And I was in Zona Sul, Copacabana, which is the south part of the city, which is a nice area. But there are I know there are problems even in nice areas in Rio. Rio is a very dangerous city if you go to the wrong place. But fortunately, so far, it hasn't happened to me personally. But you need to be aware of it.

Daniel De Biasi 54:17

Yeah. And for somebody that are thinking to move abroad, are thinking to go to another country, would you recommend Brazil as the first country for like bureaucracy and culture and all of that, would you recommend as a first country to move to?

Stephen 54:31

I think I don't know if I'd recommend it, but I wouldn't tell so I wouldn't say it's a bad place to come to as a first country. It would depend on the individual depend on their language skills, if they've got no Portuguese Brazil is a country when relatively few people speak English. In Poland, lots of people spoke English. In Taiwan even though people wouldn't speak English to me English is part of their education and people would understand if they had to, but Brazil the level of English is much lower. So it can be much harder to find somebody who speaks English. So, if you're going to Brazil, yeah, go to one of the big cities, go to San Paolo, go to Rio and you'll be fine. You you will, you will find people to speak English while you learn Portuguese. If you speak Spanish, you'll pick up Portuguese very quickly, or another romance language, French or Italian or something, you'll pick it up very, very quickly. If the person is looking for an adventure, Brazil is the place to go.

Daniel De Biasi 55:27

Yeah, it was actually Brazil was one of my first option when I decided to leave Italy.

Stephen 55:32


Daniel De Biasi 55:32

The company I was working for had a branch in Brazil. And I, that's the first option, which I thought was the safest option, because I already have a job, they could just send me over and when I start like dreaming about going to Brazil, I always loved I don't know, there's something about the language. I prefer Portuguese than Spanish, I don't know, seems like more fun as a language. I love the music and all of that. So I feel like there could be a pretty cool experience, unfortunately didn't go through. They didn't offer me a job actually, they told me to quit my job. So I did. But otherwise, that would have been my first option to go to Brazil, I was just fascinated by the country and I still want to go to Brazil and just live there for a while. Just because I don't know, I'm fascinated by the country.

Stephen 56:15

Oh, Brazil is an amazing place. What people often forget, though, is that Brazil is also huge, its enormous. And people often say there's at least four countries in Brazil. So if you're in the south of Brazil, where I am, it's heavily dominated by European immigration. So at the beginning of the 20th century, lots of people came here from Italy, from Ukraine, from Poland, there's Portuguese descendants, there's some Spanish descendants. So there's even a few British people came here. So when you go around the size of Brazil, it's a very European style of country. When Brazil had slavery, there was very little slavery in the south. But when you get north of San Paolo, and especially to the northeast, there was a lot of slavery in those areas. Brazil had more slaves than anybody at any other country in the world. And so I've been up to the northeast quite a few times, and I love it up there. But it's totally different. The culture is different. The music is different, the food is different, it's a lot hotter, because it's so much near the equator. And it's a lot less dominated by European immigration and a lot more people who are forced to come to Brazil through the slave trade. So it just looks different. And then you've got the place like Minas Gerais it's more inland, where it's drier. And it's all about agriculture, and things like this. It is a totally different place, very few similarities. But you know, Brazil is bigger than Europe. So you never say that the culture in Finland is the same as the culture in Italy. It's totally different places. People often forget how big, how immense Brazil is.

Daniel De Biasi 57:53

Exactly. I mean, even for me when I talk about the like the culture, I'm talking about, like the culture in Copacabana, Brazil, like that kind of things, and as you say, like you are quite far from the ocean, you're on the mountains and the weather is different. So you're not like, normal, but the popular idea of Brazil.

Stephen 58:14

No, no, the stereotype of Brazil is the beach, bikinis, playing football, listen to a Bossa Nova or sandbar or something like this. I know this is a stereotype. In any stereotype, there is an element of truth. But that's not the reality for most people most of the time. But Brazil is an amazing place. There's so much energy here. There's so many things to do. We've got everything here. We've got forests, we've got waterfalls, we've got beach, we've got amazing people and some terrible people as well. We've got some of the best people I've ever met are in Brazil, and my city Curitiba is- it's famous as being one of the most organized cities, the most European of cities, it's clean, it's relatively safe, but it's also pretty cold. It rains a lot. Well, the last 18 months, it's hardly rain. We're having a bit of a drought, but it's a lot wetter, it is a lot grayer. We're about an hour and at least an hour's drive from the nearest beach. So yeah, it's not and the people here have a reputation for being colder that it's difficult, you know that they're not as open and as warm as people say, from Rio de Janeiro. But, again, there's an element of truth there, but it's not totally true. So yeah, every city every area has its own uniqueness.

Daniel De Biasi 59:31

And there's anything in particular you will recommend for people that wants to move to Brazil, things to be aware of things to do before moving to Brazil?

Stephen 59:39

Get every piece of paperwork you can imagine and then get some more paperwork because it will probably be necessary. Get it photocopied. Get it attested so it's a legal document. Because the bureaucracy here is is incredible. Nowadays, when I have to go and do something I'm like, what documents do I need? I get all those. What are the documents might I need? Basically, I just bring every piece of paper that I have, because they're gonna want something else. So get all your paperwork sorted out, photocopied three, four or five times, just in case. Start learning the language, then just come and have a good time and work. People here work. They work really hard. Another stereotype of Brazilians, sometimes is they're lazy, they just like to party. It's not true. Brazilians work hard at their jobs. And again, that in itself is a stereotype. But generally, people are hard working here. So if you come in, you're going to work.

Daniel De Biasi 1:00:36

And a question about the documents because I guess everything will be needs to be translated into Portuguese, right?

Stephen 1:00:42

Yes, yes.

Daniel De Biasi 1:00:43


Stephen 1:00:43

Needs to be translated into Portuguese and needs to be translated by a sworn translator. So usually, that's going to be in Brazil. But your documents, I think some of your documents, like your birth certificate and stuff needs to be attested by the Brazilian embassy in your home country. And then you also need to have a document from the police saying that you're not wanted by the police, you're not not only that you have what your record is, if you have a criminal record on, but also that you you're not wanted by them. It was the great train robber in Britain. This is like 60, 70 years ago, they they robbed a train, they killed somebody, one of the guards on the train, and they were arrested, put in prison, but he escaped. And he came to Brazil, he got married to a Brazilian. And the Constitution here is that the State cannot break up a family. So because he was married to a Brazilian, he could not be extradited back to Britain. So, what they do now is when you try to get a visa or trying to get married, you have to have a document from the police saying he is not wanted for anything. So that means that they don't have to go through extradition processes.

Daniel De Biasi 1:01:55

Okay, that's an interesting story. If you remember the name, just maybe send me over I just gonna add it to the in the show notes.

Stephen 1:02:01


Daniel De Biasi 1:02:02

Don't need to go crazy right now. It's just an additional.

Stephen 1:02:05

His name, man. I'm annoyed with myself. I can't remember that.

Daniel De Biasi 1:02:09

I know the feeling. It's a horrible feeling. I know that. I like to like wrap this up with a few more questions that I usually ask people.

Stephen 1:02:20


Daniel De Biasi 1:02:20

Do you have any regrets about leaving the UK leaving England?

Stephen 1:02:23

Sometimes I do. You know, especially this last year and a half with the pandemic, I haven't been able to see my parents or my brother in two years. I miss, there things that I miss. I have a niece, I haven't seen my niece. She's nearly one year old. And I haven't seen her. So that aspect, family and friends. Yeah, I missed that. I missed that a lot. And that's a regret. But it was something that, you know, had to be done. Either I would have missed my family or my wife, she would have missed her family. So one of us was going to, to lose out in some way. It's a lot easier now. When I started, when I first moved to Poland, to keep attaching my family was a letter, and occasionally a telephone call. Now, man, 25 years later, we've got the internet and got zoom, we've got everything. So it's a lot easier than it was. But you know, you still miss that. I don't think I have any real regrets, though. Other than that, and if I was to weigh it all weigh out the balance, no, I've done the right thing. I'm happy with my decision.

Daniel De Biasi 1:03:20

And what's the biggest upside about immigrating about living abroad?

Stephen 1:03:23

The biggest upside? I think it's the challenge, nowadays, not so much. Because I've been here for so long, but it's the challenge. You challenge yourself every day. And you learn so much about yourself and you learn about your home country. There's an old poem in English. And there's a line from the poem. It says, What does he of England know? If only England he knows. So if you stay in England your whole life, you don't really know England, because you can't compare that with anywhere else. So I've learned about myself, I've learned about my home country, I've learned about my own culture by leaving my home country and my culture. I've still got it. And I when this pandemic is over, I'll go back for a long holiday in Britain. But yeah, it's the challenge and the things that you learn by leaving leaving your country.

Daniel De Biasi 1:04:16

Yeah, I love that. So do you think you fulfill your desire of traveling? Or you still have more traveling in you to do?

Stephen 1:04:22

Well, you know, I taught in three countries. I also taught in Russia, but that was just a couple of months. So it's a temporary thing. I've traveled all over Brazil, in Brazil, you can spend your whole life going around Brazil. But you know, maybe I at the beginning, I thought I would have taught in more countries, more places, but I can't. I got to Brazil and I stayed here, but there's always a chance. There's a possibility I can spend some time in Argentina in the not too distant future. No, basically, I'd like to travel more. There's a lot of other places I'd like to go to and visit but what I what I've learned by living in a place is that just going for a week, although it's great to go to visit a new country for a week. You don't really know the place until you've spent some considerable time there. And it's great. There's no alternative. A weekend in front as ours is great, but I would love to spend six months a year in Argentina I really would.

Daniel De Biasi 1:05:16

Yeah, no, totally otherwise it's like reading a book by looking at the cover and looking at the back. You don't really know what is actually inside. Totally. Do you feel lucky to be an immigrant?

Stephen 1:05:28

As a white, male, European? Yeah. It's interesting. You're using the word immigrant, in English we often use the word expat. And this has a positive connotation. And we always talk about ourselves as expats and immigrants are that has a negative connotation. I am an immigrant and I have to remind myself that I'm an immigrant, not an expat. Expat is white Europeans rich, this type of thing. I also think you have a different mindset when you think about yourself as an immigrant, an immigrant you can and you you're gonna live there, and you are going to be part of the local community and expats. Well, I'm still English, you know, I keep myself separate from the local community. So I am an immigrant, and I am happy to be in immigrant. I bring a skill set, not not just in my teaching English, but my ideas about how to do things, my ideas about culture, my ideas about education about what it what it means to be a good person. I bring that to people here. And it might be the wrong ideas, but at least it's something that people can learn from me as much as I learned from that.

Daniel De Biasi 1:06:40

It's kind of like a part of your job. Like I'm bringing the culture like the English culture to other people. That's part of your job, right?

Stephen 1:06:46

Absolutely. Yeah, yeah. And I do that as my job. But I think I also do it just by going out to a bar and meeting people in a bar or the way that you live and the way that you interact with people, but that at the same time I have changed. When I first came to Brazil, I was punctuality, you have to be punctual. Two o'clock means two o'clock. That's a totally foreign concept to most Brazilians, especially in their social life. And at work no, they are much more punctual, but in their social lives no, So, I've had to change the way that I deal with scheduling and time not work professionally. My class starts at two o'clock. But you know, we're going out for a meal, seven o'clock, maybe seven o'clock, maybe half seven you never know. So yeah, it works both ways.

Daniel De Biasi 1:07:30

I just wanted like a precise, something that you touched like the difference between expat and immigrant. And that's I don't like the word immigrant, either. And that's why I called my podcast emigrants, because I think there's a difference between immigrant and emigrant, as you said, immigrant is always is like a negative connotation, people see immigrant like, people coming into our country and stealing our job. And it's not like a good connotation, but emigrant, which is, for me, the most important than being an immigrant is to be an emigrant, which means that you decide to leave your country to move somewhere else. So you are an emigrant. You've been labeled immigrant when you land in a country, but we are emigrant and that's for me to defect. I want to emphasize the things they want to highlight to not the fact that we are immigrant and we are guests in a new country. We are somebody.

Stephen 1:08:24

Yeah, yeah, absolutely.

Daniel De Biasi 1:08:25

We got the decision to leave.

Stephen 1:08:26

It'd be interesting to say the collocation with immigrants. So collocation is words that go together. So I might do this after after our chat. I'll go online and see what words often come with immigrants. And I'm betting, there'll be words like crisis and stuff like this. So the way the word is used is often in a negative way. You know, people often don't talk about the positives associated with emigration or immigration. People tend to focus on the negatives.

Daniel De Biasi 1:08:56

Correct me, you're an English teacher but even like the word emigrant is not that popular. I even spoke with other English speaker and it's like Daniel what's the difference between immigrant and emigrant. So I have to tell him like the difference is not very common. It probably is not good for my podcast to be discovered out there. But probably I didn't pick the right name, but it's not very common of the word emigrant.

Stephen 1:09:18

Yeah, absolutely. Because the people who talk about it are usually the people who are in the, who are the host country. And so it's about people coming here. It's not about people going somewhere else. But I've heard friends and even some family members, talk to, oh, bloody immigrants and then hang on a minute. I'm an immigrant. My dad's an immigrant. My dad was born in Ireland, and he emigrated to Ireland to the UK at a very young age. I've got a an uncle who was born in Jamaica, and he moved to Britain when he was 18 or something like this. My city has very multicultural. We've got lots have different colors, races and everything. And that's one of the things that I miss about Britain. Here in Brazil, we've got people of African descendants, but European descendants, there's the native indigenous Brazilians. But the recent emigration hasn't really happened. So we don't get these different just like different restaurants, different styles of food, you don't get different stuff. It's much more restricted. Maybe in Rio and San Paolo, you get that but not so much here in Curitiba.

Daniel De Biasi 1:10:28

Another thing that I find interesting about immigration and people I would say emigrant, we are recording this podcast this episode during the Olympics and I found like people are negative about the immigrant but if it's somebody that's an emigrant and like plays into your team into your the national team and wins the gold, that's seen as a good thing. Oh, he's a good is like a part of like our culture, he's part of I don't know, he's English, he's, British or it's Italian or, it's there. The country's from their countries, he's from my country just because he won a gold medal for my country. Even though he's coming from somewhere else. But because he plays for our team, it's part of our team, it's just seen differently. It's funny, funny.

Stephen 1:11:06

I'm not sure I should mention this to you in particular. But the recent euro football competition, which Italy won against England in the final. But we won't mentioned that. Half of the England team could have chosen to play for another country. So that means that either their parents or their grandparents were born in a different place. So that's how much immigration is, is affecting England in particular. And for me, it's great. I love it. More of it. Bring it on.

Daniel De Biasi 1:11:33

Yeah, probably those player couldn't play for the Italian team so they could've win.

Stephen 1:11:37

Yeah, maybe they made the wrong choice.

Daniel De Biasi 1:11:42

Sweet. So I just want to give like a shout out before we wrap this up for like with your podcast that you helping other people teaching learning English, and it's called English with Stephen and what I what I love about your podcasts that you you're not just like teaching English and just like teaching your words. There's like always like some stories behind the words So for me, like what I love about it is like it's much easier to remember a word if you remember a story because you can, it's easier to remember, like, associate that word with the story than actually. Okay, this is the word, this is the meaning. Okay, next word, then next meaning. It is just like it's, love the work you're doing. So for the listeners out there that wants to improve their English or they want to teach English just check it out, you will find the links in the show notes. It's totally worth it. So I just want to point that out before we wrap this up.

Stephen 1:12:29

Thank you very much. It's nice to hear positive feedback. Thank you.

Daniel De Biasi 1:12:33

No, no, as I say, I love it. And if people wants to get in touch with you, where people can find you, and where where people can get in touch with you?

Stephen 1:12:41

The most obvious place is my site, which is englishwithstephen.com. But I'm also on Facebook and Instagram, everything is English with Stephen. Facebook, Instagram, I'm on Twitter, I don't really use Twitter a lot. But if someone sends me a message, I'll get a notification. Again, that's English with Stephen. But yeah, my my site is probably the easiest way to find me, leave a message there and I'll be back in touch.

Daniel De Biasi 1:13:02

Sweet as usual. All the links and everything will be in the show notes for people to find you more easily. Awesome, thank you so much, Stephen, for taking your time and share your story and knowledge. I really, really, really appreciate it.

Stephen 1:13:14

Not a problem. It's been a pleasure. Thank you so much.

Daniel De Biasi 1:13:17

Okay, No worries. Thanks. Bye bye.

Thank you so much for tuning in this week and stick until the end. Hope you enjoy my conversation with Stephen and hopefully you'll learn a thing or two. And if you did, please share this episode with your friends and consider leaving a review on Apple podcasts or pod chaser. You can find links and resources mentioned in these episodes in the show notes by visiting emigrantslifelife.com/episode54. If you want to follow us on social media, you can find us on Instagram and Twitter at Emigrant's Life and Facebook at Emigrant's Life Podcast. And one last important thing. If you want to move to a new country, feel free to reach out to me either via email at daniel@emigrantslife.com or through our website emigrantslife.com. Thanks again for listening. Talk to you next one Ciao!