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Meet Trailblazer Neide Bollinger

Today we’d like to introduce you to Neide Bollinger.

Neide, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I was born and raised in a beautiful colonial town in the mountains of Brazil, but I always felt there was more outside those mountains: places, people and experiences. Arriving in the US in my thirties, I knew I wanted to communicate with people using language as a bridge between countries and as a way to connect with them.

In 1996, after finishing my bachelor’s degree in Language and Literature at a Brazilian University, I came to the US to study English in Boulder, Colorado. Upon returning to Brazil, I felt really refreshed to do more profound work with teaching. And I did! I was invited to open a business with nine other teachers preparing students for college; I also worked with the International Exchange Students Program at the university where I completed my undergraduate studies.

Someone I met during my time in the US, little by little, became more than a friend and we eventually decided to get married. That is when I moved to the US permanently.

Since living in the US, I have been teaching Portuguese in person and online for companies and individuals, as well as doing translation work and Portuguese narrations.

To boost my teaching profile, I decided to build a website, and hired a small company to build it for me. During our first meeting, an interesting thing happened: the person in charge had the terrific idea of adding a calendar where I could post Brazilian dance, music, workshops, and lectures in Colorado.

This built the bridge that allowed me to expand my Portuguese language services, as well as allowed me to connect with the Brazilian community in Colorado.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
There is not a single day, a single minute, I don’t question if I am doing my best. Teaching is such a challenging job. Each student has a very different way to learn. Each student has a different background and reason to start studying a new language. Their motivation can be business, a relationship with a Brazilian, travel basics, or an interest in the culture.

Teaching is not a job of status and I have heard from a few people: “- When are you starting a real job?”

A few years ago, during a trip to Brazil, I had an accident and broke two bones in my ankle. It was a dark time. I remember dragging myself to teach, but these months showed me I needed to become more creative, more engaging, and get out of my rhythm. It changed my perspective in a very positive way, and this is reflected in my teaching.

Implementing technology in my lessons, engaging with my students, adjusting to a world centered around social media, creating videos, sharing Brazilian culture, writing articles about my own experience has led me to continuous improvement.

My advice for those who want to start a new business, besides being persistent, don’t forget to be thankful to people who helped you along the way. A very nice couple, a Brazilian woman Reolda Maria Froes-Connolly and her American husband, Jim Connolly advertised my name on their translation website. I will always be thankful to them for that, as well as to Adelaide Bouchardet Davis, Cris Silva, Cláudia Marliére, Joao Drummond and Rosemary Araujo, who all inspired me to continue my journey.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Portuguese Lessons in Denver – what should we know?
Having your own business is not easy. You must produce your own material which can take days. At first, you don’t make much money. It takes patience and time to build your name. When the students come back from their trips and I get their feedback, it really helps me to reinvent myself.

I use traditional material like books, I use the internet, I create advanced conversational groups, basically, I have been using everything that is out there, and most importantly what is already inside of each student.

I am not afraid to realize I need to change; I need to improve. It takes passion and it takes humility to understand you don’t only teach, you learn from each and every student, from their experience and daily routines.

I don’t know everything, nobody does, but I am eager to learn, and I am a very patient person.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Neide Bollinger, Jacytan Melo, Portals1, Caffe Society, Tipsy Bartender

Getting in touch: VoyageDenver is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

6 Comments

  1. Adelma Araújo

    July 15, 2019 at 7:13 pm

    This is a vey special interview. Dear Neide, you are an amazing teacher.
    Thank you for spreding our Brazilian cultur and literatur all over the USA.
    May God bless you in this so relevant job!

    • Neide Bollinger

      July 22, 2019 at 10:35 pm

      Thank you so very much. You are a professor and your opinion means a lot to me, Adelma.

  2. Scarlett Crawford

    July 16, 2019 at 9:20 am

    What a great article! Neide is such an amazing teacher and made it possible for me to do business in Brazil, which greatly helped my career. Muito obrigada!! Scarlett

  3. Neide Bollinger

    July 22, 2019 at 10:40 pm

    Thank you so much. Teaching a driven woman like you Scarlett actually is a source of learning.
    N.

  4. Daniela Vital Smith

    September 7, 2019 at 6:16 pm

    Your life journey is an inspiration, my friend! Your love for what you do and the care you take in preparing your classes is an example! Congratulations on the interview. Wonderful!

    • Neide Bollinger

      September 13, 2019 at 6:33 pm

      Thank you Daniela! Coming from a marketing professional and good friend like you, that means a lot to me!

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