Gilvan was born to a marginalized family in the favela of Terra Encantada (Dreamland!) in greater Rio de Janeiro. His childhood was difficult, being raised by a single mother in poverty, and in a violent environment. Gilvan was an enthusiastic and competent participant in the BRAYCE sponsored English classes in the favela. This, together with his outgoing personality and sense of humor gained him a place in the exchange program. Today, he continues to prepare for Flight Attendant School, working as a teacher of Portuguese, Math, History and Spanish in a local high school in order to earn money to pay for prerequisite courses. Appreciating that English is a valued skill in the work place, Gilvan continues to study hard on his own.