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Study Abroad in Brazil

Does Privilege Shade Our Experiences?

This weekend, my study abroad program is spending 3 days (technically less) in an indigenous village just outside the city of São Paulo. What we know about this stay: They live VERY humbly, we may not get to shower, there are lots of bugs, time moves slowly, and only two meals are typically made a day. Leading up to this week, there has been little positivity and a lot of complaining; I, myself, am guilty of whining a bit. The question I want to challenge is WHY? In 2011, I was […]

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Brazil’s Political Crisis

If you’ve ever had a dream with an incredibly irritating, obnoxious sound that was impossible to stop only to wake up and find that it was your alarm going off, you have an idea of what it’s like to be in Brazil right now.  For the past two weeks, Brazilians have been taking their political woes to the streets in protest and in favor of their government.  On any given day, especially days when large manifestations are held, it is not unusual to hear Brazilians shouting their political beliefs from the windows of their […]

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Brazil Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

I have to say, Brazilians can be quite flattering when they walk up to me and ask for help, thinking I’m Brazilian, too. Where is this bus going? What is the price of that? Do you know…? These are the lines I’ve managed to decipher opposed to the multitude of questions that have left me walking away wondering what I had just skeptically nodded yes to. Whether you study a different language or not, you can relate to the smiling, nodding and having absolutely no clue what words are coming […]

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Brazlian Culture, Rio and Carnival, Oh My!

After exploring São Paulo and Rio, I find myself to be overwhelmingly, yet pleasantly surprised.  This whirlwind included a visit to the Museu de Arte de São Paulo, block parties and nightlife of Carnival, gazing over Rio de Janeiro from Christ the Redeemer and so much more.  From these initial weeks, I’ve learned how to be friendly, what Brazil has to offer foreigners, and why São Paulo is the actually the city that never sleeps (at least during Carnival). Brazilian Culture If you haven’t heard it yet, Brazilian are some of […]

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An Example of a “Field Trip” While Studying Abroad

A few weeks ago, all of the students in our program had the privilege to go to Bahia together for one weekend (which was already included in our general program fee). Similar to our trip to Ilha Grande (which I posted about a while ago), we were all very excited to travel and explore a new part of Brazil! Both from what we were told beforehand and from what we saw, the culture of Salvador and Bahia is very different form Rio. There is a rich African history there, which […]

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Easter in Brazil

One Wednesday after class, one of my professors asked me what I was planning to do for Easter. I explained that I didn’t have plans yet, but I was hoping to travel somewhere to make use of the long weekend. He immediately recommended that I visit Ouro Preto. I had never heard of this city, and even after he mentioned that it was in the state of Minas Gerais (which neighbors the state of Rio de Janeiro), I still had no idea where this place was. We didn’t talk much […]

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Volunteering in Rio

After only one week of volunteering, it’s crazy to think about how many benefits I already have seen in my life here. Disclaimer: when I was originally assigned this placement, I was not happy at all. I was scheduled to work in the afternoons, between my morning class and evening class. It takes over an hour to commute from my school to the location in each direction, which only leaves about 90 minutes of volunteering per day. I was disappointed in the high ratio of travel:work time, not to mention […]

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This Glass is Half Full

Uffda. We have reached the halfway point of our time here in Rio. We are 2 months deep into our 4 month program. At this midway point, murmur around our study abroad program is pretty evenly split between positive and negative feelings about this realization. On the one hand… we ONLY have 2 more months in Rio!! That’s only 8 weeks of class and 8 weekends of adventures! There are so many things on my Brazil Bucket List that still need to be done. I still have so much more […]

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I Found the Right Place for Me

I remember first searching for program options to study abroad. My university has a huge database to find different countries, with options to filter by academic major or language requirements. I remember spending hours filtering through different options and practically drooling at all of the wonderful places that I could potentially be. I wanted to study abroad in a country whose culture was different from ours, whose country I knew very little about, and a country where none of my friends had studied abroad (which ruled out many of the […]

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My Body in Not Invincible…

This past weekend, we went on a “Field Trip” to Ilha Grande, which technically translates to “Big Island” 3 hours away from Rio. The weekend was full of adventures. We hiked to different beaches around the island, went swimming, jumped off of port docks, tried new local foods, and strengthened bonds between classmates. Mentally, I felt invinsible. I had unlimited desires to explore different parts of the island and hike all different types of trails. We stayed up late talking on the beaches, and we woke up early to eat […]

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The Cherry on Top

My last blog as filled with many medical difficulties I’ve been combatting all week. The cherry on top of that cake: the morning after I posted that blog, I woke up with pink eye. It was unbelieveable!! I just can’t seem to bring myself back up to normal health; it’s been one thing after another. With my international insurance plan, I am limited to one clinic (which is good because there are English-speaking Physicians), but they have no appointments for another 7 days. While Ifully expect to be recovered by […]

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Update From BRAZIL!

I arrived safely in Brazil! I’ve been here 2 weeks thus far. Our academic classes haven’t started yet; we had 1 weekend of orientation, and 2 weeks of Portuguese language classes. I’m amazed at the quantity of information I’ve already learned in such a short period of time. Learning while abroad feels completely different than in a classroom. I could write a novel about my experiences and everything I’ve learned so far, which I often can’t do after an entire semester of a class. The friends I’ve made from America, […]

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The Little Things

In the midst of all of these stressful things to do before I leave for Brazil, I found one task that has been a joy to cross off of my list. One of my biggest concerns (whether justified or not) was which guitar I should bring down there. To most people this might seem like a petty and irrelevant issue. But for me, this has been one of the most time-consuming considerations. There are many risks to taking my main guitar, such as theft or damage due to the drastic […]

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Unanswered Questions

I leave for Brazil in 4 days… and I am just now realizing how much I still don’t know about the next 5 months of my life How do you speak Portuguese? How will I function daily without speaking the local language? What will the cultural differences be between Brazil and the US? Will I experience culture shock? What types of clothes do people wear down there? Where will I buy basic things, such as soaps? Target? Walmart? How often will I get to talk to family and friends back […]

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Chris: One hell of a month (part 2: Iguassu Falls)

Hello ‘Merica: So continuing with my story, it was Tuesday Oct. 12, super early in the morning that I headed to Iguassu from Rio. I was ready for some adventure, so Iguassu presented a great way to see nature, bro-out with my friends Luke and Dana, and just have an overall great time. This was also going to be my first time seeing one of the great natural sights of the world. It was weird being in a rural area. I mean Salvador isn’t a particularly big city, it has […]

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