Elle Farner

Brazil

Hometown: Saint Petersburg, Florida
School: St. Petersburg Collegiate High School
Sponsor District : District 6950
Sponsor Club: St. Petersburg Midtown, Florida
Host District: 4760
Host Club: The Rotary Club of Padre Eustaquio

 

My Bio


Discovering the Rotary Youth Exchange program has been a very exciting experience for me. I am from Saint Petersburg, Florida, attended Saint Petersburg Collegiate High School, and have never left the country. I have practiced the languages of French, some Spanish, and American Sign Language. I enjoy traveling and learning about various cultures. I have a lot of experience traveling through my country and have had the blessing to see all kind of atmospheres, such as tropical islands, deserts with mountains, country sides with hills and forests, and have experienced weather as cold as 3 degrees Fahrenheit and as hot as 117 degrees Fahrenheit. I live in a four bedroom house with my mom and dad, brother, 4 cats, and a dog. I LOVE animals very much and live on a plant-based diet free of animal products. When I'm not busy with my school work, I like to hang out with my friends, and stay as active as I can. I like activities such as ice skating, yoga, tennis, paddle boarding, boating, riding my bike, going to concerts and festivals, and just feeling like an active member of my community. I would also like to mention that I am very open-minded and not afraid to try new things. I have participated in extreme activities such as snow skiing, white water rafting, zip lining, parasailing, and numerous other heart pumping adventures through the years. Living in Brazil is now another achievement I can add to my bucket list. I am thrilled to find out what other things my future has in store.

 

Exchange students of Sao Paulo

Exchange students of Sao Paulo

With my host mother Angela on New Year's Eve

With my host mother Angela on New Year's Eve

Finally having Starbucks after being away from it for 4 months

Finally having Starbucks after being away from it for 4 months

First time meeting the exchange students of Sao Paulo

First time meeting the exchange students of Sao Paulo

Bonding with friends and family reminiscing about the past and dreaming of the future with the coming of 2016

Bonding with friends and family reminiscing about the past and dreaming of the future with the coming of 2016

Seeing Kam, another exchange student from Florida having his exchange in Brazil, and the other exchange students of his city

Seeing Kam, another exchange student from Florida having his exchange in Brazil, and the other exchange students of his city

Reuniting with Kam after 4 months of exchange!

Reuniting with Kam after 4 months of exchange!

A little wet after jumping over 7 waves for the Brazilian New Year's tradition

A little wet after jumping over 7 waves for the Brazilian New Year's tradition

Welcome to Rotary District 4760!

Welcome to Rotary District 4760!

Enjoying Brasil's original soda "Guarana" in a beautiful botanical garden of Inhotim.

Enjoying Brasil's original soda "Guarana" in a beautiful botanical garden of Inhotim.

Adventuring through a gold mine in Ouro Preto (city named "Black Gold")

Adventuring through a gold mine in Ouro Preto (city named "Black Gold")

in the madness that is Carnaval

in the madness that is Carnaval

Headstanding in front of a beautiful church in the historic city of Ouro Preto

Headstanding in front of a beautiful church in the historic city of Ouro Preto

Enjoying Brasil's original soda "Guarana" in a beautiful botanical garden of Inhotim.

Enjoying Brasil's original soda "Guarana" in a beautiful botanical garden of Inhotim.

2 girls, 1 birthday. A Mexican and American celebrating their birthdays together on September 17th!

2 girls, 1 birthday. A Mexican and American celebrating their birthdays together on September 17th!

Artistically painted Volkswagen Bugs in Inhotim

Artistically painted Volkswagen Bugs in Inhotim

Surrounded by nature in Inhotim

Surrounded by nature in Inhotim

Arrival in the airport meeting my first host family!

Arrival in the airport meeting my first host family!

Family photo with new member, Bacon the kitten!

Family photo with new member, Bacon the kitten!

First time at new house and meeting my YEO and his son who went on exchange in Orlando!

First time at new house and meeting my YEO and his son who went on exchange in Orlando!

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entry-138-917

Taking a stroll in Lagoa de Pampulha

Taking a stroll in Lagoa de Pampulha

Sitting with some flowers at Lagoa de Pampulha

Sitting with some flowers at Lagoa de Pampulha

Posing with my American flag at my city's soccer/futbol field, Mineirao

Posing with my American flag at my city's soccer/futbol field, Mineirao

A beautiful place to meditate- Lagoa de Pampulha

A beautiful place to meditate- Lagoa de Pampulha

Everyone together coming up with ways to help the France tragedy

Everyone together coming up with ways to help the France tragedy

One of the first times all of the students of the club met each other

One of the first times all of the students of the club met each other

Rotary Club Padre Eustaquio meets every Thursday night at 8pm at the San Francisco Flat

Rotary Club Padre Eustaquio meets every Thursday night at 8pm at the San Francisco Flat

Rotary club celebration at a Feijoada

Rotary club celebration at a Feijoada

More from the feijoada

More from the feijoada

Members of our club together wearing our shirts and showing our Rotary pride!

Members of our club together wearing our shirts and showing our Rotary pride!

Exchange students sitting and trying to understand the Portuguese

Exchange students sitting and trying to understand the Portuguese

Halloween party with the kids of Plug Minas!

Halloween party with the kids of Plug Minas!

Poisoned apple from Snow White

Poisoned apple from Snow White

Exchange students celebrating Halloween together in Brazil

Exchange students celebrating Halloween together in Brazil

A dramatic scene on Halloween!!

A dramatic scene on Halloween!!

Christmas lights at Praca da Liberdade

Christmas lights at Praca da Liberdade

Christmas acroyoga at Parque Mangabeiras

Christmas acroyoga at Parque Mangabeiras

Christmas night with family at Praca da Liberdade

Christmas night with family at Praca da Liberdade

Christmas party with Rotary and exchange students

Christmas party with Rotary and exchange students

Christmas acroyoga at Parque Mangabeiras

Christmas acroyoga at Parque Mangabeiras

Christmas in the summer in Brazil

Christmas in the summer in Brazil

Christmas breakfast at host Dad's house

Christmas breakfast at host Dad's house

Acroyoga everyday!

Acroyoga everyday!

Elle - Outbound to Brazil 2015-2016

  • Elle, outbound to Brazil

    Christmas and New Year's was rough to be without my family for the first time. On Christmas Eve my parents in Florida were at my cousin's house where all my family was, and I got to talk to my aunt, uncle, grandparents, and other more distant relatives in my family. This is a time we always spend every year eating and exchanging presents together. I got to video call with them for a little bit and experience that time with them from a far. All my family had sent me packages for Christmas, so the next morning I video called with my parents and brother as I watched them open their presents and they watched me open mine. It was an emotional morning, some tears were shed, for it was so meaningful how much effort they made to keep me involved and still feel together, although I was missing that Christmas morning hug and kiss from them. This is the hard part of being on exchange. But this is the part of exchange that also makes us grow up and mature so quickly. We grasp on tightly to our new independence.

    For New Year's, I got to go with my host family on a road trip to Sao Paulo city, one of the most famous cities in Brazil, where I got to see some tourist points of the city and also have the opportunity to meet up with my friend Kam, from Orlando, Florida, making his exchange there! He introduced me to some of the other exchange students living there as well, which is a neat comparison to see how life in a different city can be for them.

    For the actual celebration of New Year's, we went 3 hours more to the city of Sao Sebastiao, where I got to swim in the ocean at the beach for the first time on my exchange. Being a Florida girl, I was ever so grateful, for that may have been a cure for any homesickness I may have had. New Year's Eve night, the tradition for Brazilians is to wear white clothing as a sign of purity or peace for the oncoming year, wear brand new underwear to start the year fresh, and then jump over 7 waves in the ocean and make 7 wishes. On the beach there was candles set all around the ground, and people had white flowers to send out into the ocean to a sea god. To top it all off we went swimming in our white dresses under the sky of marvelous fireworks. It was a New Year's Eve I will never forget.


  • Elle, outbound to Brazil

    Every country has it's own ways of celebrating holidays, and of course many countries won't have the same holidays and have others we may never had heard of. Brazil recognizes many of the holidays that America celebrates, but more often in the form of having an excuse for more "festas". The more "festas" the merrier right? The holidays Brazil and America have related to each other are New Year's, Christmas, Good Friday, Easter, Labor Day, Mother's/Father's Day, Valentine's Day, and Independence Day, with some dates varying from ours. Considering Halloween isn't a very recognized holiday, it felt special being able to still celebrate it with the students of Plug Minas, a school us exchange students participated in volunteer work assisting them learn English, and they would in return help us with our Portuguese. Good friends and memories were made here, and a very fun Halloween dance party as well.


  • Elle, outbound to Brazil

    My Rotary Club Padre Eustaquio meets every Thursday night at 8:00pm at the San Francisco Flat in the central part of my city, Belo Horizonte. My club has 5 other exchange students: a girl from Canada, a girl from Belgium, a girl from Taiwan, a boy from Poland, and a boy from Germany. It's a time for us to challenge how well we know our Portuguese while the presenters go to the front of the room and talks to us, and us the opportunity to test our language speaking skills as well as we talk to the club about our experiences in Brazil such as our family, school life, friends, activities we enjoy doing, etc. It's also been nice getting to know the future outbounds as they prepare for their journeys.


  • Elle, outbound to Brazil

    My first month in Brazil was awesome. I remember the exhilarating feeling of stepping off the plane, feeling a little frantic about not getting lost, trying to find my host family, make a good impression, look nice and all. I embraced them in my arms for the first time, hug and pecked on the cheek the Brazilian way, and feeling the sunshine hit on me as I admired the environment of my new city around me when I stepped outside. At that time Brazil was still in Spring, and the light air felt refreshing after a hot summer in Florida. As we drove off to encounter the new place I would be calling home for the next 6 months, the first markings of culture shock began to hit me: the roads made of stone made for a bumpy ride, all the streets went up and down and curved and sideways and in infinite directions, the Brazilians had their own kind of "driving habits", I could already tell I was in for quite the experience here. And that, I was. I have adapted to this and many other changes similarly to become one with a new culture.


  • Elle, outbound to Brazil

    I've been a bad exchange student and haven't put sent any journals as I have been 6 months into my exchange- I have been just having way too much fun here! I am now making some down time to share everything about my adventure I have not yet to share.

    Here are some photos from my Brazil Rotary Exchange Student Orientation week in the mid of September 2015. I got to spend my 19th birthday with another 30 some exchange students from around the world going through the same emotions and experiences as me now, and how great it felt to open up and bond as we began our journey of learning the culture and language of Brazil.

    During this week, we stayed in a "sleep away" camp type of place in the city of Contagem, and we spent our mornings studying our new language: Portuguese, day time traveling to Minas Gerais tourist cities of Inhotim, Mariana, and Mariana, and then our nights playing "ice breaker" games.

    I can't believe how long it's been since that week already, and what an impact it has made on me.

    To see my homepage and some photos click HERE


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