Savannah Charbonneau

Brazil

Hometown: Sanford, Florida
School: Seminole High School - Sanford
Sponsor District : District 6980
Sponsor Club: Sanford, Florida
Host District: 4500
Host Club: The Rotary Club of NORBREX

 

My Bio


My name is Savannah Charbonneau. I was born in North Carolina but raised in Orlando, FL. I am the middle child of three and I am a Senior in high school this year. I live in two houses because my parents are divorced so I am constantly moving around. I love to keep busy. In my spare time I coach a cheer team or work at one of my two jobs. I am in many clubs at my school including the National Honor Society and I am on the Varsity Cheer squad as one of the captains. I have a very outgoing and sarcastic personality. I have four dogs, two at my mom's and two at my dad's. I love animals and being outside.

I always have a smile on my face because everything happens for a reason. I love adventures and exploring any free time I get. I want to become an exchange student to better my knowledge of the world around me and to get the opportunity to experience the Brazilian culture. I hope to accomplish a lot this upcoming year. One main thing I hope to accomplish is to meet new people that I will have lifelong friendships with.


Lets do this!!

Lets do this!!

In the Orlando International Airport

In the Orlando International Airport

Saying goodbye to my momma

Saying goodbye to my momma

My AMAZING family

My AMAZING family

First lunch with my sister and cousin!

First lunch with my sister and cousin!

Praia dos Carneiros

Praia dos Carneiros

The American inbounds of the NORBREX district(we did the jumping picture best)

The American inbounds of the NORBREX district(we did the jumping picture best)

One of my favorite pictures of the Rotary Band!

One of my favorite pictures of the Rotary Band!

You can always find me upside-down! (Praia dos Carneiros)

You can always find me upside-down! (Praia dos Carneiros)

Best Class at Damas!!

Best Class at Damas!!

The beautiful Olinda!

The beautiful Olinda!

Teaching Brazilians how to stunt

Teaching Brazilians how to stunt

Governments Band

Governments Band

HAPPY HOLI

HAPPY HOLI

view from my awesome room

view from my awesome room

sand dollars everywhere at the beaches

sand dollars everywhere at the beaches

Bruna & Ana! both former exchange students that went to the US

Bruna & Ana! both former exchange students that went to the US

My sister and I skipped school to go to the mall (don't tell out parents)

My sister and I skipped school to go to the mall (don't tell out parents)

First Gymnastics show with my whole family there supporting me!!

First Gymnastics show with my whole family there supporting me!!

my love for these flags is crazy

my love for these flags is crazy

because its never too early for christmas decorating...right?

because its never too early for christmas decorating...right?

Brazil vs. America soccer game!

Brazil vs. America soccer game!

Caroline and I's thanksgiving feast

Caroline and I's thanksgiving feast

CHRISTMAS DECORATING!!

CHRISTMAS DECORATING!!

have I mentioned how much I love gymnastics?

have I mentioned how much I love gymnastics?

Some cheerleaders that I coach here in Brazil<3

Some cheerleaders that I coach here in Brazil<3

Joao Pessoa w/ the family

Joao Pessoa w/ the family

Arena Pernambuco- where 8 world cup soccer games were played including USA vs. Germany!!

Arena Pernambuco- where 8 world cup soccer games were played including USA vs. Germany!!

The lights at night are unreal. (this should go on the RYE homepage because it's that amazing)

The lights at night are unreal. (this should go on the RYE homepage because it's that amazing)

Riomar with Caroline and Nicoline

Riomar with Caroline and Nicoline

Praia de Carneiros

Praia de Carneiros

Forte de Copacabana- Rio de Janeiro

Forte de Copacabana- Rio de Janeiro

Praia de Boa Viagem

Praia de Boa Viagem

Pão de Açucar- Rio de Janeiro

Pão de Açucar- Rio de Janeiro

Cristo Redentor- Rio de Janeiro

Cristo Redentor- Rio de Janeiro

Maracanã Stadium- Rio de Janeiro

Maracanã Stadium- Rio de Janeiro

Praia de Carneiros

Praia de Carneiros

Sunset in the Amazon Rainforest

Sunset in the Amazon Rainforest

Planting Mango trees in my RYE shirt

Planting Mango trees in my RYE shirt

5 meter long Anaconda

5 meter long Anaconda

Journals: Savannah - Brazil 2015-16

  • Savannah, outbound to Brazil 2015-2016

    Trying to avoid writing journals because it makes me sad to think about how little time I have left. Since my last journal in February so many things have happened. The three major things I’ll be writing about are my birthday, my sister coming, and my trip to the amazon! To start, my 19th birthday was by far one of the best birthdays I’ve ever had. It was on a Monday and right when I walked into school I had a group of people hugging me and singing. When I walked into my classroom my whole class had decorated the room and sang happy birthday to me and I couldn’t stop smiling.

    During our break all of my friends threw a surprise party for me with food and a huge bouquet of beautiful roses. After school I went to my favorite sushi restaurant for lunch with my friend Caroline and host sister Luana for lunch. That night I went to gymnastics and they had another surprise party for me there and after I went to my favorite burger place for dinner. It was such an amazing day to experience all of the love from my family and friends here and experience my birthday like no other with a different culture and language.

    My family also helped me to throw a birthday party. We went around and bought decorations and invited lots of friends and best of all was that sister came for my party. It was amazing for my sister to meet all of my friends and experience a Brazilian birthday party. The week after my birthday I spent with my sister. It was almost like a game of how much I can show my sister of my life here in such a short amount of time. We went all over and I showed her some of my favorite places in Recife. Saying goodbye was definitely hard but it was amazing to be able to see her.

    This past week I went on the amazon trip and it was one of the most incredible amazing experiences I’ve ever had. We spent the first two days in hotels going trekking and seeing the city and the last 6 days we spent on a boat. Our group as so big that we had 3 boats for all of us to sleep on. Each boat had 20-24 people on it and throughout that time every single person on the boat was like family to me we all got so close. On this trip I saw and experienced things I will never have the opportunity to see again in my life. I held and played with a sloth, anaconda, alligator, and pink dolphin. We also went canoeing and swam in the river. One of the nights we actually slept in the Amazon Rainforest, which was actually terrifying but so incredible. Like how many people get to say they have slept in the Amazon?!?! Going on this trip was one of the biggest things I have been looking for ever since I found out I was coming to brazil and it was something I will never forget.

    Being in the last few months of my exchange I often sit in class or at home wondering where the time went. In a blink of an eye I’m speaking a different language and have a completely new life and soon I will just have to leave it all behind. Leaving is something I can’t quite wrap my head around yet. I’m not ready to face reality and go back to speaking boring English every day but on the bright side, I have learned and discovered more about myself this past year than I would’ve ever known if I stayed in the states. These last few months will be spent with my family and friends here; making more memories that I will cherish for the rest of my life.


  • Savannah, outbound to Brazil 2015-2016

    Being half way through my exchange I want to go back and explain my process of how I got to where I am today. Sometimes it amazes me to look back and realize how fast life goes. I got selected as a student to study abroad in November of 2014. The time of waiting from the interview to the call from Scott was horrible. Every day my stomach turned more and more. I was pulling into Chipotle to get lunch when I received the call from Scott telling me that I got accepted. I walked into Chipotle with puffy eyes and the biggest smile on my face. When I got back home I told my mom “you’ll miss me next year” and she automatically started crying (at the time I’m pretty sure they were tears of fear).

    Reveal dinner was a night full of smiles and strangers. So many kids that barley even knew each other’s names. Then came my first outbound orientation, which was fun and boring and stressful all in one. Little did I know that was just the beginning. We started having monthly district meetings, which brought all of us together. Having a group of people go through the same thing as you makes the whole process much easier. Managing the assignments and high school and work got really difficult for me but I figured it out. I didn’t realize how important the assignments were until I arrived in Brazil. (If you’re reading this take the assignments seriously!!) When I finished school and my departure came closer I did as much as possible with my family. It all seems so surreal until you are in the airport saying goodbye. My goodbye was easily one of the hardest most exciting moments of my life.

    I strongly feel that Rotary gives you two major things... a family and new start. I have formed such a bond with so many people that I honestly cannot see my life without. My best friend is from Denmark and Denmark is really far from Florida (We are already planning dates for her to come visit me next year). My host sister has grown such a place in my heart as well as my host mom and dad. I have been fortunate enough to stay with the same family all year (something I asked for). I was matched perfectly to this family and I cannot wait to finish out my exchange year with them by my side.

    Recently I went on a trip to Rio de Janeiro, which was arguably one of the best experiences I’ve had on my exchange so far. I saw and experienced a different part of Brazil from the thousands of people, the STARBUCKS, the different culture, to the style of dance (I cannot samba). The last night there my phone was stolen out of my room while I spelt from one of my fellow roommates. As upset as I was I didn’t let that ruin how amazing the overall trip was. I am very thankful to have had my gopro videos and pictures. New Years was amazing because of the different culture and traditions that correspond with the holiday. Everyone dresses in all white and jumps 7 waves for good luck when the clock strikes 12. The holiday is very family orientated and special. I loved having my whole family around and celebrating with them (and the food). I just started school again and I will start gymnastics again next week. Life is great here in Brazil.

    One of my biggest goals that I wanted to accomplish while on exchange was to find myself. Taking that leap of leaving everything for a year to study abroad was one of the hardest and most rewarding decisions I’ve ever made. I have learned more about life in the past year than I did in all of high school. I have made lifelong friends and been experienced to a culture and whole new world that only few are lucky to experience. With all of that being said… Happy 5 months (and 3 weeks) and thank you so much Rotary for changing my life.

    To see my homepage and some photos click HERE


  • Savannah, outbound to Brazil

    Feliz tres mesesssss!!! Feliz natal!!!! (Happy 3 months and merry Christmas) I have such a hard time writing these journals because I never know how to express my feelings for Brazil in writing. I’m a very vocal person meaning I love to talk so that is definitely helping me to learn Portuguese. Unfortunately I am also a very lazy person so that isn’t helping much. With everything going on around the world I go to sleep and wake up worried and nervous.

    Some of my bestfriends are all over the world right now. Luckily Rotary has built an amazing foundation and the strength of all of us abroad helps me feel content. I love knowing that they are all safe. With the holidays around the corner I know this will be really hard for me because I am such a family girl; but I also know that I have built a strong relationship with my host family and they will make it amazing and show me the different Christmas culture.

    For Thanksgiving my friend Caroline (from Kentucky) and I cooked an American thanksgiving meal. The flavor turned out amazing except everything looks really gross. For example: we made a sweet potato casserole but the sweet potatoes here in Brazil are green instead of a pretty orange. So the whole casserole looked like throw up (but it tasted so good). It felt amazing creating some American food and having our host families taste it.

    This weekend Caroline and I plan to do an early Christmas dinner for our host families including desserts and gravy (the whole 9 yards). This meal will be bigger and better than our Thanksgiving meal. My host sister and I have also been Christmas decorating around the house making snowmen out of socks and tree ornaments and more! Christmas isn’t as much of a big deal here as it is in the US. The families don’t decorate their houses besides a small fake Christmas tree so at first I was sad because I’m used to the whole lights everywhere happy crazy people shopping Christmas. But I decided not to get discouraged at this so I showed my family how to make some really cool decorations that they’ll keep long after my exchange. My amazing family will always have a strong piece in my heart. They truly are perfect for me. Until next time! T’chau ☺

    To see my home page and some photos click HERE


  • Savannah, outbound to Brazil

    Happy 2 months!!!!!!! I swear I wrote my last journal yesterday. I honestly cannot believe it has already been 2 months. Before I arrived in Brazil I knew the major cultural differences that everyone would know if you Google searched it. But I had no idea about some of the smaller differences… Differences you really don’t know until you are living in your country. Dogs here are not very common. One of my biggest struggles was getting used to going from a house with 5 dogs (in the US) to going to a house with no dogs here in Brazil (no more dog hair on all of my clothes). Another difference is the celebrations. When Brazilians celebrate the parties start around 10pm and last until 4am-5am (which is much later than I usually stay awake). The dancing and the loud music makes you forget about the time until you check your phone and its 3:30AM (I then sleep until dinner time the next day)!!

    These two months have been the most emotional months of my life. I cry and smile more than I ever have before. Everyday something new happens. Some sort of surprise whether its holding a 4 week old puppy or being extremely underdressed for a very dressy dinner (sorry) I never know what to expect and that is honestly the joy of exchange. Live day by day and have no expectations because if you have no expectations you can never be disappointed.

    I haven’t gotten sick in over a month, which makes me feel like superman (also makes me feel fat because I eat nonstop). My family also loves bike rides!! Literally loves them... 22miles of love every week ☺ Brazilians love working out and waking up early (two things I’m not very good at) but I’ve adapted and wake up at 5am every weekend to go running with my host dad! I feel like I could write pages and pages of stuff but when I go to actually write my exact thoughts are “wait how do I say this in English….?” So that’s why this is shorter. I’ll write more next month!!! Tchau

    To see my home page and some photos click HERE


  • Savannah, outbound to Brazil

    I’d like to start this with the fact that I’ve already broken the promise I made to myself of writing every two weeks. The last thing on my mind is writing about all the amazing things I’m experiencing. I’d write a novel if I said everything I’ve done so far here so I’ll just list some of my favorite moments.

    The day after I arrived in Brazil I got on a bus with some fellow exchange students and drove 2 hours to our first “inbound orientation” at the beautiful Maragogi beach. I met 50 other exchange students from all over the world that are on the same adventure and feel the same way that I do. Four days into my exchange, I got a stomach virus and failed to eat or drink for 48 hours (something anyone could forget to do!!) which led me to visit the hospital so they could tell me “you need to drink. A lot. And eat. A lot.” So over the next few days I did what I do best, I ate (and drank). Three days later my host dad asked me if I wanted to go on a short bike ride. I felt better so I jumped up and said yes. 12 miles later I couldn’t feel my legs but somehow they managed to work long enough for me to jump into the pool and swim a few laps.

    Starting school was like everyone finding out Miley Cyrus is actually Hannah Montana. Everyone knew exactly who I was and couldn’t contain their excitement when I walked into class. Some of my favorite questions/comments I’ve heard so far would be “Do you live at Disney?” “You’re a cheerleader?!?!” and “You’re life is so much like High School Musical”.

    Everyone was so welcoming and understanding my first week at school. My school comes to life at night with all of the sports that take places so I began volleyball and gymnastics. I fell in love with gymnastics so instead of doing both volley and gymnastics, I decided to do 2 classes of gymnastics. Besides the fact that I am constantly sore, I love it and the girls in my classes so much.

    My host dad Bruno shares the same love for music that I have so he’s been taking me under his wing when it comes to band and music here. There is a public school in a poor community here that Rotary Built many years ago that is known for their band. They don’t have many instruments but the ones they do have are played every day of the week. Kids in the band range from ages 10-18 and they are all equally good at playing. Bruno helps a lot with this band in getting them better known around Recife. Last week they had a competition and I had the opportunity to go on the court with them and take pictures of their winning performance. It was so exciting and fun.

    Brazil is beautiful and I am so lucky to call it home.
    Until next month (or less)
    Sav

    To see my  home page and some photos click HERE

  • Savannah, outbound to Brazil

    As I lay in the bed I now call my own I think about how real this all is. But let me back up some, my name is Savannah Charbonneau. I am a Rotary Youth Exchange outbound student in Brazil. When I started this adventure around Christmas time, I had no idea what I was doing but I knew one thing. I was excited. I was excited to find out what country I was going too, and then I was excited to find out where in that country, and my host family, and best of all. I was excited to find out when I was leaving. After months of waiting for my visa and my orientation in Brazil coming sooner and sooner I began to worry that my visa wasn’t going to come in time for my first orientation. The “excitement” kicked in when my visa came Tuesday and I discovered that I was leaving Wednesday.

    Yes, the next day. So as any great procrastinator like myself would know. I hadn’t packed yet. 6 hours and 125 lbs later I was packed and ready to begin my adventure. Hours before heading to the airport I lost my appetite and began feeling nauseous (aka nervous). I slept on the way to the airport and cried as said goodbye to my comfort zone and walked through security. Still feeling unsure, I sat on my aisle seat for my first flight to Miami (a 40 minute flight) and slept. I ran (literally) to my next gate where I walked straight on the plane to my window seat where I prepared myself to take on the 8-hour flight to Recife, Brazil.

    As you can probably guess, I slept 7 out of the 8 hours on the plane but when I woke up I did not feel well rested at all. Just nervous to go through customs and meet my family (and of course find my luggage). All went well my family is amazing. After sitting in traffic for an hour we reached my new apartment home, which is on the 25th floor. In love with the view and space I began to unpack my lifetime supply of t-shirts and shorts. My first lunch in Brazil I thought I was going to eat all the food it was so good. But now I find myself here, in this bed that I now call my own. Smiling. Just excited for what is soon to come.

    Visit Savanna's full webpage HERE

     

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