Saying Bye to Rio

Angie Martinez
March 30, 2016

The first seven weeks of the program are up and my time in Brazil has officially come to an end. When I first decided to join this specific program, I wasn’t really sure of what to expect from Rio. I knew Brazilians spoke Portuguese and I just focused on trying to learn as much as I could before leaving. Now I’m two days out of Brazil and currently writing in Peru - another post for another time – and I can say with absolute certainty I’m homesick for Brazil. Studying in Rio de Janeiro was one of the most unforgettable experiences! I stepped out of my comfortable sociology classes and jumped into an economic centered program in two countries I never really knew much about and so far I’m completely happy with my choice.

Boarding my flight to Peru I realized how much I would miss Brazil. The view of the beautiful hills covered in forests and the colorful houses hidden within them. The weird smells all across the city because their sewage system isn’t the best. The floods that happen every night it rains that leave you inconveniently stuck on the other side of the city. I know that might sound awful, but really you learn to appreciate everything that comes with Rio – besides you can’t have the beautiful Brazilian beaches without some Brazilian dirt on your feet.

Learning about the economy and current political state of Brazil today also really opened my eyes to the importance of keeping up with international news in general. Protest across the neighborhoods of Rio de Janeiro were common, some were for current president Dilma and many were against. We came at an interesting time in Brazil where a lot of the elected officials were going to jail over the PetroBras scandal. We also learned about the long history of corruption in the government – so much so that the Brazilian people actually elected a clown in congress as a stance against politicians who rob the citizens and never get anything done. We may be done in Brazil, but we are midway through the program and still learning about Peruvian and Chilean economies in order to compare them, but I can tell you I’ve learned a lot from Brazil alone. One major point are the difficulties foreign businesses face when trying to expand to Brazil, like their difficult and ever changing tax systems. This makes it difficult for foreign products to compete with Brazilian products – which means you see a lot of local Brazilian businesses and not as much foreign influences like in most other countries.

Right now it feels like nothing will ever compare to Brazil and everything I learned these past few weeks, but I’m off to see Machu Picchu this week so I’m sure I’ll feel the same about that. While I do wish I didn’t have to leave Brazil, I’m so happy to have had this journey but even happier knowing my journey is not finished by any means!

The red bricks that built me,
they’re stacked above history.
The rough hands of time have molded my skin
to feel the warmth of the sun a bit differently.
The memorizing stars behind the hills of a turbulent time,
The sweet treats of street carts contrasting the salty waves of the ocean.
My lovely taste of Brazil.


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