I’ve met tons of amazing people in Brazil in the month I’ve been an exchange student here, and they almost always ask the same question: “Why’d you choose Brazil?” Unfortunately, I don’t have a real answer for them.
Last spring, I decided I wanted to do a study abroad. I didn’t know for how long, or where, I just wanted to go. Not that I wanted to get away from my family or school or anything (although my mother believes otherwise). I just really love to travel and try new things, and my sister had done a year abroad in France in high school so I knew it would be a great experience. After much research, I finally chose to go through Greenheart Travel, but still couldn’t decide on a country. Even though I already knew French, I wanted to experience something different. Then my dad randomly said “How about Brazil?” At first I said no, but after thinking about it, I thought “Why not?”
So I sent in my application, got my host family, and on February 10 I was on a plane to Campinas, Brazil, knowing no Portuguese and only having talked to my host family a few times through email. And as much as I hate to admit this, I’m so glad I listened to my dad. I’ve had an amazing time in just the few short weeks I’ve been here. Everyone in Brazil is so nice and helpful, and it truly is a beautiful country. And I’m sure most people know nothing about what Brazil is really like, because I know I didn’t before I got here.
Alright, it is pretty hot here and all Brazilians really do love their futebol (where the te is pronounced che), but I’ve seen most of the negative stereotypes of Brazil proven wrong. Before I came here, I had friends telling me I was going to be kidnapped the second I got off the plane, step on a poisonous shell-animal on the beach and die, or even be abducted by aliens. And while it is true that parts of Brazil can be dangerous at times and you need to be careful, the pros of this country definitely outweigh the cons. I’ve already made tons of friends, learned a fair amount of a foreign language, and just overall had amazing experiences that I couldn’t have had back home. And it’s still only been a few weeks. I can’t wait to see what other amazing experiences are in store for me in the next few months…