Milton Neto

I’m Milton Gonçalves, Physical Education teacher in Brazil and a proud former student at Viborg IH (GIV).
I can say that 10 years ago I didn’t choose to go to Viborg IH, but the school that chose me. It was an exchange opportunity that the university provided me, in the third year of my graduation. I went to Denmark thinking, that I would learn about sports, but my learning about life was much bigger.
It was the best experience of my life for sure.
For a teenager who had never left the country, Viborg IH was a window opening to the world. I made friends that I still have contact to, today.
Since I returned to Brazil, I completed my studies and finally started working as a physical education teacher at a regular school. I had the opportunity to present a little of my experience to new students graduating from the physical education course, showing all my passion and this has already inspired students to also go to Viborg IH. This is a form of thanks for all that the school and the people around it has provided in my life.

At first, the idea of ​​getting a scholarship abroad was perfect: an opportunity not only to improve my knowledge of Physical Education, but also to grow in my personal sphere. However, the excitement for the exchange was accompanied by the insecurity of being alone in a country that I did not even know where was located.

This insecurity only increased when I noticed that they had its own language: Danish.
The challenge was accepted and then the race against time began to provide all the necessary documents for the trip, as well as a passport and visa. There was a lot to do in a short time – and then the day of departure came.

My biggest challenge here is to describe my indescribable experience, since neither words nor pictures are enough to describe the sensations and the wonderful and unique learning.
After many hours of travel I came across a wonderful country, dazzling, organized, in one word: different.
People that, at first hand, seemed closed to new experiences, but after some time, flourishes and surprises us.

The Danish everyday routine seems very intense in Brazilian eyes. That’s when we discovered the term ‘lazy latinos’ and our mission now is to erase this image already ingrained in the school.

Very well prepared lessons and good teachers are the perfect combination to not leave anyone out. The freedom that is offered is certainly an essential factor for personal growth. Camping outdoors at a temperature close to zero, paddling miles and miles of canoe in a splendid landscape, climbing rocks that seem endless. There are so many experiences that I would spend hours writing about them.
However, I couldn’t forget to describe my experience with Free Hugs: a bold proposal for Danish culture that rejected many of the attempts to bring people closer, but that also surrendered and were enchanted by the Brazilian heat.

And who would have thought we would make a grueling journey to France by bus for around 24 hours? Well then, I would do it again if possible. Lighting my own fire and cooking dinner has already become an easy task in Outdoor classes. What about the cold weather? The winter was severe. A few days of December were enough to get an idea of ​​how difficult it would be. Difficult for us, used to the 40°C heat and probably Danes never even felt. For them, the cold, rain and snow are no excuse to stay locked indoors. That’s what snow jackets and raincoats are for, as well as boots and ear muffs. I could not forget to describe here the long-awaited snow. I wouldn’t be happy if I left that country and contented myself with just waking up in the morning to the snow-white ground without even touching a snowflake that fell from the sky. The long-awaited snow, fascinating for Brazilians, was not at all amusing for the Danes. And with fearful eyes, we played like children, enjoying the outdoor classes like never before.

The sunset that used to be around 22hrs (that’s right) now left the day with a melancholy tone: 15hrs. The day was getting shorter and shorter, as was our stay at school. A week before the end of classes, we had the famous ‘farewell party’, the cue for the beginning of my sadness and tears. Definitely the worst week ever. I looked at my new friends, who weren’t even that new after almost five months, with a parting look. The week was long and the desire to stay was even greater.
The last day starts early, with a general cleaning throughout the school. Clean rooms and loaded farewell atmosphere. It was then that we all gathered in the dining hall for the unwanted farewell. A song played on the piano: enough to make even the brutes drown in tears. The farewell, which was scheduled for 15 minutes, went on for more than hours. Many sincere hugs and promises to visit. It’s time to go back to Brazil.

And so was my student exchange in the unknown Denmark, and began my passion and immense respect for the country, which welcomed me for months and provided me with a wonderful experience, allowing me to grow and open my mind to the world.

Tak Danmark, farvel! (Thank you Denmark, bye!)”


Mail to Milton