A Day in Rio de Janeiro

Angie Martinez
March 20, 2016

It’s hard to imagine a daily routine in Rio, I’ve been here more than month and no two days have been the same. While most of our days are unplanned, we still have classes to attend at the center. For the most part your classes will be the most consistent part of studying abroad, unless you join a club or an organization around the city. Even getting to and from classes can still be an adventure, but here’s my attempt at trying to document a regular weekday in Rio de Janeiro!

1. Breakfast

Depending on your classes and how far away you are from the Center or University, you can expect to up any time from 6 to 10am. Then you’re ready for most important meal of the day and my favorite. In Rio a usual breakfast includes coffee, toast or bread, cheese (cheese in every shape and form), fruit and occasionally ham or salami. I love fruit in the morning, but I’ve also been guilty of having left over Brigadeiro cake in the morning because chocolate is the most amazing thing ever invented.

2. Bus Rides
I’ve mentioned before how crazy buses in Rio are, and they’re usually craziest in the mornings. You’ll definitely see a couple buses packed to the brim with people – literally squishing people to get the doors closed. My roommates and I may let a few buses pass before finding a bus with some actual room. Learning the bus routes is incredibly complicated and easy at the same time. Recently the buses have been given new routes so really no one knows exactly how to get anywhere – but for the most part the buses will say what neighborhood they pass through. To get to the center, I jump on anything that says Urca and to get home I’ll jump on a bus that says PUC – the college in my neighborhood. It’s good to walk around and become familiar with the neighborhoods in Rio.

3. The Center in Urca
Once you make it to the Center you’ll get enjoy one of the prettiest neighborhoods in Rio – Urca. It’s so quiet and disconnected from the rest of the busy city. Here is where you’ll be taking your IES Abroad classes, meeting and hanging out with the rest of your classmates. The center is a small building with two class rooms usually being occupied by one of the programs classes, our multi-location program and the semester long Rio program. Either way the center is always filled with students, teachers, advisors and occasionally a very cute puppy.

4.  Stopping by Botafogo
Botafogo and Urca are hands down my favorite neighborhoods. I love how calm Urca is but I also enjoy the crowded and busy streets in Botafogo. Buses don’t go all the way from my house to Urca so I usually take another bus in Botafogo, but it’s also nice to be familiar with this neighborhood because it’s where you can refill your bus card, find all the buses and the metro, and buy some amazing Acai and other street food, like the hot dog pictured above! The mall in Botafogo also has one amazing view!

5.  To the Praia!
You’re in Brazil! After all your classes and responsibilities are taken care of, the best thing to do is head to the beach! Between Leblon, Copa, Ipanema and tons of other beaches, you’ll never find yourself too far from the ocean. The views are incredible, the mosquitos hate salt water and there’s really no better way to relax than a day at the praia.

6. Dinner
Once your day is done, you’ll either head home or go out for dinner, depending on your arrangements with your host family. Typically I try to eat at home Monday to Thursday. Home cooked meals usually consist of rice, beans, and tons of meat! Chicken, pork, beef cooked in all types of ways. There’s also usually cheese involved, and no spices – so I tend to pour Tabasco all over my meals. You won’t find many other hot sauces besides Tabasco here. Eating out, you’ll definitely find some interesting restaurants – so far my favorite is Meating, a burger place in Gavea and a pizza spot in Lapa! The only place I’ll eat pizza from in Rio de Janeiro.

So there you have it! A causal day in Rio de Janeiro. Don’t forget that most days there will always be an unexpected riot, protest, flood or other event that may make most days unpredictable. Also remember, Fridays are usually field study days where you may end up in a fancy restaurant or a favela. Not mention this doesn’t include the field trips to Sao Paulo and Petropolis – basically don’t expect to stick to a routine while you’re studying abroad!

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