The first 5 weeks on campus was crazy. I chose to take only 2 classes in Brazil, Art and Political Science, which meant I had to take an on campus 5 week class to maintain full time status. Looking back, I’m so lost on where these past weeks went! I still feel so unprepared for what is quickly approaching; but unprepared in a good way. I am beyond excited for this trip.
From my Brazil classes and International Study Seminar course I learned a great deal about Brazil. I am very glad I chose the classes I did because the poll sci class I took offers an insight on history and their community while the art class teaches me about their culture and the everyday beauty they encounter everywhere.
The combination of these classes has lead to some pretty awesome expectations. I expect to be overwhelmed with the sincerity and love from strangers, constant beauty emulated from the people and nature, as well as cultural food and a language that I will never understand but always admire. On the flip side, I have learned that Brazil is a very deceiving country, it is crucial to be safe and smart with the people encountered and food served. I’m not too concerned about it though, I think it is easy to get caught up in the possibilities of negative situations, but it’s also easy to avoid them if you’re smart and don’t put yourself in that kind of a situation.
I expect to get sick in the first week; we’ve been warned about an acclimation period where food goes straight through you (I’ll spare the nasty details..). I personally think it’s kind of funny though, I got sick in Mexico before and found it to be a source of many jokes and laughs as well as a good work out from constantly sprinting to find a bathroom in time ; ) If that’s the biggest of my worries I will be more than fine.
In some of the classes we’ve listened to some Brazilian music. While I don’t understand the language, music is a special way to communicate in any culture. We’ve been told there will be live music at Carnival and in bars regularly; this may be something I am most excited for. It will be an unique opportunity to be let in to Brazilian culture.
I think Brazilian culture and American culture are very different. While the root of somethings may be similar, for example art or music, they grow to be very culturally different. I think the biggest similarity will be in the love for one’s family. While much more intense and outwardly visible in Brazil, I think that in both cultures family is valued very highly. There will be cultural difference some very apparent cultural differences, but I don’t think I know enough about what Brazil REALLY is like to assess that yet. I feel well-educated on Brazil but that may not be what it’s actually like there. I expect it to be different than the US… mainly because it’s not the US, but I don’t expect to experience culture shock. If anything I think I will fall in love with the country, like I do on every vacation, and never want to leave.
I had wanted to upload some pictures that I have found exceptionally inspiring – but I’m having trouble getting it to work. Hopefully I can figure it out before I leave!