Jonathan Kyle

Brazil

Hometown: Saint Augustine, Florida
School: Saint Augustine High
Sponsor District: 6970
Sponsor Club: Sunrise Rotary
Host District: 4650
Host Club: Timbo-Perola do Vale

 

My Bio


Olá! meu nome é Jonathan Kyle and I am an exchange student to Brazil for 2016-2017. I come from the small town of Aurora, Indiana, and in that small town I lived on a large farm. My parent were never afraid of me going off too far or hurting myself (at least they never showed it). I have always been an adventurer as long as I can remember exploring woods since I could walk. My I moved to Saint Augustine when I was the age of 7 and have loved it in my little historical heaven. I am a sophomore at Saint Augustine High with most of my classes being honors. I love paintball and extreme sports in general. I’m willing to try anything that seems fun. I like to cook a little every now and again, but I get frustrated when it doesn’t go the way I expected. World Travel is in my family as my sister was in the Peace Corps and both my parents are ex-Marines. I am stoked to be going to Brazil as it was on my list but even if it wasn’t the few things I have learned so far about it seem so awesome. I am truly thankful for Rotary and my parents for giving me this amazing opportunity to become fluent in a new culture and learn to love a new type of people. Obrigado!


Oktopijfest - Blumenau

Oktopijfest - Blumenau

First Host Family

First Host Family

Acai

Acai

Local beach

Local beach

Classic Exchange Student Photo

Classic Exchange Student Photo

Rotary Halloween Party

Rotary Halloween Party

Family Photo

Family Photo

Porto Belo

Porto Belo

Journals: Jonathan – Brazil 2016-17

  • Jonathan, outbound to Brazil

    Read more about Jonathan and all his blogs

    I can’t believe it’s almost Christmas. Time flies in Brazil! It has become increasingly difficult to speak and type in English so I will apologize in advance for my grammatical errors. Luckily I have spell check still. The culture here in Brazil is very different than that in the US and as I have been here 4 months I have learned a lot about this Brazilian culture. Just like the US, Brazil is a very large country with many sub-cultures and different social norms so when I speak of my opinions and experiences with Brazilians I am not talking about all of Brazil or all of the Brazilians in general.

    My Portuguese is coming along quite well. I have had my first dream in Portuguese a couple of weeks ago. I can understand people and their conversations in the streets when I walk by without trying too hard. I also have to write journals for my Rotary district here in Brazil and I completed the second one in complete Portuguese. The Brazilians here never think that I’m an American! When I talk to someone I have never met before and they notice my accent they always ask if I’m from Portugal or Argentina. I consider that a compliment because those countries are a lot more similar than the US is. What’s even better is to see their reaction when I explain how I learned how to speak almost fluently in four months.

    It’s amazing what just talking can get you, all the things you can learn. I was on the way back from a Rotary RYLA event in the largest city in my state, Joinville, on the bus a met a German man. We talked for the whole two hours to his city and I got his contact and he said that if I was ever in the city I could come over. This is just one of the examples but for sure it’s better to talk than just stay on facebook. Thank God my phone was dead.
    I changed host families at the end of December. I have my parents who each have their own business. I have a 19 year old host brother, his name is “Deyvid”. I also have a 17 year old host sister, Paola. She already went on exchange to Thailand the last year. I’m liking my new host family, but I feel more like a friend here than an actual part of the family. I still talk to my first host family and sometimes eat lunch with them.

    School's out for summer here in South America! I don’t have to go back till February. I still go to the gym but I sometimes get a little depressed because my small city doesn’t have much to do. I like to travel to the other cities where my friends stay. Overall, I’m still alive, enjoying Brazil and all of its differences. Missing my family, friends, and people in The States,

    Until next time.

  • Jonathan, outbound to Brazil

    Read more about Jonathan and all his blogs

    Oiii everyone in the U.S. bom dia! It’s really crazy for me thinking nearly two months of my exchange are already over and I’m writing my first journal. Of course first I’d like to thank Rotary and my host club Sunrise Rotary Club of St. Aug. I can’t express how much this has impacted my life already because even I don’t know exactly.

    For all of the future outbound exchangers who will be going through these journals excited you just got chosen to go on exchange CONGRATS! I’ll be writing my journal keeping you guys in mind. The first week of exchange was the most stressful, difficult week of my life. I finished packing my bags the day before I left for exchange, which was fine I didn’t forget anything. The next day, at the airport, I said goodbye to my family and took a leap of faith to get on the plane. If you expect to study your language on the plane before you land, don’t, it’s not going to happen. I wasn’t very nervous. I was prepared. I had talked to my host family and I had a Rotex who had been to Miami on exchange waiting for me with them at the airport. I landed in Sao Paulo and had a one hour layover to get to my next gate. Sao Paulo is a fairly huge airport, without a metro like Atlanta, that makes it an even bigger airport. I went through customs with my luggage and they st opped me… I had no idea why, but I’m a calm person so I wasn’t worried or stressed. I opened my bags and let them look. 

    I was told Brazilian customs officers were mean to Americans because American customs are mean to everyone, luckily I didn’t have this experience. However, my customs officer didn’t speak english. They were looking at the two brand new Iphone SE’s and the Apple TV I was bringing for my sister’s friends (Brazilians) in a fairly close city to where I’m staying in SC. I had no idea what was going on at this point. The woman didn’t speak english, I was trying to explain that I was just an exchange student in the best Portuguese I had, I swore I wasn’t smuggling them in. (Apple products in BR cost 2x as much) My one hour was running out fast, she was going so slow! I showed her my ticket and pointed at the time on her computer and she just shrugged her shoulders. I started getting desperate, tapping, and sweat ing. I started thinking irrationally, looking over at the guards contemplating if I could just grab my bags and run past them. Maybe they’d let me go if I told them Donald Trump was my Uncle? I started making promises to God, “I swear God, I will convert every local I see.” All these things were rushing through my head as I watched her type on her computer. She gave me a paper saying I had to pay the equivalent to $400 in fines. I didn’t have that kind of money! I had my $300 emergency funds and a little money for food after being ripped off at the exchange counter. I had 17 minutes till my flight left, I didn’t even know where the gate was. Finally I just asked if I could leave my bags there. Now all that I thought was I could not miss my flight. One shoe untied, hiking backpack slung over my shoulder, blazer unbuttoned, Florida hat on backwards, I was running as fast as I could through the largest airport in South America. I look at one of the screens and it says my flights name and “FINAL CALL” in large red letters. I immediately start regretting not working out more over the summer. After running a 5k, coming in last place for my plane I made it on, barley. All I could think, sitting in between two Brazilian men, was, “how am I going to explain this?” Moral of the story, if you’re going to smuggle in electronics make sure you have more than a hour layover and take them out of the boxes. I didn’t stress when I was on the ground. I knew there was nothing more I could do but wait and trust. My host family and Rotary were amazing throughout the entire process, trying to get my bags back. My host dad who is a Rotarian, and doesn’t speak english, couldn’t really understand why I was so dumb, but paid the initial fines anyway. Later my sister’s friends paid him back anyway and said even with all the fines it was still cheaper. This was just one of the initial challenges exchange had for me.

    Over the next couple of weeks my Portuguese was getting better. I study almost everyday in school when I couldn’t understand what the teachers were saying. The kids in my school were really welcoming. My school is really small with just 300 students. I believe there are two locations but the high school is on top of a cell phone store and other smaller stores next the the largest street in the city. My city is not a large one. I live in Timbó with a population of a little less than 40,000. I go to the gym almost everyday and have volleyball practice every Monday.

    I thought going on exchange would be hard, but mostly I thought it would be a vacation. Youth exchange is not a vacation many days are spent bored waiting for the weekend, and school is just school, not very different from the US. One of the most important parts of exchange is keeping a positive attitude and knowing even though you don’t know when or where things will get better things always work out. There’s so much more, but it would take me all day to write it, and I’m in Brazil! I’m not going to stay in my room all day and type. Peace! 

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