Tips on the 16th BRAZ-TESOL International Conference in Caxias do Sul

This is a post for all of you who are planning to attend the 16th BRAZ-TESOL International Conference (16th BTIC) in Caxias do Sul, RS, in July, but don’t know where to start. In case you haven’t heard of the event, BRAZ-TESOL is the largest ELT association in Brazil and its international conference brings together speakers and attendees of all over the country and the world in 4 days of professional development and relationship building. (Rumor has it that BTIC might just be the largest ELT conference in Latin America and possibly the 4th largest in the world!) So without further ado, here are some tips for the conference attendees.

1. Check the week-at-a-glance schedule before you buy tickets and book hotels.

The preliminary schedule has been posted on the conference website There you can see what time you need to arrive and leave so you can make the most of it.

2. If you’re flying there, consider Salgado Filho International Airport (Porto Alegre) as your destination.
Flights to Salgado Filho International Airport in Porto Alegre are usually much cheaper and offer more possibilities than flights to Campo dos Bugres Airport in Caxias do Sul. From Porto Alegre, you’re just a hop, skip and a jump from the city that will host our 16th BRAZ-TESOL International Conference. You can book a transfer with the partner travel agency, hire a car, or get there by a 2-hour bus. Based on my research, there is a bus straight from Caxias to Salgado Filho International Airport, although I don’t think it leaves from the airport to Caxias. To get to the conference, then, you may need to go to the coach station in Porto Alegre. And Angela Franck Minella says you can get from the airport to the coach station by subway! Alternatively you can get there a few days early and take a bus straight from the airport to Gramado and Canela, in case you’d like to do some tourism before the event.

3. Invest in a pre-conference event. It’s well worth it!

If you can arrive early on the first day, do consider attending a pre-conference event (PCE). Paid separately, PCEs are organized by the Special Interest Groups (SIGs) and provide a full day of talks on the same topic. If you’re interested in, say, Diversity or Teacher Development, you can attend the pre-conference event exclusive for that topic and spend the day with professionals who have the same interests as you. Networking made easy!

4. It’s your vacation time, so set aside some time for sightseeing.

You know what they say about all work and no play. And we teachers work a lot. So take advantage of your vacation time to enjoy what the region has to offer. Caxias is located in Serra Gaúcha, with its cozy mountain feel and many wineries, including a medieval-style castle that offers wine tasting in the very city of Caxias do Sul. Famous for the Festa da Uva, Caxias even has a museum consecrated to this fruit. You can also look for interesting spots nearby: the Gaúchas Bruna VS recommends Bento Gonçalves and Garibaldi, which boast not only beautiful landscapes but also great cuisine and wineries (just google Vale dos Vinhedos for a breathtaking taster).  A little further down, Gramado and Canela, the national destinations of chocaholics, fans of fondue and nature-lovers, are not that far from Porto Alegre and Caxias.

5. Check the weather before you pack.

The conference will take place in the mountains in Rio Grande do Sul in the winter, so chances are you will have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to sport that stylish heavy coat you bought (when you accidentally forgot you live in a hot region) and never got to wear.

6. Consider taking a minicourse as an extra feather in your cap.

In this BTIC, we will have minicourses for the first time, complete with a certificate issued by our host, Caxias do Sul University. The minicourses consist of the whole PCE day plus the mornings of the following conference day and will focus on specific themes to be announced soon.

7. Network before, during and after the conference.

If you don’t know anyone who is going to the conference but don’t enjoy doing things on your own, look for us Facebook/WhatsApp teachers. Strike an online conversation with other attendees so you have some company when you get there. And when you arrive at the conference, take advantage of pair work activities and coffee breaks to meet other teachers. After all, we English teachers are a cool bunch who usually love to talk. By doing so, when you go back to where you live, you’ll be taking more than knowledge back home. You’ll be bringing with you the relationships you’ve built and a personal learning network that can help you grow as a professional: a conference yield which is even better than chocolate.

(But do take some chocolate with you as well, or your loved ones will never forgive you.)

Natália Guerreiro

Natália Guerreiro has been a teacher since the year 2000 and currently works in Aviation English assessment and teaching for the Brazilian Air Force. She holds a CELTA, a B.A. in English & Portuguese from UFRJ, and an M.A. in Applied Linguistics from the University of Melbourne. She's been elected BRAZ-TESOL's Second Vice President for the 2019-2020 term.

  • Annkarin Aurelia Kimmelmann e Silva
    Posted at 17:43h, 06 março Responder

    Thank you for the tips!
    Let’s.stay in touch!
    I hope I will attend the conference!
    See you there!
    Regards, Aurelia

    • Natália Guerreiro
      Natália Guerreiro
      Posted at 20:01h, 06 março Responder

      Thank you for dropping by, Aurelia, and hope to see you there! 😀

  • Angela Franck Minella
    Posted at 22:13h, 06 março Responder

    Dear Braz Tesolers, there are buses to Caxias from Poa every thirty minutes. The bus station is not far from the airport, and it can be reached by subway. I would add to these tips a visit to the winery region of Bento Gonçalves, and lunch or dinner at a “galeteria”. Great tips, Natália! Thanks!!!

    • Natália Guerreiro
      Natália Guerreiro
      Posted at 11:13h, 07 março Responder

      Thank you, Angela. I’ll edit then. When I googled the distance from the airport to the bus station, it came out with over an hour on bus.

      • Angela Franck Minella
        Posted at 20:02h, 11 março Responder

        You’re welcome, Natália. The bus station is 11 kilometers away from the airport. By subway it takes less than 10 minutes. 🙂

        • Natália Guerreiro
          Natália Guerreiro
          Posted at 21:32h, 12 março Responder

          Wow! Shame on Google Maps for not listing that option. I’m glad we have a lot of friendly Gauchos in ELT to help us out! 😀

  • Giselle da Silva
    Posted at 06:00h, 07 março Responder

    As usually wise tips, Natalia! I can’t wait! I’ll be there on Tuesday and will leave on Sunday so I can attend all this pre and pos events!!!

    • Natália Guerreiro
      Natália Guerreiro
      Posted at 11:12h, 07 março Responder

      Great news! See you there!

  • Tati Casoria
    Posted at 08:20h, 07 março Responder

    Excellent tips, Natalia.
    A great chance to meet the best and most involved teachers I know!

    • Natália Guerreiro
      Natália Guerreiro
      Posted at 11:11h, 07 março Responder

      Thanks for dropping by. See you there! 😀

  • Henrique Pereira Moreira
    Posted at 12:02h, 07 março Responder

    For those of you who are planning to arrive in Porto Alegre and go to Caxias by bus, there is an atmospheric railway at Salgado Filho Airport that takes you directly to the subway. From there, you can go to the bus station in just a few minutes. I believe you only pay for one ticket for both the atmospheric railway and the subway.

    • Natália Guerreiro
      Natália Guerreiro
      Posted at 21:33h, 12 março Responder

      Thank you for the tip, Henrique. Hope to see you there! 😀

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