Well, Brazil didn’t let me leave without one last adventure. I spent my last day in Rio visiting the botanical garden and hanging out on the beach, but when I arrived at the airport, I found out my flight home had been cancelled! It was a little chaotic rescheduling, but as always, the Brazilians were incredibly kind and patient. With their help and one 10 hour flight later, I was home!
I have been home for several days now. Readjusting to the United States has been much easier than I thought it would have been. I am back to summer, longer daylight hours, country living, and English. I am loving being home, but I am very thankful for my summer in Rio de Janeiro.
Looking over my goals that I set before I left, I am proud to say that I accomplished all of them.
I gained a strong foundation in Portuguese. Brazil taught me about an entirely new culture and way of life. I learned a new language through immersion, which is something I had never experienced. My Portuguese class was very helpful, but using the language in everyday life- actually giving life to the foreign words- is what helped me to build such a strong foundation in such a short amount of time.
I was able to stay active. Throughout my trip, I went on several hikes and outdoor adventures. I played soccer on the beach. I kayaked. I ran, walked, and explored. Despite injuring my foot early on, I was still able to stay active as I had hoped to do.
One of the things I will most most about Brazil is the fruit!! I was able to have fresh tropical fruits all day, every day!! It was wonderful. I was able to try many different fruits I hadn’t even heard of. Fresh, juiced, or in dessert, the fruits were truly amazing.
I feel that I lived the Rio experience. During my time there, I was able to see things I don’t think I would have seen had I only stayed for a week.
Lastly, the people. I met so many incredible people abroad. Even just mere acquaintances were the most special people. Every time I went out, I encountered kind people who were always willing to help, to talk, and to learn.
My first trip abroad will always be a special memory. It broadened my perspective in a way nothing else has ever done. Being abroad and experiencing a new culture first hand teaches you in ways that a book can’t. I learned about the good, but also the bad. I learned that though other cultures may seem so different, we are all still human and more alike than we think. We all have struggles, opinions, and dreams. Understanding cultural differences helps to lessen the gap that the differences create. The experience is beautiful, and I thank Brazil for teaching me to do so.
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<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">I grew up in the small town of Tahlequah, Oklahoma where I lived with my parents and sister. I currently attend Princeton University, Class of '17. I am a LEDA Scholar.</span></p>