Em Hagglund

 Brazil

Hometown: Merritt Island, Florida
School: New Covenant
Sponsor District : District 6930
Sponsor Club: Rockledge, Florida
Host District: 4710
Host Club: The Rotary Club of Arapongas


My Bio


My name is Emily Hagglund, but I like to go by Em. I live with my parents and my two brothers, Zach and Drew. I live in Merritt Island, Florida; which is near Kennedy Space Center, but I’ve lived all over the country. I am currently homeschooled, but I play softball for my old school. In the past, I’ve been Class Secretary and Vice President, I was the Secretary for National Junior Honor Society, I was in FIRST Lego League Robotics for five years, was a part of Showstoppers for two years, in three school plays, and played for the middle school football team. In my spare time I like to play my guitars, bass, and ukulele, I also like to listen to music, watch sports, hang out with my friends, and go to the beach. I’m used to the American way and I want to experience other cultures and their way of life. I’ve always wanted to travel the world, and to live in another country, and I want to get out of my comfort zone and experience what the world has to offer. These are the reasons why I want to be an exchange student. I hope to accomplish many things while I am away. I hope that I grow as a person and learn who I really am, to learn their cuisine, their way of life, learn how people do things in Brazil compared to how we do things in America, and to make friendships that last a lifetime.

My district took a trip, and we hiked up a mountain.

Journals: Em-Brazil Blog 2017-18

  • Em, Outbound to Brazil

    Click HERE to read more about Em and all her blogs

    Even though it has only been just over a month since my last blog, a lot has happened. I went on my first Rotary trip to Pantanal and Bonito, I had my 19th birthday, and I am getting ready to go to the beach with my host family and one of the other inbounds here from Mexico. I can't believe how quickly this year has gone, I have been here for 115 days and it feels like yesterday I arrived but in reality I am over ¼ through my exchange year. I was really homesick for the first 3 months of my exchange and I still get home sick every now and then, but now I am loving it. I am not too sure if I will get homesick over the holidays just because I have so much going on, like I live for the beach on Thursday for a week, and I leave for the beach again with my second host family on Dec. 20th, and then on Jan. 4th I leave for the Northeast trip which is a month. I would say though, it was very weird not doing anything on Halloween, but I was also traveling that day too so I wasn't so homesick. This month I will have only gone to school for 5 days this whole month, yeah that seems crazy, but for the first 2 weeks I was traveling with Rotary, and then we had Wednesday off because of a holiday, Thursday my school had testing so I didn't have to go, and then on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of this week they have testing and Friday is also the last day of school and we're on summer break. Which is also crazy to think about, another summer break when I just had one 4 months ago, and then when I get back I will have another one, that is 3 summer breaks in a matter of 1 year!

    The Rotary trip I went on to Pantanal and Bonito was amazing, and it went by so fast and it felt like a dream that it feels like a dream to me. I went on the 2nd group which means I got to meet the other two groups that went, so I got to meet all 100 exchange students who went on the Pantanal and Bonito trip. The trip in all was the best part of my exchange so far. I also got to meet people from all over the world! Some of them are only here for a short term, 4 month exchange and my friends and I were talking and we can't even imagine what they must be going through, that they have to go back in less than a month and if I were them, I would not be ready for it. But I also made friends with them, and everyone else on the trip, and now I truly have friends all over the world.

    My district here in Brazil is really small and we only have 16/17 exchange students in all, and we're about to lose 4 of them. For 3 of them, they started in January/February so their time is up. The other one though, who is from America, has to go back because he has an internship that he needs to do, but he might come back in May for 6 weeks. It's hard to believe that when I got here, the 3 who did a calendar exchange were half way through their exchange year, and now 2 of them are leaving in just over a week. That means I am almost half way through my exchange year and I honestly can't believe it. I really don't want to go home, because I will be leaving my home here. I know it's a long time away but I just can't believe how quickly time goes by when you are having fun. I will be switching families on Dec. 14th, 4 ½ months through my exchange. Wow, that is really hard to believe. Brazil is my new home and I can't believe how quickly time is going by.

  • Em, Outbound to Brazil

    Click HERE to read more about Em and all her blogs

    It’s been over 11 weeks since I arrived in Brazil, and I can tell you I could not believe my eyes when I saw 11 weeks. Life on exchange has gone by so fast and I want it to slow down. Living in brazil for almost the past 3 months has changed my life forever. I have already made great friends that’ll last forever. When you live in another country you must change your way of life and your way of thinking, and it teaches you so much more about the world. This is the best choice that I have ever made, even through the difficult times.

    I pretty much have a daily routine down, I wake up at 6:30, head to school that starts at 7:05 and walk home after school around 1:10, school ends at 12:50 but I stay for a for minutes to talk with my friends. Then on Mondays I go to Portuguese class at 2, and on Tuesdays I go to volunteer work at 2, and on the other days I stay at my house. I live in the city of Arapongas and there are a lot of stray dogs in this city and every day on my walk home from school, the same dog follows me to my house.

    For my volunteer work, I go to Das Damas, which is a place for elementary age girls can go if their parents work all day. I go for 2 hours a week on Tuesdays and I help teach them how to play the guitar. These girls are some of the sweetest girls that I’ve meant in my life and they always want me to teach them words in English. I also go to Interact on a weekly basis and I go whenever they have volunteer work. A few weeks into my exchange we went to a nursey/day care for underprivileged kids, and I went to the nursey to play with the babies and when they went down for their nap I went to play with some of the older kids. I learned with this is that even with a language barrier, you can still make underprivileged kids smile and laugh.

    I have gone to Londrina (which is the biggest city in my district) which is about a 40-minute drive to hang out with the exchange students there two times. I am in love with that city and I love going there, especially since my city I’m in is so small. We went out with some of the exchange students but also with Brazilians and I have made so many great friends there and they want me to come every weekend, but I can’t because getting there is not easy, and the transportation here sucks. I also sometimes go out with my friends here in Arapongas but it’s difficult because my friends here are still in high school and they study a lot because here in Brazil you must take a big test to be able to get into college. I went to São Paulo within my first week of being here to drop off my host sister Ana, who is on exchange in Nebraska and I just got back from the beach with my second host family. We were there for a week and I loved it so much, it has been the best week of my exchange so far! That I didn’t want to come back. But school starts up again tomorrow and I am not looking forward to it. Like school is okay I guess but like I said people here study so much.

    I have my first Rotary trip on Oct. 31st- Nov. 9th and I’m going to Pantanal and Bonito, and then on Nov. 15th we have our first district trip, and I’m also switching host families in November. Oh, and we also start our summer break in November, so you could say that the month of November is filled up, because my birthday is also in November. The people of Brazil have been helpful with helping me adjust to my new life. Not everything about exchange has been easy. Exchange is just a normal life of your country, not everything is perfect like you see on Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat. It’s a normal teenage life here and yes you get to go on trips occasionally, but it’s not every day.

    Exchange is not easy, but I wouldn’t give this up for anything. I am in love with Brazil, and I never want to go home.

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