Imani Woodin

Brazil

Hometown: Tallahassee, Florida
School: Lincoln
Sponsor District : District 6940
Sponsor Club: Rotary Club of , Florida
Host District: 4500
Host Club: The Rotary Club of Joao Pessoa



My Bio

My name is Imani Woodin, I am sixteen years old and I am originally from Tampa, Florida, USA but now I live in Tallahassee, Florida, USA. My father is originally from the US and my mother is originally from Kenya and together they raised my brother and I in a multicultural and globally aware household. My upbringing has reflected on my extra curricular activities in which I participate in- including Model United Nations, Muslim Heritage Club, and National Honors Society. In my spare time I enjoy read many books, watching documentaries, and spendig time with friends. I would like to participate in Youth Exchange to gain a new view of the world. I say this because for most of my life I have been living in the US, and although I have visited other countries and talked to people who have originated from different cultures, i have never stayed in a foreign country for an extensive period of time. Consequently, my view on the world has been limited to the American perspective in respect to personal experience. I have been speaking English and celebrating the same national holidays every year for as long as I can remember, and experiencing a new culture is the change that I believe I should endure in order to gain the world view that I desire. In the next year I hope to learn a new language and to have an experience that wouldn’t be obtainable if I stayed home.

School field trip to the botanical gardens

School field trip to the botanical gardens

In Portuguese class at school

In Portuguese class at school

My city

My city

Spending the day with my counselor and her family

Spending the day with my counselor and her family

The beach

The beach

New Year’s with the German and Taiwanese exchange students!

New Year’s with the German and Taiwanese exchange students!

Journals: Imani-Brazil Blog 2019-20

  • Imani, Outbound to Brazil

    I was not sure how to write this entry because writing the journal in a traditional sense was a little more difficult than I foresaw, and recently I have been very intrigued by interviews, regardless of its context. So, in light of my recent interest, I have decided to do this next journal in the form of an interview with myself.

    Interviewer (me): If I remember correctly from your last journal, you were basking in the fruits of your laborless life when you first arrived in Brazil. Has your daily routine changed since your last report?

    Me: Hahaha yes, I for sure took advantage of the fact that I had nowhere to be for most of the day in the most sedentary sense imaginable, however I did come to realize that I was wasting a lot of time sleeping, so began to live with more intention, and instead of waking up at 11:00am everyday, I began to get up around 6:00am, walk on the beach with a friend, and go back home to eat lunch before heading to school.

    Interviewer: And how does Christmas break work over there?

    Me: I got out of school at the end of December for Christmas break, which also doubles as summer vacation, so I will have off of school until mid February.

    Int: What are your plans for the summer?

    Me: For the majority of summer break, I will stay with my host parents in their beach apartment- which feels amazing to say- especially because we live 10 blocks from the beach normally, but my family rented a separate space even closer to the beach to save ourselves 15 minutes of commute time.

    Int: How is it living on the other side of the equator?

    Me: I would say temperatures are more consistent here than Florida due to my city’s proximity to the equator, but the heat of the sun becomes more intense in December and January, which made Christmas feel a little out of place.

    Int: Speaking of, what was it like to celebrate the holidays away from home?

    Me: Christmas was such a different experience to the point where it doesn’t feel Christmas happened at all. I celebrated with my host father’s side of the family which includes his four siblings and their respective children and spouses in a large reunion- which I am not accustomed to whatsoever, coming from a fairly modest family. The whole occasion felt more like an assembly of family members and less like a holiday.

    Int: And how was Thanksgiving?

    Me: Well, I celebrated Thanksgiving with a group of English students who sought out to have a traditional American Thanksgiving and graciously invited me. The Thanksgiving itself was very different from my normal Thanksgiving, being that it took place in a school with people I am not well acquainted with and featured more Brazilian cuisine than a typical one, but was a very nice experience.

    Int: What do you think you will miss about Brazil when you return to Florida?

    Me: What an excellent question! It’s hard to pinpoint just one thing, but I will miss the energy of the people here. In my experience, Brazilians have been the most vibrant peoples I have ever met and are overwhelmingly inviting and friendly.

    Int: What would you say was a big culture shock coming to Brazil?

    Me: I wouldn’t say this was a big culture shock, but in the text culture here, they don’t say “lol” and typically don’t use emojis, they express their laughter through the letters “kkk” which have a very different significance in our culture, but they are simply making an onomatopoeia.

    Int: How odd… but good to know! Unfortunately that is all the time we have today, but thank you for joining us!

    Me: Thank you for having me.

    Click HERE to read more about Imani and all her blogs

  • Imani, Outbound to Brazil

    Boa noite! I am writing you from my home for one year- the easternmost Point of the Americas: João Pessoa, Paraiba, Brazil. The weather is warm, the people are vibrant, the food is incredible, and the beaches are extraordinary.

    Here, I live on the first floor of an apartment building ten blocks away from the beach with my host mother, Flaviana; my host father, Marcos; my live-in maid, Nadi; and my host dog Simon. My host sister, Maria Theresa is doing her exchange in Canada- in my district, it is mandatory to host an exchange student when your child goes abroad. You couldn’t tell, however, that my host parents were obligated to receive me- they have been so warm and generous to me, even on the day I arrived I felt at home here.

    In my city there are four exchange students: Malte from Denmark, Hannah from Germany, Lua from Taiwan and myself. All four of us go to the Federal Institute, which is a government funded trade school for high school aged students. We all carpool together to and from school and we are all familiar with each other’s host families, as they will later be our own when it is time to swap. In school, my area of study is civil engineering. I am learning how to draw buildings digitally and by hand, however the workload is light and the expectations are low because the school recognizes that as exchange students, our language is limited and their concern is more centered on linguistic and cultural familiarity than scholastic progress.

    On a typical day I will wake up around 10 or 11am and drink coffee, then I will either study Portugese, go to the pool, or go to the mall with my host mother. Afterwards, I eat lunch with my host mother before heading to school. My schedule varies day to day, but roughly, school is from 1 to 4pm and consists of two different classes. For example on Wednesdays I have Brazilian History from 1:00-1:50 and Technical Drawing from 3:20-4:40. After school, I sometimes see my friends, but I usually go to my friend Hannah’s apartment where they hold dance classes for the residents of the building on Mondays and Tuesdays, or I go to the gym. On Thursdays I visit my Rotary club, where meetings are typically from 8:00pm to 10:00pm. All the cooking and chores are done by Nadi so I live with minimal responsibility concerning maintenance.

    A cultural difference I have recognized here is that people are a lot more welcoming. For example, in school, there are no distinct cliques and there is less of an ingroup bias. In class, all the students sit as one big group and socialize as one entity as opposed to the classroom setting I am accustomed to where everyone breaks off into their isolated groups. People are more than willing to invite others to sit with them and to share food, which was very odd initially. Adults here also go to more parties and have a more active social life. My host father, for example, watches soccer with his friends every Wednesday night, and at least once a week my host mother meets up with her friends. Because they go out so often, my host parents encourage me to go out as well and to embrace my exchange, and if I don’t have anywhere to go, they always let me tag along with them.

    I was very fortunate to have such a wonderful exchange. I have been so graced to have such a fantastic experience here. Without my family, my friends, and of course Rotary, I would have never been able to live as I am now. I will forever be grateful for what you all have given me. Obrigada!

    Click HERE to read more about Imani and all her blogs

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