LEAP gives student and his family a unique summer experience

While Gustavo Santos took classes in Wright State’s LEAP Intensive English Program, his wife, Daniela, and their children, Henrique and Mariana, got to experience American culture.

Every year, Wright State’s Learning English for Academic and Professional Purposes (LEAP) Program provides international students with the opportunity to improve their English while going to an American college and learning more about American life. For Gustavo Santos, this is something he and his family are familiar with.

Santos lives in Brasilia, Brazil, and works for the Central Bank of Brazil. His responsibilities include monitoring the safety and soundness of individual financial institutions and the financial system as a whole. After five years with the company, the bank gives employees three months of leave to study, which Santos used to attend Wright State this summer.

The unique part of Santos’ story is his family has ties to the Dayton area. His wife, Daniela Santos, was an exchange student more than 20 years ago at Northridge High School. When Gustavo decided to use his leave to study a language, the family agreed to return to the Dayton area because of the prior experience his wife had.

“My wife, Daniela, came here 20 years ago, so we knew the area a little,” Gustavo said. “So we decided to come here to be close to Sandi and this area so we could have a better time experiencing the American culture”

Sandi Pohlman, of Northridge, housed Daniela when she first came to Dayton as an exchange student. Pohlman opened her doors once again to Gustavo, Daniela and their two children, Henrique and Mariana, when they returned to Dayton this summer.

Pohlman says that even though 20 years had passed, she still loves having the Santos family around.

“It’s been really fun,” Pohlman said. “I was really excited when they wanted to come back this summer. It’s always nice having them around and taking them out to see what Dayton has to offer.”

An avid runner, Gustavo said he loved going to the numerous parks in the Dayton area with his family. They’ve also been able to explore bigger cities such as Cincinnati, Columbus and Chicago. The family also experience the tornados that came through Dayton on Memorial Day, which was a unique experience for them.

“We have never seen anything like that,” Daniela said. “In Brazil we don’t get tornados, so it was a new experience for us.”

Overall, Gustavo Santos is grateful for the opportunity to return to the Dayton area with his family while studying at Wright State. Henrique and Mariana were even able to attend summer camps at Wright State through the university’s Pre-College Programs while Gustavo attended his LEAP Intensive English classes.

“Studying English through LEAP was very beneficial to me,” he said. “I’ve learned a lot and I know I will be able to use those skills in my everyday life”

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