Pedro Aparicio volunteered as a Jacari tutor in 2013/14 and told us about his experience.
Pedro was a postgraduate student at Oxford from 2011 - 2016. Based at Jesus College, he lived close to the Oxford Hub (at that time based in Turl Street), which brings together the various student organisations that organise volunteer opportunities in Oxford. This was where he first discovered Jacari. He remembers being warmly welcomed when he stepped through the door!
Pedro is originally from Portugal and had done some tutoring with disadvantaged children in his home-town. Jacari matched him to a 15 year old boy from Guinea Bissau who also spoke Portuguese. His pupil was extremely bright but struggling at school due to the language barrier.
Leaving the University bubble
Pedro remembers cycling down the Cowley Road to see his pupil every week and finding it really enlightening to leave the University world, see another side of the city and get to know people from different backgrounds. “It was so important to leave that bubble and relate to people very different to me, but at the same time not so different.”
Going beyond tutoring
Pedro really enjoyed tutoring his pupil and finding ways to make learning interesting for him. His pupil enjoyed listening to music and wanted to understand the lyrics of songs in English so this was an engaging way for Pedro to help him improve his English.
Having a shared language helped in many ways. Pedro felt he was able to relate to his pupil and his family as he was also a foreigner living in a new country. He was also able to help them navigate aspects of British culture and translate letters and information.
The impact of tutoring with Jacari
Pedro is still in contact with his pupil - they connected on Facebook and message each other occasionally. This has allowed Pedro to follow his pupil’s progress in life and see him achieve his potential.
Pedro told us: “It was a great experience overall. I think Jacari was very important in stirring my desire to give back and serve the community”.
In particular, it made him realise the importance of helping the local community around you. After leaving Oxford, Pedro went on to volunteer supporting local homeless people in Portugal. He now works for Johnson & Johnson, where he has maintained his interest in giving back and sponsors Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives.