LogicPrep Ranked on Entrepreneur's Top Company Cultures List 2018

LogicPrep was recently ranked on Entrepreneur's Top Company Cultures list, a comprehensive ranking of U.S.-based businesses exhibiting high-performance cultures created in partnership with employee engagement platform and service provider Energage. The Top Company Cultures list has placed LogicPrep as number 36 in the small company category. LogicPrep is recognized for creating an exceptional culture that drives employee engagement, exceeds employee expectations and directly impacts company success.

At LogicPrep, we pride ourselves in being a radically different brand of college test prep, and our team members are what set us apart. LogicPrep strives to creates an entrepreneurial, intellectually curious, joyous, and compassionate environment for learning and self-discovery. This tone is set by our brain trust of tutors and advisers, whose EQs are just as high as their IQs. We are so proud of the entire LogicPrep team for being recognized for this award!

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“Great company cultures don’t happen by accident. They happen because leaders understand how to create excellent working environments, and how to make everyone share the same mission,” says Jason Feifer, editor in chief of Entrepreneur magazine. “Our 2018 Top Company Cultures list is a great celebration of companies that are doing it right, and should serve as inspiration for everyone who leads a team."

The full list, presenting a total of 150 companies categorized as small, midsize or large companies—with 74 or fewer employees, 75-299 employees and more than 300 employees respectively— is available on Entrepreneur.com. Core insights, behaviors and attributes that have helped to shape the high-performing cultures presented by the top companies are shared alongside practices to help other companies develop their own workplace environments.

“Becoming a Top Company Cultures winner isn’t something an organization can buy,” said Doug Claffey, CEO of Energage. “It’s an achievement organizations have to work for. Based on our decade of research, we have come to view workplace culture is the only remaining sustainable competitive business advantage. Great strategies can be copied, but culture cannot.”

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Employees took online surveys, and the honorees were determined and ranked based solely on their survey feedback scores. Each company was measured in response to 24 questions on subject matters such as connection, alignment, effectiveness, leadership and management, as well as basics such as pay, benefits and flexibility.

To be considered for the ranking, the companies must have had at least 35 employees, have been founded before Jan. 1, 2016, must be founder led (at least 10% ownership of the company),and be headquartered in the U.S. There was no cost to participate in the survey. Individual employee responses were anonymous.

To view LogicPrep in the full ranking, visit https://www.entrepreneur.com/top-company-culture.

“Campus Fiction” Books to Read Before Going to College

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There actually exists an entire subgenre of literature known as “campus fiction.” In fact, while I was at Princeton, they were offering a course for incoming freshman called “Student Life: The University in Film and Fiction.” While any book that involves a professor or a college student, even to a small degree, can get somewhat unfairly lumped into the category, “campus fiction,” generally takes place on a University campus and contains academia-centered plots in one way or another. And though these books are merely fiction, and (hopefully in some cases) not indicators of what you should expect on campus, they are still worth a read to get an idea of the setting. Below is just a short list of a few of the best books in the “campus fiction,” genre.

Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis

An extremely humorous book (albeit darkly humorous), Lucky Jim centers around a professor in a small college in Rural England who is in actuality, not so lucky at all. Attempting to secure his reputation as a scholar and lecturer, the somewhat unambitious Professor James Dixon encounters several mishaps and setbacks in the academic world. On the cover of the book’s 1954 first edition, the tale is aptly described as a “frolicking misadventure.”

The Secret History by Donna Tart

Part campus fiction, part academic thriller (if such a thing exists), The Secret History focuses on a group of six friends studying Classics at a small college in Vermont. At the outset of the book, you learn about the murder of one of the friends while at the college, as well as which one of them did it. The remainder of the novel is a rather twisted, suspenseful account of the events leading up to the murder, as well as its long term affects on the group of students.

Possession by A.S. Byatt

Named one of the best novels written in English 1923-2005 by Time Magazine, Possession does not take place on a traditional campus, but instead follows the journey of two graduate students in England as they become increasingly involved with the project of uncovering a hidden romance between two fictional, celebrated Victorian poets. Jumping between the present and the Victorian era, Possession is an inventive, addictive, and at-times metafictional story of intellectual obsession and scholarly devotion.

On Beauty by Zadie Smith

On Beauty takes place in a fictional college town in Massachusetts that bears a resemblance to Harvard, where Smith was living at the time she wrote the book. The novel primarily concerns the lives of a British professor and his family who have moved to the university for the father’s academic career. Inspired by E.M. Forester’s novel, “Howard’s End,” Smith addresses themes such as the cultural differences between England in the United States, specifically in terms of attitudes toward race, class, and the value of beauty. As the title would suggest, the book deals in particular with the theme of aesthetics, both in an artistic context and in the context of human appearance and standards of beauty.

This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Though overshadowed by The Great Gatsby, This Side of Paradise is nonetheless a beautifully written, mostly autobiographical account of Fitzgerald’s time at Princeton as a young man from the Midwest. Though he ultimately left Princeton after a year, This Side of Paradise includes a glimpse into the ups and downs of his freshman year, and contains many critiques about the culture of social competition at elite universities. Fitzgerald wrote book, as the story goes, in an attempt to impress his future wife, Zelda Sayre, as a published author.

How to Pick an Early Decision School

For seniors, the timeline to submitting applications is getting shorter and shorter, leaving many asking the question of how to select a school for Early Decision. While the school should definitely be a reach (but a reasonable one!), lots of students are torn between two or three places and wondering how to make up their minds. One of the best ways to do that is going back to the schools you are considering this fall and doing a deeper dive on your visit before applications are due.

On these return visits, I always recommend going while school is in session, which it generally is between now and November 1st. You want to use this time on campus to get a sense of what life is like there for students and how you would fit in. By now, you probably have a better sense of what you would like to do in college, even if you haven’t completely made up your mind. You know what types of classroom environments you’d like to be in and what types of people you’d like to be around. So look for that!

When you’re there on campus, try and imagine what life would be like for you a year from now. What classes would you be taking? Go sit in on one of those. Where would you be having your meals with friends? Go eat in that dining hall. How would you be spending your free time? Go read the student newspaper to see what is happening on campus. Maybe you can even stop by a football game, theater production, or lecture to see the environment there as well.

I would also spend some time around campus getting answers to questions that you are going to have down the road. How easy is it to change majors? What classes are you required to take (and is this a deal breaker for you)? How accessible are the professors? What is the Career Development Office like? Feel free to even drop by the office to get a sense of how they are working with students and helping them get set for life after college. These are all things that will come up down the road, so why not get a jump on them now before you sign a binding Early Decision commitment?

 Julia returns to her alma mater, Princeton!

Julia returns to her alma mater, Princeton!

And as always, don’t hesitate to ask your instructors about their experience if they went to one of these schools you’re considering. Also, consider asking one of our advisors if any LP alum are attending a school you’re considering. We would be happy to connect you with them so you can really learn what it’s like to be a student there. Everyone loves to brag about their alma mater, and this decision is important. So, let us know how we can help you to feel truly empowered to make your final decision.

On Bookstores & Majors

My favorite bookstore in the world in the same city as my favorite sister in the world (side note: I have only one sister). It’s called Powell’s Books, which is an enormous warehouse of a building, yet somehow also feels cozy. In color-coded room after color-coded room, there are books on every possible subject and in every genre. Best of all, Powell’s shelves new and used books together, so If I’m traveling to Berlin, say, I can buy the latest guidebook… along with a 19th-century traveler’s diary.

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Nearly every Dec 26th, my family goes. And every time we enter, the same thing happens: we make beelines to different sections, roam the store following our varied interests, and don’t see each other again till we meet in the café with piles of books to choose from. Our tastes aren’t always what a stranger would guess: for instance, my brother, a composer, somehow finds himself in the international mysteries; I predictably dart for languages but somehow wind up in monographs about animal intelligence.

I’ve been thinking about Powell’s because it’s college essay writing season – and after my first question (“what do you plan to major in?”) I get to ask one of my favorites: if you were trapped in Powell’s Bookstore -- and had no phone -- where would you go? Which is another way of saying: what really makes you interested? What subjects actually bring you pleasure? And be specific, because Powell’s is huge! If you love “sports,” my next question will be: which sports? And then: the history of that sport? Stats? Memoirs of? Business management?

The larger question, of course, is what strange byways of knowledge would you like to explore? Because if I know which section of Powell’s you’d wind up in, I know something about you -– something better than what your major might be. I know what you truly find fascinating. And that is the beginning of really knowing someone.

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So choose your major wisely, but also: make sure at college – and in life – you make time to wander the bookshelves of Powell’s. Whether or not you actually find yourself in the real Powell’s or not.

College Isn't Just About the Academics: The Cornell Experience

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Obviously, your first priority starting college is to figure out what classes you want to take so you can pick a major and prepare yourself for a career, or in some cases, grad-school. It's important to realize if you spend all your time working hard and never taking a break you might burn out. For that reason, it is a good idea to become involved in a variety of activities on campus and attend fun social events you hear about with your friends. Looking back on my first year of college- I was able to get involved in some pretty cool groups that made my experience much more enjoyable.

Here are a few things I was involved in on campus this past year that I would definitely recommend to incoming freshman who are looking for extracurriculars to broaden their horizons.

 

Sport Taekwondo

At Cornell you are required to take a Physical Education class, and I thought a martial arts class could be interesting, so I enrolled in the intermediate Taekwondo class. I found the class so much fun that I ended up joining the team and traveling to a few tournaments at other schools. While the time commitment was pretty large, joining a club sport team was a great way to blow off steam after a long week of classes, and also helped motivate me to keep in shape by going to practice at the end of the day, when I would otherwise have stayed in the dorm.

 

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As an engineer, I was interested in working on projects outside of class, and Cornell’s assortment of project teams allowed me to satisfy this desire. During our weekly general body meeting or weekend lab time, I was able to collaborate with other people interested in working in a similar field to prepare for competition, learn important technical skills from upperclassmen, and feel accomplished in applying my knowledge of math and science in a way that I felt mattered. You also get to bond with the members of your team during travel for regional or national competition, and they are often some of the most interesting people you meet at your time in college.

 

Zeta Psi

Going into college, I had no intentions of joining a social fraternity; in fact, I didn’t even show up to rush week until the very last night. The two-to-three events I attended, however, convinced me otherwise. While your friends from your dorm and classes will spend a lot of time with you, it is always nice to have a brotherhood of people you can turn to if you need a change of pace. Working together with a bunch of friends to have fun at college, organize philanthropy projects, and maintain a house together brings you closer to your peers than you would ever expect, and is an experience I would definitely recommend.

 

Alpha Chi Sigma

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In addition to social fraternities, professional fraternities are a good way to make connections within the student body at your school and to network for after college. In a professional fraternity you benefit both from the social aspects of a brotherhood and from the resume-building/academic advising of a pre-professional organization. As a prospective chemical engineer, having a group who shares my passion for science has helped me feel comfortable in my classes and has significantly reduced the amount of stress I experience when picking classes and studying for tests.

 

Hillel

Religious groups on campus are a good way to bond with people of a similar background and to maintain traditions you may have celebrated growing up now that you are away from home. IN addition to attending the occasional shabbat dinner, I took part in a pre-orientation program the week before school began that was organized by Hillel, and many of the people I met on this trip are still my close friends today. I enjoyed this experience so much I am even coming back to campus early this summer to help lead the trip for incoming freshman in the class of 2021!

 

Intramural Sports

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For those who are interested in competitive athletics, but who may not feel comfortable with the time commitment of a club or varsity sport, intramural sports are the perfect afternoon activity to unwind after classes. You can sign up with a group of friends to play once a week, and even have a rotation so that not everyone has to attend every game. Especially when the weather is nice, there is no better way to get a group of people together to run around and have a good time than the intramural program organized by your school. I took part in basketball, volleyball, and softball this past year, (sometimes with friends from my dorm, sometimes with fraternity brothers, sometimes on co-ed fraternity/sorority teams) and each of them was a blast!


Slope Day

Every week a new event will pop up on your Facebook feed that you will be interested in, but won’t find the time to go to. This past year I missed stand-up from Josh Peck and from John Mulaney, a live performance by Gucci Mane, and several other events that I wish I had gone to! The one major event I attended was Slope Day, an annual concert held on Libe Slope that features live music, carnival games, food, etc. Even though finals were coming up a few days after this event, I couldn’t be happier that I went because my friends and I had a great time taking a day off from work to hang out, catching up with people we hadn’t seen in awhile, and getting to listen to some artists we had never heard of before who turned out to be better than expected. Obviously you should balance work and play during your time at college, but if you manage your time properly, you will definitely have time to attend some of these events throughout the semester, and I can guarantee you won’t regret it.
 

Tips for College Move-In Day

It’s almost Labor Day, and if you haven’t begun moving in already (many freshman students are probably already settled in), it’s time to start going through your closets, stocking up on supplies, and most importantly, buying the cutest and coolest dorm room accessories and decor! 

For many, the task of packing up and moving can be overwhelming and stressful. The excitement you feel as a freshman wears off every year after that! It’s definitely a shock getting used to not only a much smaller space but one that you might have to share with a stranger. Fingers crossed for an amazing roomie! Here are a few tips to help ease your way back to school. 

 Resident balconies at Scripps College

Resident balconies at Scripps College

Simplify your wardrobe

You’ll probably be going home a few times between the start of the semester and when the weather starts to change, so I suggest bringing only what you need! You won’t need your heavy sweatshirts and jackets until the end of October, possibly even November. So, leave those at home so you have more space in your dorm closet. 

Hang, stack, hide

Learning how to organize everything you need will help you greatly! I highly suggest purchasing stackable drawers or totes to help keep related items together. This will keep your room clean and your items easy to find! Also, many schools allow you to raise your bed, and this adds much more space. Use your spaces wisely! 

Take a breather

Move-in day can be hectic. There are hundreds of students and their families mulling around campus. Once you have all your belongings in the room, it’s ok to take a moment to yourself and take a deep breath before unpacking. This will clear your head and help you feel ready to tackle the daunting task of getting your new room just right. 

 Dorm room at Bentley University

Dorm room at Bentley University

Coordinate with your roomie

I couldn’t agree with this point more! I remember when I was moving into my dorm, my roommate and I (strangers before college), communicated via email to discuss who would bring what. This ensured that we weren’t stuck with limited space because we had two refrigerators, two tv’s, two vacuums, etc. Touch base with each other before you start stocking up!  

Make it Yours

Even though there’s a lot of anxiety surrounding moving in, the best part is making the space truly yours. Your room should reflect who you are! So, buy those cool posters and wall art, get the bedding with the super cute pattern, and let your personality shine. Above all, have fun!! 

Good luck to all of our college freshman and returning college students in the new school year!! 


Rae-Ann 

LogicPrep Welcomes Eight New Instructors

 Gretchen trains new instructor Fausto at LogicPrep Miami

Gretchen trains new instructor Fausto at LogicPrep Miami

We are so excited to announce that our team of exceptional instructors is growing! Starting this month, we're welcoming EIGHT new instructors, and we'd like to introduce them to you.

 

Cosmo

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Cosmo graduated from the University of Chicago with a double major in public policy and Latin American studies. At Chicago, he served on student government, competed with the Model UN team, and worked as a consultant for a number of local non-profits in the education sector. Fascinated by cities, he wrote his honors thesis on contemporary and historical approaches to urban planning in both Bolivia – his father's country of origin – and Brazil, where he studied abroad in 2017. When he's not trying to perfect his Portuguese, Cosmo enjoys going to the beach, riding his bike, and compulsively shopping for books.

 
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Eric graduated from Stanford University with a B.A. in Political Science. During his time as an undergraduate, he explored the practical application of comparative politics with internships at non-profits in Argentina and Chile and at an embassy in France. Out of the various activities in which Eric participated, one of the most meaningful and engaging was his time as a tutor for a local middle school education program. This experience exposed him to the joy of teaching students and fostering their academic development.

 
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Fausto was born in Honduras but grew up in Durham, North Carolina. He graduated from Duke University with a degree in Public Policy and a certificate in Journalism and Media. He studied abroad in Brazil and fell in love with Portuguese ever since. Upon graduating, Fausto worked at Duke's Office of Undergraduate Education managing programs that pushed students to explore their identities and values inside the classroom and beyond. He especially loved facilitating student-faculty connections.
Fausto enjoys singing, dancing, reading, NPR podcasts and binge watching Netflix crime documentaries.

 
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A native of Texas, Jacob graduated from Columbia University with a B.A. in Earth Science and a concentration in Urban Teaching. He split his time at Columbia between studying air pollution and teaching and found a way to combine those two passions in a thesis project on urban air quality and student achievement. After teaching science in Harlem, the Bronx, and Hartford, Jacob took his skills to the world of museum education, where he worked to bring science education and hands-on programming to students across North Texas. When he's not poring over practice questions, Jacob can be found in the kitchen, trying out a new recipe, or on the couch, tasting those recipes and bingeing on Netflix.

 
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Jacqueline graduated from Princeton University with a degree in Psychology and minors in Dance and Computer Science, completing two theses: a set of empirical psychological studies on mind-reading, and an original choreographic work, for which she also designed the soundscape. While at Princeton, she was actively immersed in the dance community and served as a tour guide for the admissions office. Jacqueline loves being able to use her backgrounds in both psychology and dance to better understand herself and those around her, and channels her passions for empathy, communication, and mentorship into helping students learn. When she isn’t at LogicPrep or working on her dance career, Jacqueline enjoys wandering bookstores, unpacking her mind into a journal, and baking vegan treats.

 
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Jake graduated from Dartmouth with a major in government and a minor in psychology focusing on decision-making processes. He wrote his honors thesis on international refugee governance policy. In Hanover, Jake was a Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Dartmouth Law Journal, a Vice President of the International Business Council, a four-year tour guide for the Admissions Office and Historian for the Dartmouth Rugby Football Club. A strong believer in combining practical and theoretical education, Jake has explored his interest in international relations by living and working in places like Zagreb, Washington, D.C., and Rome.

 
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Born in Montevideo, Uruguay and raised across three continents, Nico K. is an educator and director now living in New York City. Nico graduated Cum Laude from Princeton University, where he created an independent concentration in Performance Studies, focusing on the ethics and politics of social performances across cultures. At Princeton, he was entrenched in all areas of the arts, making work across theatre, dance, music, creative writing, sculpture, and performance art, building a deep respect for well-roundedness and collaboration. He is also an avid swimmer, improviser, and tea-drinker. Nico has always loved to learn and to teach, working to develop confidence in students – no matter what their learning style might be – so they feel empowered to achieve their best.

 
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Originally from Los Angeles, Shadi is currently living in Miami where she's earning her Masters in Business Analytics. Shadi has many years of experience supporting students, and her favorite subject to teach is geometry. Shadi believes that math is all around us, even in nature! When she teaches, she likes to take the time to point out the real-world usefulness of every topic. In her free time, Shadi will take any chance she gets to be in the outdoors or listen to live music.

 

A Letter to High School Students Who Don't Read

Dear High Schoolers,

Here’s the problem: you probably don’t read. Ok, actually, you don’t read at all. If you’re trying to get better at standardized tests, unfortunately, Instagram is not going to help you. Scrolling through nonsense on your phone does not count as reading, even if you’ve traded every spare minute of your life staring at Twitter.  

Here’s the solution: read something-- anything that’s more than one page long. I’m not asking for much, but let’s consider how much I’ve read this summer and then compare it to how much you’ve read this summer. We can then compromise on how many pages you are going to read so that you can become a faster reader and score higher on your tests. Perhaps they weren’t the best books I’ve ever read, but I’ll run you through them here just so you have an idea of what people who read, do. 

 Roger caught reading at our annual retreat

Roger caught reading at our annual retreat

The first book I read this summer was called American Gods, by Neil Gaiman. It is a quick novel, just 465 pages, and I don’t recommend it unless you’re into fantasy and nonsense. Not the kind of nonsense on Elliot Tebele's Instagram, mind you, but well-written nonsense. The story is one of the old gods vs. the new; the old Norse and native American gods are getting old and can’t compete with the new gods of media and television. A war is taking place in the American psyche and you are on the front lines. I will not mention that this is now a TV show because you’ll probably just stream it and continue to read nothing.

Next up was Love and Other Pranks, by Tony Vigorito. It's a silly love story nestled in a silly caper to expose the lies and deceit of a new-age guru charlatan. The guru is a horrible person and hoards money that he gets from his congregation. His former student decides to take revenge with a lot of laughing out loud along the way.  

And then there was The Dark Tower, by Stephen King, a modern-day Lord of the Rings epic. While a bit more R-rated, this story follows a cloaked mercenary through a series of adventures that are typically weird. These books are also well-written nonsense but in my defense, we are up over a thousand pages of nonsense that I’ve put on my summer reading list so far.

For the nerdist types, the last book I'll mention is The Dragons of Eden, by Carl Sagan. This book takes the reader on a journey of scientific discovery beginning at the brains of the dinosaurs. Reptile brains are small and consist of a spinal cord and a small nub at the end called the R-complex (much like the human medulla oblongata). It is thought that much of our instinct is present in this area and only through the advent of the cerebral corpus have higher order animals developed the ability to think clearly. The problem is that having a cerebral cortex does not guarantee that you, my friend, are thinking clearly.

Please, I implore you, use your cerebral cortex for more than cat videos and learn something for crying out loud. Let's compromise on you reading more than a few pages of an actual book every day. If for nothing more than to improve your ACT or SAT score. But remember, Instagram and Twitter pages don't count.

Sincerely,

Roger, Instructor (and concerned citizen)

LogicPrep in Forbes: Mentorship Lessons From Running an Education Company

As the founder of an education company that prepares high school students for college, Lindsay is often asked about LogicPrep's average test score improvement, college acceptance rates and other metrics by which we measure success.

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While we are deeply proud of our students’ outcomes, she feels that one of LogicPrep's greatest strengths is the least measurable (at least in numerical terms). What makes her most proud is when a student says that they enjoyed coming into our office, connected with their instructors and felt supported and encouraged.

Mentorship, which is such a powerful motivator for our students, has been equally essential to Lindsay's own development as a CEO. But it is by working with students and seeing them thrive that she’s come to learn how to foster these relationships in business.

Read Lindsay's latest feature in Forbes, which talks about the role of mentorship in her life and why fostering supportive, motivating relationships is essential to our students' success.

How Reading Can Help You Overcome Culture Shock

We work hard to prepare our Brazilian students for the cultural shock of starting college in the US. But what happens when our US team works with Brazilian students or comes to visit us in Brazil? 

Our experience shows that reading helps people to understand some of the cultural nuances that might not otherwise be obvious. We usually recommend a list of ten books that were written by accomplished Brazilian writers. The first book is always the same: Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands. The purpose of my blog post is to write about this book and explain the importance of reading it to understand Brazilian culture.

Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands was written in 1966 by Jorge Amado, one of Brazil’s most accomplished novelists. It tells the story of Dona Flor, a young woman living in the northeast of Brazil and married to
Vadinho. The plot begins with the sudden death of Dona Flor’s husband, known for being irresponsible and a great lover. Dona Flor remarries with pharmacist Teodoro, a well-respected man and described as being the exact opposite of Vadinho. The story evolves and Teodoro, Dona Flor and the ghost of Vadinho end up sharing the same bed and living together as a triplet.

This novel can be interpreted in many ways. My favorite version is the one that describes Brazilian culture as the perfect blend of formality and informality. In Brazil, the stiffness of behavior (Teodoro) and relaxed and unofficial style (Vadinho) walk together, hand-in-hand, in a balanced and yet chaotic way. Brazilians love to overlap work with social life; we exercise rule-setting but praise flexibility. In day-to-day life, Brazilians can have the most respectful manners towards their coworkers and yet call them by their nicknames. In addition, we talk to people on the streets with proximity regardless of being strangers.

There is no moral judgment here. It is what it is. When it comes to overcoming the cultural shock, there is no good or bad, worse or better. I feel strongly that understanding these cultural idiosyncrasies and ambiguities is an important step toward overcoming the cultural shock and emphathizing better with students.