Living in Brazil during the World Cup has been a unique opportunity for our IES Abroad cohort to experience. The Rio we have experienced has been full of many people of many different nationalities, proudly waving their country’s flag through the streets. It has been heavily patrolled by police and the military on a daily basis. The streets have been packed. The bars have been even more packed. Fireworks were heard all through the night. It has been soccer 24/7.
We have been able to watch many of the games. Often, we would find a bar or a restaurant to watch. They would be full of fans crowded around the television screens. The bustle would die down as everyone focused in on the game. Everyone would be quiet then erupt into cheers at a goal. Several other games we watched at FIFA Fan Fest on Copacabana beach. Inside Fan Fest the game would be broadcast on a huge screen, with live entertainment for the periods of downtime. When Fan Fest became too crowded, a second screen at the back would broadcast the game to people standing in the open on the beach. During Brazil games, you could count on even this screen being overcrowded. Fan Fest was always high energy and high intensity. It made watching the USA games a ton of fun. We decked out in our flag and chanted, “I believe that we will win!” with our fellow Americans. But Fan Fest was also more dangerous. With a lot of people, a lot of passion, and very little space, fights were bound to break out. Things were often stolen- either by groups of kids or pickpocketed. But none-the-less, I always felt safe. We traveled in a group and looked out for each other.
For the World Cup final the group of us went to Copacabana to watch on the beach. This game was filled!! It was unreal. Brazil games were never even this full. Hundreds of Argentinians had come to Rio overnight to cheer on Argentina. The beach crowd was predominantly blue and white, but there were also many Germany fans. Most Brazilians took to cheering on Germany after their defeat. The game was intense!! Both fans were extremely passionate. There was a lot of singing, beer slinging, and trash talk. It was great. The aftermath was incredible. Germany fans celebrated hard that night as the Argentinians left for home devastated.
Experiencing the World Cup in Brazil has been truly amazing. Watching the entire country pause and come together to cheer on Brazil is unlike anything I have ever seen. The memory of being in the midst of the chaos of that final game is unforgettable. Every moment was full of excitement and suspense- always cheering, observing, and being on constant guard. I have been able to meet so many different people all bonded by their love of soccer. Brazil has been the most welcoming host for this event. I am so glad to have been here for it.
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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>