John Rust
2011-12 Outbound to Brazil

Hometown: Tallahassee, Florida
School: Maclay School
Sponsor: Tallahassee Capital Rotary Club, District 6940, Florida
Host: Rotary Club of São Paulo Cambuci, District 4430, Brazil

John's Bio

Ola! my name is John Rust and next year I will be living in Brazil! This has been an ongoing dream that started just five years ago. My older brother, Benjamin, went to Argentina on a similar trip, except his lasted just three months. I planned to go to aSouth American country after he came back and raved about how awesome it was to live as a foreign exchange student. Being accepted into this program has been a dream come true, and I know that if my trip is anywhere near as good as his was, it will be the most amazing nine months of my life. The summer from my sophomore to junior year, I went on a thirty day trip to Europe with a Florida State University Humanities program. After traveling through six countries, I was officially hooked on traveling. I realized the previous sixteen years of my life had been wasted. I realized it is practically wasting the world if someone doesn't travel. Living in the same house all my life and not going out of the country was like being a wild tiger stuck in a cage. Being a foreign exchange student is more than just traveling. It is learning a new language and even a new lifestyle, while making new friends and sometimes even a new family.

As for now, I already have a fairly large family. I have two older brothers, an older sister, and of course, parents. My three dogs and one cat make things fairly hectic. Luckily, just one of my brothers and I live at home, but we both plan on leaving this next year.

I can already tell this next year will be the best one of my life so far. The rotary club has blessed me with this tremendous opportunity to represent my club and country as i travel to Brazil next year. Obrigado ao Rotary!}

John's Journals

Last week marked my first two months in Brasil, and I couldn´t be happier! All that I have done in this short time feels like a fun filled blur that I wish would slow down. I will try to fill you all in from the beginning.

My exchange started after waiting in my house for about two months for the day to finally arrive. Before that point, I had failed to have a going away party and had basically just picked up my things and let without saying goodbye to all my friends. At that point I had waited about nine months for this adventure of a lifetime, and waiting a little longer wasn´t really an option. The day had come so I woke up and drove about three hours to the Jacksonville airport. When it was time to say goodbye to my mom and brother, (The only ones in my family who could find time to come with me) not a tear was shed and hardly any emotion from anyone was shown. It felt like I was going on a trip for spring break, and then just not coming back for a long long long time. After the exhausting trip to Sao Paulo, I was finally in my new home for the next year. Getting home was the scariest part, because i wasn´t sure if I would make it home alive. Drivers here have to be the worst I have seen in my life, because every moment feels like the last lap o the Daytona 500. Arriving at my house was the only time I have had one of those panicking moments. I opened the door and could basically see my whole house in one look, mainly because my apartment is about the size of my kitchen back at home. That night was the first time using the metro, which involved about 200 people trying to get into one train cart at the same time. I almost got pushed on the track but I thought it was so much fun! My first week went by eating, sleeping, and tring to learn the basics of Portuguese.

My first day of school was one of my favorite memories thus far. The way everyone talks about you and wants to meet you is truly a great experience, even if it doesn´t last that long. My first class was me surrounded by the entire class with everyone asking questions. I wouldnt have been able to survive this without my translator and good friend now, Ricardo. School here is very different here because the students stay in the same classroom and the teachers move around. I like this way of a classroom because my class is a room of best friends, and they have already taken me into their group.

All the guys are aspiring bodybuilders and grade each others biceps daily, like they are at a dog show being judged. When I´m not at school I´m usually lying soccer with kids half my size who kick my butt, or hanging out with my friends or 23 year old host brother, who makes a great substitute for my 23 year old brother at home.

Another hobby of mine here in Brasil is eating like its the last meal of my life, which is probably why my host mom makes fun of me and calls me "gorginho" which is basically little fat boy, but she is the one who feeds me in the first place so I think she enjoys it. My language has been progressing at an expoential rate, and I have gotten the compliment several times that i speak the bes out of any exchange sudent they have met after only two months. This is encouraging me to learn every day to try to reach the maximum point of fluency.

Overall Brasil has been a dream come true and I couldn´t ask for anything better! I have amazing trips coming up and I am super excited to see what the future holds for my wonderful exchange.