Devon L'Heureux

 Brazil

Hometown: Tallahassee, Florida
School: Leon High school
Sponsor District : District 6940
Sponsor Club: , Florida
Host District: 4640
Host Club: The Rotary Club of Araucaria


My Bio


Oi future friends and family of the RYE community! My name is Devon L’Heureux and I’m a graduating junior at Leon High School. I’ve always loved learning languages and meeting new people, so I think the life of an exchange student fits me well! I live with my two adorable 11 year old sisters, as well as my loving mom and dad. I am a bit of an animal lover so we have two gerbils, a fish, and my cutie patootie cat, Pusheen. Trying to finish school in three years has definitely made my usual day pretty busy. I do dedicate a lot of time to the chorus groups at Leon a well as my Latin club. I have two part time jobs, one as a tutor at Kumon, and the other hostessing at a Mexican restaurant. While being a hostess is fun, I absolutely adore my job at Kumon! I think that teaching children is definitely one of my passions and I hope I can have a career somewhere in that field. In terms of some of my hobbies, I enjoy listening to Kpop, having fun with my friends, learning new languages, and learning instruments. I tried to teach myself guitar but I have really small hands so my recent introduction with the ukulele seems to be proving fruitful! I suppose I now have a new hobby after finding out that I was picked to go to Brazil! Surely like many exchange students before me, I immediately went home and began learning Portuguese! Thrilled would be an understatement to describe how excited I am to go! Though it may be challenging, I feel like I will be able to board that plane well prepared and ready to start the next chapter in my life.

My Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class is my favorite activity of the week!

My Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class is my favorite activity of the week!

The amazing Botanical Gardens of Curitiba, Brazil!

The amazing Botanical Gardens of Curitiba, Brazil!

All of the other exchange students on our trip to Foz do Iguassu

All of the other exchange students on our trip to Foz do Iguassu

Me walking in the Dia do Independencia parade with my blazer on!

Me walking in the Dia do Independencia parade with my blazer on!

These fuzzy little guys were closer to puppies tha wild animals as the Foz do Iguassu Cataratas.

These fuzzy little guys were closer to puppies tha wild animals as the Foz do Iguassu Cataratas.

A giant mosaic cross in my town's famous church,Paróquia São Pedro Apóstolo.

A giant mosaic cross in my town's famous church,Paróquia São Pedro Apóstolo.

The State flag, Brazil's flag, and the city's flag flying proudly in Foz do Iguassu.

The State flag, Brazil's flag, and the city's flag flying proudly in Foz do Iguassu.

The Oscar Niemeyer Museum in Curitiba, Brazil.

The Oscar Niemeyer Museum in Curitiba, Brazil.

Me, My host mom, and some of my Aunts posing in front of a wooden Christmas tree.

Me, My host mom, and some of my Aunts posing in front of a wooden Christmas tree.

My host dad gifting me "Gato" the Beta Fish.

My host dad gifting me "Gato" the Beta Fish.

My rubber chicken from Paraguay in from of the statue at Francisco Beltrao.

My rubber chicken from Paraguay in from of the statue at Francisco Beltrao.

My friend from India and I dressed up as Alice and The Mad Hatter for Halloween.

My friend from India and I dressed up as Alice and The Mad Hatter for Halloween.

My friend and the President of my host club watching the Christmas parade.

My friend and the President of my host club watching the Christmas parade.

a picture from my family's visit to Florianopolis.

a picture from my family's visit to Florianopolis.

My two host sisters and I walking through my uncles vineyards.

My two host sisters and I walking through my uncles vineyards.

A saint's shrine on the beaches of Itapema.

A saint's shrine on the beaches of Itapema.

Journals: Devon-Brazil Blog 2017-18

  • Devon, Outbound to Brazil

    How four months have flown by so quickly, I will never know. So much has happened in what seems like such a short time. As I’ve walked in the shoes of a Brazilian, I’ve seen myself change in more ways than one.

    For starters, I’ve become very bold in the time that I’ve been here. I have come across many chances for public speaking, and have earned opportunities because of this. Just last month, my Rotary club invited me to speak at a dinner with all of the Rotary Clubs in my city, as well as the Governor of our district. Wearing my blazer and a nice dress, I gave a speech in Portuguese detailing the importance of Rotary, as well as the importance of Rotary Youth Exchange. I was applauded for my efforts, and gained the recognition of the Governor. It was thrilling and empowering all the same.

    Due to me living in the Southern Hemisphere, summer is currently in full swing, regardless of it being December. Likewise, summer break has also started. Since I do not have school, I have had an abundance of time to experience my city. If you thought America was crazy about Christmas, you should see Brazil. In early November, my city decorated the whole downtown area, and had a giant Christmas parade. They then rented a Ferris wheel and a train tour. I was so flabbergasted by the amount of effort that went into the Christmas celebrations. I went to a town with a population of 4000 people that had a Christmas firework show that would trump many of America’s Fourth of July shows easily.

    Speaking of Christmas, for the first time in my 18 years alive, I spent the holidays with someone other than my family. It was a weird change, however, not a bad one. I spent Christmas by going to my host club president’s house, and celebrating until 1 in the morning. The next day, I exchanged gifts with my host parents, and then went to a party on a farm with all of their extended family. All 11 siblings of my host mom were there. We had Brazilian BBQ, known as Churrasco, as well as a buffet of desserts. The gift that I received for Christmas is both thoughtful and hilarious. I am always joking with my host mom that she needs a cat, which is usually shut down by laughter. For Christmas, my host mom gave me a Beta Fish that she appropriately named “Gato”, meaning cat. He is adorable, and I couldn’t be happier. I gifted my host mom a cute succulent plant, and I gave my host dad a Bible stand. Overall, it was a memorable Christmas.

    I absolutely love my host dad, but we don’t always have things to talk about. His whole life revolves around work, church, and soccer. Recently, however, I was able to have a really cool bonding experience with him. Though I am not religious, I was given a Bible that is in both Portuguese and English when I left for Brazil. I don’t use it often, so I decided to let my host dad borrow it since he was interested in learning English. I ended up sitting with him and teaching him English phrases from the Bible for well over an hour. There was no religion being pushed onto me, or forced conversations, purely me teaching English to my Brazilian host dad. I have felt much closer to my host dad ever since, and I feel more and more like I am part of the family. My host mom has even started calling me “Filha”, meaning daughter.

    Of course I have had days where all I want in the world is to smother my mom in hugs. I have had days where I miss my family so much that it hurts my chest. However, as I spend more and more time here, the more I feel like I never want to leave. I’m dreading the day that I will have to say goodbye, but as I creep on my fourth month in Brazil, I know that the fateful day is drawing closer as well. It’s a difficult reality when you have two homes. Both hold memories and loved ones. My life already will never be the same, both for the good and the bad. I hope to make many more memories in the months to come, now especially since they are numbered. I can’t wait to see what else my exchange has in store. Captains Log: This has been Devon L’Heureux, Brazilian in training, signing out for now.

    Click HERE to read more about Devon and all her blogs

  • Devon, Outbound to Brazil

    My goodness gracious! I can hardly believe that it has already been two months since I boarded a plane for Brazil! So many things have happened since I’ve arrived. I’ve seen amazing sights, met wonderful people, and learned more about Brazil and myself than I could have ever hoped! When I first arrived, I was greeted with many happy faces and warm welcomes. My host family had arranged a party for me, and invited many people who would soon come to be some of my very good friends. It took about a solid two weeks for me to finally settle in, as my first host family was not ready to receive me quite yet. As I spent my first weeks here learning basic phrases and adjusting to my surroundings, the cultural differences between The States and Brazil couldn’t have been more obvious than an Elephant in a Wal-Mart. I soon found myself trying to rewire my brain to do things that I had never thought about doing before. On of my initial challenges was trying to not forget that Brazilians don’t flush toilet paper, they throw it in a little waste basket next to you. I have had way too many close calls with clogged toilets in public bathrooms. Another cultural difference is that Brazil is a very touchy country. Extended family, friends, acquaintances, complete strangers, or all of the above need to be greeted with a hug and a kiss on the cheek. As someone who can fumble around awkwardly during such interactions, this was definitely a major adjustment on my part. As could be said about many other countries, the cultural differences change every aspect of your day, such as: needing to wear shoes inside, not making the “ok” sign with your hand, not letting your feet get wet, always needing the windows and doors open when it is daytime, and the list goes on. As an exchange student, I acknowledge that these are things that I must adjust to, and that I must use the slightly hilarious sounding mindset of “Be the Brazilian”.

    One common misconception about exchange is that it is all rainbows and butterflies; exchange is the extended yearlong vacation of a lifetime. Well have I got news for you. Exchange is a job, and a hard one at that. Yes, this year will probably be one of the best years of my life, and will surely change my future drastically. However, it is hard to leave your friends and family behind for a whole year. It is hard to not be able to express all of your opinions and feelings to those around you. It is hard to not understand anything on price tags, menus, billboards; even ramen instructions are difficult! I remember trying to order French fries at a restaurant for R$ 9,00, but because I didn’t understand the woman when she asked if I wanted to “Super Size” my order, I ended up with a family order of fries and a R$ 21,00 bill. However, I must say experiences like this end up being the memories that you take away, as you learn to become one with a different culture. I definitely treasure these moments, and I hope I continue to learn from my mistakes.

    Another bit about exchange that may not seem as too much of a shock, is homesickness. After settling in, getting into a routine, and getting out of the honeymoon phase of exchange, I realized that I really missed my family a lot more than I thought I would. I really started loathing being alone, because it made me miss home more and more. I then decided to stop being a soggy towel on the bathroom floor and find something that I really enjoyed! I soon joined a gym, where I became active in a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu group by accident, and it is now my favorite part of the week! Additionally, I have started taking part in my group’s community project where we teach younger children Jiu Jitsu every Saturday! I try to volunteer as often as possible, as I feel good inside with every lesson I teach and every practice I attend. I have made so many Brazilian friends from joining this group, and I feel stronger and more confident as well!

    Some valuable advice that I took away from ex-exchange student extraordinaire, Ashley Campbell, is to do as much with my host Rotary club as possible. Though it may seem boring at first, due to lack of language skills, these people will grow to be your life line, as well as the people who make or break your exchange. I have grown extremely close to my club members, as I have been invited to their children’s birthday parties, gone out to eat with them every Tuesday night, been invited to take trips out of state, and overall built a community of likeminded people who are there for me no matter what. My advice to aspiring exchange students is to attend your host club meetings religiously.

    In the two months that I’ve been here, I’ve already done so much! I would have to write a novel in order to properly describe the amazing experiences I’ve had. I’ve seen waterfalls that put Niagara to shame, seen architectural beauties that give their surroundings that Brazilian welcome, went jet skiing with another exchange student’s family, went long distance swimming in a crystal clear lake, and so many other adventures that would take too long to list. I am so thankful that I have the privilege of being here in Brazil, and if I could do it all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing. If I could say anything to those that helped me get here, it would be a great big THANK YOU!!! This has been your semi-normal captains log from your local Brazilian in training, Devon L’Heureux. Thank you for reading and see you next month, Tchau!

    Click HERE to read more about Devon and all her blogs

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