The worldwide Augustana College experience

New Year, New Country

It’s official—only three days left before I head off to Brazil!!

I am unbelievably excited, but incredibly nervous as well. The reason for my excitement is probably obvious; who wouldn’t love going to Brazil right now? But why am I nervous? Because this experience is so completely different from anything I’ve ever done before. And even though my classes and professors have helped me to craft some idea of what to expect, I’m still nervous because nothing I dream up can come remotely close to the reality. My expectations are naught in the face of the unknown. The unknown—that’s what gets me every time. Not that it’s a bad thing, mind you. The excitement far outweighs the nerves at this point. But still…

Since I’m prone to over analyzing everything (no joke), I suppose I’ll give a quick rundown of what I’ve set myself up to expect thus far:

  1. Obviously, have an amazing time.
  2. Choke under pressure and forget all of my basic Portuguese and resort to miming, at least once.
  3. See a diverse culture with a very unique history.
  4. Encounter both great wealth and great poverty.
  5. Feel awkward with the physically-affectionate nature of Brazilians.

So, really, my little list lures me into a false sense of security. I might think I have it under control, that I know the basics… but I don’t. I’m sure I’ll have an amazing time, but there’s no telling what exactly will make it so amazing. I know some of the history, I know a bit about the culture, and the inequality, but who knows how it will affect me once I’m living there, surrounded by it. And definitely no telling what will happen with random strangers trying to hug or kiss me.

There is so much more running through my mind right now (including a rather extensive checklist for packing), but I won’t bore you with all the details. The bottom line is this: I have no idea what to expect. And even though that thought freaks me out a little bit, I’ve decided to do the only thing I can, and just embrace it. I signed up to study abroad for a reason, and I’m at a point in my life where I need this adventure. I don’t know what to expect, but I know good things will come of it.

Until next time,

C.

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