Spencer Fletcher
2011-12 Outbound to Brazil

Hometown: Little Torch Key, Florida
School: Key West High School
Sponsor: Big Pine & Lower Keys Rotary Club, District 6990, Florida
Host: Rotary Club of São Caetano do Sul, District 4420, Brazil

Spencer's Bio

Olá

My name is Spencer and I am 16. I live in the beautiful Florida Keys! Currently I am a sophomore at Key West High School. Our school is a small high school with only about 1200 students. I have 2 brothers and 3 sisters. My oldest sister and brother are in college and both work as Monroe County Detention Deputies. My parents are awesome and have made a good life for me. My Dad is an engineer who travels a lot. My mom is a Correctional Nurse and designs websites as a hobby.

I am unbelievably excited to be participating in the Rotary Youth Exchange. I was lucky enough to be assigned to my first choice which was Brazil, so I am more than appreciative.

Last year I met some of the inbound students who were here in the Florida Keys. These students told me about their countries. The one country I learned about that stood out to me the most was Brazil. I can’t believe I’m fortunate enough to be attending my junior year in high school there!

Doing this exchange means a lot to me because it will push me to grow up and be a more independent person than I already am. It will widen my perspective of the world and myself. I have always loved being pushed outside my comfort zone and trying new things so this exchange could not be more perfect! I know this will change my life forever and I know it will be a very good thing! My friends who know I’m doing this say that I’m crazy leaving for a year but I actually think it’s the opposite. They are crazy for not doing it!

I would just like to say THANK YOU to all of RYE, and The Big Pine Key Rotary Club for sponsoring me and giving me what I know will be the best year of my life. I could not be more appreciative for this.

Until my first journal, Ate mais tarde!

Spencer's Journals

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Finalmente Brasil!

All year just waiting for this moment, didn't realize the reality of it till I got here.

Brazil is a enormous change from Florida.. I still wake up an think “Whoa I'm in Brazil”. Sao Paulo is a metropolis, a vast concrete jungle. I'm very lucky to be here, and doing what I thought I would never do. Being on exchange puts you in the most random unimaginable situations, It's incredible! I wouldn't trade this for anything. Thanks so much for everyone who helped me get to where I am today.

Everyday is new, Every moment is great, with each new day I do so many new things. Brazil never has a dull moment for me. For one, The city has many major hills and mountains, only one thing came to mind when I saw this: Long Board. With a long board I bought here its like street surfing, all the hills twists and turns makes for an Effective Quick and Entertaining method of transportation. I can now pilot a board down severe inclines at unflagging speeds with remarkable control.

Lets talk about Soccer, Everyone says, Oh Brazil? You better get good at soccer..

I did try to play soccer the first week I was here, the kids are really good. I didn't stand a chance. They scored every time. Now I will play for the school this year. I figure you can't live in Brazil for a year and not come back with mad soccer skills.

Surfing, Yes.. Surfing in Brazil. My favorite.

I went to the beach last month and went surfing, The beach we went to was really nice, basically this place was Half-Jungle & Half-Mountain. I felt like I was at that island in the movie “King Kong” It was truly something I will remember for years to come.

Lets talk about Brazil's food.. Its one of a kind I'd say. Their barbeque puts ours to shame.. Seriously ours is pale in comparison.. Also I'm getting used to the Rice & Beans everyday. At first, it was kind of irritating but now it just feels normal. A very common establishment here is the Bakeries. In the U.S. We don't use the bakery like they do.. I swear there is one on every street corner here.. its convenient and has good food.

I have traveled to many other cities so far including Itu, Minas Gerais, Santos, and a few more. I love traveling while on exchange it really gives you the "Im on my own feeling".

My Portuguese is coming on quickly. Its been two months and I understand a lot. Several other exchange students and I take an extra Portuguese class two times per week after school. School here is in two sections. You either study in the morning from 7:00AM-12:30PM or you come in the afternoon from 1:00PM-6PM. I study in the morning which I think is better cause I get the rest of the day free. In the classroom I understand a fair amount, The teachers talk very fast and its hard to translate it. I do what I can in school after all it is in another language and rather difficult. Students in the school are very nice and welcome foreigners.

Though I do not think I have been here long enough to state major cultural differences, but here are some small differences I have noticed:

* Families here are more family oriented, do more family activity than North Americans.

* Brazilian Barbeque is the most delicious food. Ever.

* Arabian food is common here.

* Public transportation is very common and good. You can get to almost anywhere in Sao Paulo with Metro and trains for very cheap.

* Brazil

* Every exchange student will tell you: Be prepared to eat Beans & Rice all the time.

* What another exchange student said: There is no escape from U.S. Pop Music.

* Brazil is SUPER Patriotic when in situations involving Soccer.

This is going to be the best year of my life. I cant imagine not doing it now. Thank You to All of Rotary,

* Thank You to Rotary Clubs Throughout the Florida Keys. I am so Thankful.

* Thanks to Ryan Dooley ( Miami Passport Agency )

* Thank You so much to Susan Miller

* Thank You Mom & Dad

* Thank You to many others

It started off good, and It will end even better.

Tchau